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Have a Nice Trip... - August 17

Let's see... "The One"... tanked.

"Master of Champions"... well, technically, it finished, but not without holding back one episode.

And non games "One Ocean View" and "How to Get the Guy" were met with similar fates... a cooling audience and prompt pulling from the ABC schedule.

Needless to say unless you're one of the millions of fans of "Grey's Anatomy" or one of the 42 fans of "Lost", ABC completely fell off the schedule in a fashion not seen since "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" fell off back in 2002.

And this is at a point where you have to remain somewhat in the limelight, lest you wish to lose a chunk of your audience come fall. And it could spell trouble for two upcoming games on the network, as "Dancing with the Stars" and "Set for Life" prepare for their respective bows.

Let's start at the beginning. Let's say you're a network head of programming. In honor of the recent appointment of GSN's new programming head, we'll call you Jamie. Now you have what you believe is a stellar lineup for the fall. And you want to get the people talking about it, and it seems like your only hope of doing that is to have at least one big summer sendoff where you can plug for high-on-hype pub for it. So you throw something on the wall and hope that it sticks. Let's see what the other networks had to work with this year.

CBS had "Big Brother" and, to a lesser extent, "Game Show Marathon."  Hey, it finished its run, which is more than can be said for most summer series.

Fox had two big hits, "Hell's Kitchen" and "So You Think You Can Dance".

NBC had "America's Got Talent".

ABC had... nothing. No, seriously, not a darned thing even registered for that network.

Guess which network I want you to hypothetically work for, Mr. Jamie. That's right... ABC.

See you next fall, indeed.

And guess what I want you to feel. That's right. Genuine worry. If you're thinking like the average summer TV viewer, you're thinking that no one is going to hear about how exciting "Ugly Betty" is going to be.

And pub on the next edition of "Dancing with the Stars" will only get you so far. The point still remains valid that in order to get more people talking, you have to put your name out there... and this week alone, ABC has only managed to pull 5.25 million viewers on average, a loss from last year, and fourth place for the week behind the other big four networks. So unless you're a marquee show (and even IF you're a marquee show... we all remember what happened to "Lost" last year) and people know who you are and what you're all about, you're not going to get that added boost that you're so after.

Bet you're reaching for your headache medication right now, aren't you?

So yeah, the best remedy for your fall... produce a winning summer. You do that, you can get your schedule out there, and at least get people to watch that first week. Whatever happens afterwards, though, happens.

Speaking of winners...

"Dance" Party...

Congratulations to Benji for taking Nick Lazzarini's "So You Think You Can Dance" crown, first off.

Second, as a testament to the power of the power series and the power series finale, check this out... The average viewership of the show hovered about nine, maybe 10 million every week. This week's show? The show where we finally get the heady climax of the entire SYTYCD experience? 10.73 million viewers. Strong enough to grab Fox's target demo, but again, not enough to beat the night's other two-hour finale show, part 1 of "America's Got Talent." They logged in 11.21 million viewers. But still, there's room for two hit series in one slot, especially if they're of really high quality.

And these two are about as high quality as they get this summer, all things considered. But we'll get into a final report card of the summer next week.

In syndie land...

This one comes from Mediaweek's Marc Berman...

Wheel of Fortune is once again top of the heap with a 7.1, down one percent from the year before, but up one-tenth from last week. Jeopardy! meanwhile will move to Radio City Music Hall, where it will continue to play second-fiddle at a 5.4, down eight percent from 2005, and down two-fifths from last week. Remember... this week is the Teen Tournament, so that may explain it. Millionaire shows no change from the year before with a 3.2, however, it's up a fifth from last week. And the Feud has posted zero change with its 2.2.

Both canceled dating shows posted no more than a 1.0. So arrivederci, dating shows.

Back to the Feud for a sec...

The Weekly Rant, or text messaging... dangerous in the hands of those who have no idea how to use it.

If you haven't seen the new set photos of Jeopardy! and Family Feud over at Alex's page, Buzzerblog.com, go there now... I'll still be here when you come back, but go there now.

Okay, welcome back. One of the things that I believe, and I bug people to death about this, is that a game show in this latter day and age only works if you keep "one foot in the past, and one foot in the present", as quoted by one of my favorite authors Chinua Achebe. That said... I absolutely adore these photos.

First, the Feud set. Last week, I gave you the quote "1976 made for 2006". It couldn't be any truer. Imagine the Feud set of old, with the old technology replaced by new technology. Sure a lot of people may frown on that, you know, "Bring back the eggcrate board! We want the trilons?" Get with the times people. If it will save money, and it looks good on screen, they're going to use it. That said... let's go back to the set of '76...

... the flower boards? Gone. In their place, insanely huge video screens. The eggcrate scorers? Gone. In their place... HDTVs. The board... well, they're never going to get rid of the video board, so let's not even go into it.

The point is... This is a perfect example of having one foot in the past and one in the present. Hopefully, there's enough of both elements on this relatively low-tech affair to please everyone.

Jeopardy!, on the other hand, has always been on the forefront of game show technology. Perhaps it's the Sony connection, but anyway... The set, much like certain elements of "Wheel" seen on the live taping that we went to, has been upgraded for its upcoming HDTV premiere. First thing's first... the podia... wider. More space between players. Very HD friendly, as is the game board. Other than that, it's the same set, but you can tell that some thought is being put into what's about to surface, what with the increase in televised definition and all.

But both shows are definitely going to be entertaining to watch come fall.

Now if only TPIR will make some use out of their HD cameras, we'll be in business.

Chico Alexander would want to be in HD, but is only afraid that it'll make him look shorter. E-mail him at chico@gameshownewsnet.com

 

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