Fight Night - April 13
I've got a challenge for you
readers in the Weekly Rant segment... Put on your
thinking caps for this one. But first...
Last night was classic
Numbers Game fodder... Four shows on at the same time -
CBS' "The Amazing Race", NBC's "Deal or No Deal", Fox's
"American Idol", and UPN's "America's Next Top Model" -
with four different audience targets. So what happens
when they get into the same ring together? Battle royale!
American Idol vs. Deal
or No Deal
We start with the two
biggest candidates, and arguably the most interesting
cases... the first half-hour of "American Idol" vs. the
last half-hour of "Deal or No Deal." This is an
interesting story, as such a case has never happened
until last night. Fox may be thinking that an
overexposed "Deal" would have chinks in its armor at
which it could hammer away. Could this be an easy
takedown? Or will it be a case of two titans swinging
their clubs at each other at the same time with impact
at the same time and the eventual simultaneous stumble?
Now, I'm a big fan of
both shows, I will admit. As a big fan of both shows, I
posed this question to my good friend (and well
documented "Deal or No Deal" fan) Alex Davis over at
Buzzer, and he went with the latter. I agree with him.
But this was before figures came in. And since this
column is devoted to the search for truth, we'll have to
prove this hypothesis one way or another...
So here's what we have...
On average, Deal or No Deal's Miss USA show scored
8.8/14 in the overnights, 13.02 million viewers and
4.0/12 among adults 18-49, all first for the hour. Last
week, the household overnight was a 9.4/15.
American Idol's hour-long
fillerfest came in with this from 8:30p to 9:32p:
14.0/21 in the overnights, 21.83 million viewers and an
8.9/23 among adults 18-49 from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Last week,
the show scored a 17.3/25 in the overnights.
So there you go. Both
networks hit each other hard... The end result... both
are stumbling. So there you go then. Proof positive that
Idol and Deal can't inhabit the same house and be
friends. Walk it off, you two...
The Battle for
So what did this grand
fight mean for "The Amazing Race" and "America's Next
Top Model"? One word... erosion.
Last week, "The Amazing
Race" scored a 5.3/8 in the time period, better than
anything CBS put in that time period before, but still
nothing worth writing home about. Last night, a 5.2/8.
More proof that CBS shouldn't have tampered with that
time slot to begin with. Stupid network.
Corporate sibling UPN
didn't fare any better as Howie and Seacrest leeched
some of Tyra's base from "America's Next Top Model".
Last week, the show scored a below-average 3.9/6 in the
overnights, 4.24 million viewers and a 2.0/6 among
adults 18-49, all for fifth. Last week, it was still
fifth, but with a healthier 4.5/7. I don't know,
something about Tyra fainting on cue just does
The kicker? It's still
the most popular show on the network outside of "Smackdown".
If it isn't on the CW next fall, then... I don't know.
And the less said about
the hemorrhaging and time-dependent "hit" "Unan1mous"
(7.4/11 from the 8.9/13 it posted last week), the
better. At this rate, I fully expect no one to come to a
decision by the show's series finale in May.
An Ultimate Start for
While we're on the
subject of fighting, we can't pass by without a look at
Spike's ultimate hit, "The Ultimate Fighter 3." The
opener of the UFC production smashed already existing
records in the network's target demo, scoring almost 1
million viewers in the males 18-34 bracket and 2.3
million viewers over all, sending all oncomers (golf on
USA and the NBA on TNT) back to their mamas.
But back to that almost 1
million in the demo. That, according to the network's
release, was better than anything on television that
time period. I tend to agree. After all, have you ever
looked at a schedule and found anything worth watching
at 10p? ER's getting old... "Without a Trace" is
beginning to lose its charm... and "South Park"? Watched
it yesterday. The Family Guy/Muhammad episodes were
brilliant, but I digress.
Other notable places: the
show delivered #1 in households (1.95), average audience
(2.4 million), men 25-34 (5.03, 758,000), men 18-49
(2.70, 1,411,000), and persons 18-49 (1.67, 1,794,000),
among ad-supported cable channels.
