History - August 11
Gordon: This is Gordon Pepper, and welcome to a very
special State of Play this week. We are joined today by
Jason Block, Don Harpwood, Travis Schario and James
Dinan. Good morning, gentlemen.
Everyone: Good Morning.
Gordon: As you all know, today featured a terrorism plot
foiled thanks to the British government.
Jason: Amen to that.
Gordon: This week's State of Play will take a look at
this event and will see what effect, if any, this will
have on the game show world. If this happened a month
ago, while Jason and myself were still in L.A., then we
would have had to extend our flight plans.
Gordon: But let's look at the people that it affects
now. We all see that it would have a very quick effect
on the short term almost immediately. For example, it's
going to hamper the travel plans of Mr. Dinan. please
explain to us why this is the case.
James: Well, I am flying to LA on Saturday morning to
tape *1 vs. 100*. My tape date is Sunday.
Gordon: I'm going to guess that you are going to get up
a lot earlier than originally planned?
James: I've already been warned by the airport to arrive
three hours ahead of my planned flight time. Thankfully,
I won't have much to bring (just one change of clothes,
night clothes and toiletries which will go straight to
the airline), but I'll still have to deal with travelers
who will have toss out various liquids and such I
typically go to the airport 3 hours before a flight
anyway...have done so since 9/11...so I'm not that
worried. My wife is driving me to the airport, though,
and she may not be thrilled with the earlier time :)
Gordon: You're not the only person that has to change
plans. Travis Schario has a new job as Price is Right
Interm. The problem here - he is currently in Ohio. Are
you going to go cross-country to get to work?
Travis: I have to, if I want to get to work on time. I'm
considering changing it to a bus trip instead.
Jason: A lot of people who we know are going to LA this
weekend....David Legler, Tim Sternberg, Nancy Christy,
Kevin Olmstead I believe.
James: Yes...they will have the same problems as well.
Gordon: Yes, and they are all going to be affected. Now
I doubt that this would keep away these stalwarts from
playing. Would this deter regular contestants from
flying out to audition or be on a show?
Don: If I was heading out somewhere to try out for a
show, I'd still go. But I'm sure I'd still be affected.
James: I think if you are truly committed to doing a
game or reality show and you have to fly to New York or
LA, you are going to go. But this is going to affect
shows where traveling is an important cog to the game,
such as Amazing Race.
Gordon: Lets go back to Travis Schario, who is thinking
about traveling cross-country instead of flying. Is this
an option anyone here would do?
Don: Seems like something I wouldn't mind doing.
James: Probably not...unless someone was with me to
share in the driving
Jason: I have never done it...but in this case, I might.
Gordon: I've always wanted to see the country. It could
Jason: As long as we get sat radio or more CDs :)
Gordon: Tons of CDs. Let's look at shows which could be
affected by this. The obvious one here is Amazing Race.
James: For a show already on the bubble, this is not
good for its long-term future.
Gordon: Should the ratings slide from the move to Sunday
nights, could CBS shut it down and use this incident as
James: I don't think CBS will use that as the reason, as
the show is going to struggle as is against football,
Extreme Makeover and the Simpsons.
Jason: Amazing Race is on its last legs.
James: Also, the show is simply running out of
gas...same teams, same adventures, etc.
Don: I wouldn't be surprised either way if this next
season wound up being its last.
Gordon: Could this also affect audition shows? I doubt
it would affect shows such as American Idol, but could
the lower budgeted shows be scaled back a little?
James: Probably not
Jason: I don't think so. You might see more local people
for each show, though.
Gordon: Do you see any other shows that could be
James: Treasure Hunters, but it's probably been canned.
Gordon: So this could spell the end of the globetrotting
Jason: It could. I mean they don't want deaths on their
James: As a game/reality genre, it could As a lifestyle
genre (eg. Rachael Ray's shows on Food Network), no.
Jason: Right. There also could be less travel prizes on
regular shows for a little while.
Gordon: Travis, Do you think TPIR may cut down on the
Travis: Temporarily, perhaps.
James: They've done so in the past...I remember them
scrapping trips to the Middle East when Iraq invaded
Don: Short-term, I could see it happening.
Jason: I don't think they offer trips to Egypt anymore.
Travis: They don't.
Gordon: Could this affect trips to London?
Gordon: Let's look at another sort of show that could be
in trouble...Starface. The grand prizes there are trips,
which are easy to furnish because many areas will just
give them out for free. The money is not to be made on
the trip, but on spending the money on the area. Could
this spell trouble for those sort of shows that are
using trips as incentives to be a contestant?
James: I think as long as they keep the trips limited to
the Caribbean (as they appear to be doing), I don't see
Jason: Depends on where you go. If they keep it to
Mexico, Vegas, Florida et al. It will be ok.
James: Starface can simply not offer trips to Europe
Gordon: I don't think the budget is big enough for 1
trip to Europe, but that's another story to begin with.
One trend that was noticed after September 11th: the
ratings for escapism shows - and game shows - got a huge
boost just because people wanted to escape from seeing
the events of the news. Should this particular story
have legs and continue, could we be seeing the same
Jason: We could. Remember this is a big anniversary.
Five years since 09/11. The film United 93 did well. So
will World Trade Center.
James: I think some of the fresher game/variety shows
could have some ratings life...shows like Deal or No
Deal, for instance.
Don: It could certainly happen.
Travis: I agree.
Gordon: Will there be a larger than usual spike for the
overnight ratings of America's Got Talent?
James: No...for one thing, you have NFL preseason
football, and people needing their pigskin rush will go
Travis: Preemptions will have free reign on network TV
tonight, depending on the updates.
Gordon: Could there be a larger than usual spike for
football as well?
James: It will be (1) CSI, (2) Football, (3) Talent in
the ratings. Hall of Fame did surprisingly well, ratings
wise...finished third overall during the week. However,
by the time Talent comes on, you start having the scrubs
play, so NFL will be a strong second. Talent hasn't been
that impressive on Thursday (IMO, NBC should have gone
head-to-head with BB, not CSI, with the results), and it
should be the same tonight.
Gordon: That seems to cover everything. Final thoughts?
Travis: Does anyone know Criss Angel's number? Maybe he
can just levitate me to Los Angeles. That's safe, right?
Jason: That I hope everyone stays safe and to remember
that the TSA people are doing their job.
Gordon: Yep, though it sounds like we curse you out (and
sometimes we do), we appreciate the work that you do.
Jason: And thank you to the agencies who are trying to
keep us safe on both sides of the pond.
Travis: Here, here.
Gordon: Thanks again to Jason, James, Don and Travis.
Jason: Thank you.
James: Thank you for this panel, Gordon
Gordon: This is Gordon Pepper, wishing you all a
pleasant Game Over - and please stay safe.
E-mail Gordon at