Let's Make a Deal -
Obviously the hot button topic this week is "Deal or No
Deal". Three days in, it's become the latest in a string
of games of chance such as "Press Your Luck" and "Let's
Make a Deal" that you either love or hate. The critics,
for the most part, didn't think too much of it. Majority
of game show fans I talked to liked it (one said "It
isn't that brilliant."). But what does the first three
nights measure with the casual TV viewer?
I should probably preface
this with this anecdote. As many of you know, I work in
a hospital, and in said hospital, the waiting room at
medical imaging has an X-ray. While walking down the
hall past it, I saw two good friends Randy and Susana
watching the show. They couldn't stop although they had
no idea how the game itself worked. I had to explain the
entire premise down to the link to game theory and the
Monty Hall Postulate... Not an easy task. Try it
They liked watching it. I
liked watching it (even though I couldn't afford to be
out of the lab for any extended period of time). But
what did you, the viewing public say?
The answer? "Hey
critics... Screw you."
Starting with Monday, the
show faced stiff competition from CBS's block of
established vet "King of Queens" and new favorite "How I
Met Your Mother." The result: an 8.1/12 in the
overnights, 11.60 million viewers and a 3.9/11 among
adults 18-49 from 8-9p. The hour on CBS averaged 7.0/11,
10.96 million, and 3.4/10 respectively, all good for
second. Too bad that team couldn't carry over to
perennially low-rated Radio Music Awards. Oh well. Can't
win'em all. Last week, an Elton John special finished
modestly in third in its timeslot with 6.0/9 in the
overnights, 8.34 million viewers, and a 2.5/7 among
Tuesday, not only did the
viewers from night one stay around, they brought in
another million. The Tuesday show, pitted against
Tuesday powerhouses "NCIS" and "Bones" on CBS and Fox
respectively, scored thusly: 8.2/13 in the overnights,
12.61 million viewers and a 4.6/14 among adults 18-49
from 8-9p. The CBS show slotted a still formidable
7.0/11 in the overnights, 10.65 million viewers and a
2.7/7 in the key demo. Over at Fox, "Bones" score 3.9/6,
5.17 million viewers, and 1.9/6 in the A18-49. Last
week, "Fear Factor", the show that refuses to die lest
its contestants eat its own carcass, scored 5.2/8 in the
overnights, 8.42 million viewers and a 3.4/9 among
adults 18-49. Pretty pathetic in retrospect.
Then comes Wednesday, a
night where there's typically nothing good on outside of
"Criminal Minds", "CSI: NY", and "Law & Order" (I still
don't buy "Lost"). What do we see tonight? According to
our good friends at Mediaweek.com... a record high.
First place across the board, with 9.0/15 in the
overnights, 14.17 million viewers and a 4.9/15 among
adults 18-49. Last week, 5.3/8 in the overnights, 7.33
million viewers and a 1.9/5 among adults 18-49 was the
order of business in the "E-Ring".
The show has become a
modest hit, joining the ranks of recent NBC games "The
Weakest Link" and "The Biggest Loser". I'm not counting
"The Apprentice" or "Fear Factor" because they went
supernova out the gate. And it will stay this way if NBC
realizes the mistakes made by its predecessors. Namely,
the oversaturation of "Millionaire" and "Weakest Link"
and the reliance of both on gimmicks.
Contrary to someone I
read before, I do think that this show can work as a
weekly. In fact, it works better if you have a weekly
show AND a scaled-down daytime strip. Just ask the
Aussies, the Dutch, and the Brits. They seem to have
this down to a science now.
But for now, a
prediction: you can expect to see at least one edition
of the show, quite possibly the Friday edition, to break
the top 20 this week.
While we're at NBC
There's always one show
each year that starts out with such promise, only to
become the subject of lampoon later. This year, it would
be "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart". We saw the highest
of highs in the first show, then saw, aside from no more
than four smiles from ice queen Alexis Stewart, said
potential wasted. Even in a sterile environment, this
show had every chance it had to really come into its
It never did. The series
finale only drew a 5.4/8 in the overnights, 7.47 million
viewers and a 2.6/7 among adults 18-49 at 9p. Not really
that awe-inspiring when you consider carryover was only
60 percent from "Deal or No Deal".
With that, and the hiring
of the winner, we can finally close the book on this
matter. Julie, you are excused from this crap with the
thanks of the Newsnet.
Now over to
If you live in the United
States, then you know how cold and wet it has been in
the last few weeks. So what better way to settle your
brains for a long winter's night than with an episode of
"Jeopardy!" or "Wheel of Fortune" or "Who Wants to Be a
Such was the case of last
week, when the big three daily quizzers all posted
season highs. "Jeopardy!" scored a 7.2 (down 11 percent
from last year, but up almost half a point from last
week). "Wheel of Fortune" tied its season best with 8.8
(down six percent from last year). "Millionaire" posted
a new season best with 3.3, down slightly 3 percent.
Some notes, again from Mediaweek:
- "Wheel of Fortune" hit
a season high in women 25-54 (3.7), men 18-34 (1.5) and
men 18-49 (2.2).
- "Jeopardy!" scored a season high in households, women
25-54 (2.8), men 18-49 (1.9) and men 25-54 (2.4).
- This is the fourth consecutive week that "Millionaire"
met or beat its season high.
The weekly rant, or
the war on Christmas is imagined... like the success of
"The Apprentice 3."
If you have been paying
attention, you know that I have a serious issue with
"Family Feud" this season. We've been jumping about more
than usual, games (usually those with losing fast money
rounds) have been dropped, and champs haven't stayed on
as long as they're supposed to. It's just one giant
clusterschmazz (trademark Justin Lollie). This has been
punctuated for the last three weeks by the AstraZeneca-sponsored
Breast Cancer Awareness shows. Now as a person whose
mother had a bout with breast cancer and whose friend
was a close call, I can sympathize with this noble
cause. But with a show with so many problems to begin
with, you'd think that they'd get this one right. An
appropriate time to air the shows would be one week in
October (just like "Wheel of Fortune" did). That way, we
see every game, every win, and everyone is happy.
But then again, "Family
Feud" has NEVER been known for getting things right,
even when they try their damnedest.
This edition of the
Numbers Game is dedicated to all survivors. E-mail Chico
Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.