It was also the biggest
draw in Spike TV history in both total audience and in
It outpointed last year's
performer "MXC" by 236% in households, 429% in men
18-49, 395% in men 18-34, and 262% in average audience.
Now, I know that most
network heads will spend time on spin control, but as I
look to what network head Kevin Kay has to say, I can't
help but think that when the truth comes out and it
turns out to be a positive, that people are actually
speechless. "It's a great start to Season 3 which
promises to be the best one yet with the intense rivalry
between Ken and Tito and an incredible crop of fearless
athletes," Kay said. Added Dana White, "The momentum
continues to build which is really exciting for us. We
were confident people would respond to the sport of
mixed martial arts once they got to know the
professional athletes who participate in it. Stay tuned,
it's going to be a great season."
Well, at least he proved
that THEY was watching. And could you blame them? It's
actually incredible storytelling.
In the syndies...
Of the three syndicated
games that weren't in reruns for the week ending April
2, "Wheel of Fortune" scores a 9.0 with 9.9 million
viewers, while "Jeopardy!" was second with 7.2 and 7.9
million viewers. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" broke
into the top 15 with a 3.4 showing, translating into 3.7
The Weekly Rant, or
.... HIT THE LAST ONE!!!!
Now it's time for a
little interactivity... Thinking caps on, everyone?
The old saying goes, "You
never forget your first."
Bob Barker was a DJ when
he was called to host "Truth or Consequences".
A pre-Idol Ryan Seacrest
was also a DJ when he was selected as host of
Pat Sajak is still
hosting his first show, "Wheel of Fortune".
Before he was stuck on an
island with 18 less desirables, Pretty Boy Probst was
playing a younger, hipper Alex Trebek on "Rock & Roll
Jeopardy!" while moonlighting as a correspondent for
Frank Nicotero and John
O'Hurley were into the acting gig when they got the call
And Meredith Vieira got
an Emmy for her first as host of "Who Wants to Be a
The backstory of the game
show emcee is as varied as the fraternity of game show
emcees itself. Some, like Peter Tomarken when he signed
on for "Hitman", were virtual unknowns. Others, like
Howie Mandel of "Deal or No Deal" and Donny Osmond of
"Pyramid", were already established in other realms of
show business. But the fact remains that when the right
format meets up with the right person, established or
no, magic happens.
Which brings into
question... who has never hosted a game show before...
I've been swelling upon
this for a while now, and could only come up with two
names that stand out in my mind as being quick-witted
enough to take on the job, and one that, while not quick
witted, has enough wit in him and a little bit of
So here I present Joel
McHale for any upcoming quizzer on Comedy Central,
because he can usually build off the unexpected with
comedic result as evidenced by his plays on E!'s "The
Soup" (that and the fact that everyone at the 'net
thinks that he's bloody brilliant), Richard Hammond for
any format that requires a host to be a) a knowledgeable
British bastard, or b) a downright man's man, because -
and anyone who's ever seen BBC/Discovery's "Top Gear"
and SkyOne/G4's "Brainiac" can attest - he is a man's
man and can play a bastard if he wants to (which, if
memory serves, is often), and Christian Finnegan for ...
well, anything that VH1 can come up with, because of his
prior experience hosting TV Land's "Playtime" segments
and his penchant for being sheepish on some subjects and
not-so for others.
DL Hughley also has a
demeanor suitable for a game host... but he's not on my
list due to the fact that he hosted the "Liar" pilot for
I posed this question to
my colleagues and the Game Show Man Joe Van Ginkel (who
evidently know more about this matter than I do... heh),
and this is what he had to say....
"Here's one off the
Alvin "Xzhibit" Joiner, host of MTV's Pimp My Ride, one
of the few shows on that (^_^)ty network worth
X to the Z hosting a G to
the S. Nice thought. But that's just what we think. What
do you think makes a good emcee, and what person whose
yet to step up to the podium has those? I want your
input! Please e-mail me your thoughts on this subject of
"Who Hasn't Hosted a Game Show... But Should?" The
candidates you send forward will be featured in a future
Numbers Game column.
Chico Alexander wanted
to host "Blockbusters" back in 1987. He welcomes all
submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.