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You Don't Know What You've Got Until It's Gone...
Gordon Pepper

This past Summer at GSC, during our Whammyville segment, we asked what was the bigger blunder - the cancellation of Greed or the cancellation of Pyramid. Both shows filled time slots that had what the executives at that time called 'iffy numbers'. Boy, would those executives love those numbers now, because the shows the replacement shows succeeded didn't come close to matching those numbers.

Let's start with Greed. This show's numbers were okay, but they had a very loyal following - a following that FOX has yet to get with any other show in that time slot. Friday nights were considered the place where shows go to pasture, but Greed got the numbers to buck that trend. For whatever reason, FOX killed off the show and put in a slew of other shows - none of which have hit the numbers that Greed did.

Then there was Pyramid. Pyramid was getting around a 2.3-2.5 rating, which was considered on the borderline, hence the stations on syndication decided to not renew it. Those stations instead wanted to go the talk show route with...Larry Elder and Pat Croce, neither of which survived the first season, nor did their numbers match Pyramid's ratings...combined. The new talk shows for this season, Tyra Banks and Martha Stewart, are both doing what the executives are considering 'ok'. 'Ok' now is a 1.7. I bet they would love that 2.3-2.5 now.

Up next - Surface/Fathom/Whatever by NBC. First week's ratings were ok, but they still barely matched Fear Factor's ratings when Fear Factor was at their low point. The past 2 weeks have been...well...below surface level. The ratings are nowhere near Fear Factor, and the cancellation clock is starting to tick. Fortunately for NBC, they kept Fear Factor as a midseason replacement. Should the rating slide continue, that replacement may be coming in long before the midseason.

That brings us to this - some other game show web site is hinting that Millionaire is getting numbers that may be warranting it's cancellation. Those numbers...a 2.9. Wha? First of all, in most places in the USA, Millionaire has a 2 year contract, so they would be in no danger this year to begin with. Second of all, based on those ratings mentioned above, networks should be salivating for a 2.9. Wipe that drool off your face, networks - you look like you have rabies.

If a game show is good, it will naturally attract an audience. Those networks should be heeding the numbers. Those executives probably regret Greed leaving the airwaves, and they are certainly lamenting Pyramid, as when the show left, it took the 2.0+ rating with it. Will they learn their lesson? They better, because if they don't, the next trivia question could be, 'Which big network head got fired when they replaced their game show with shows that didn't come close to matching the ratings that the game show had?'

Show Gordon that you know what a good thing is. E-mail him at


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