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
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,
Speaking of winners...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org