Price Is Right for Game Shows
Programming genre heats up on networks, remains staple of syndication
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/22/2010 1:03:00 PM
The moves are proving to be winners for the games’ distributors, too. Lyrics and 5th Grader work for MyTV—and its corporate sibling, Twentieth Television—because Twentieth also distributes them in syndication and to cable. Lyrics is sold in 55% of the country for fall debut in syndication and will bow this fall on VH1, while 5th Grader is renewed for year two in 65% of the country, according to Greg Meidel, president of Twentieth Television and MyTV. Meidel and his team are also working on brand integrations for both shows that they expect will deliver significant revenue streams.
“Twentieth definitely had a price point we had to hit,” says Tony Yates, COO of RDF Media and executive producer of Don’t Forget the Lyrics. To keep costs down, RDF will produce 160 half-hours of the show within a two-month period.
Soap operas typically remain in production year-round, driving costs up. Meanwhile, ratings for soaps have declined over the past several years, leading to several longtime franchises getting the ax. CBS canceled Guiding Light last year, and this fall, As the World Turns goes off the air.
The downward trend for soaps sent network execs looking for new models for daytime. CBS found an old one instead by reimagining Price Is Right. “As we looked to expand our daytime ratings, one of the first places I looked was at this core business that we’ve had on the air for 38 years,” says Barbara Bloom, CBS’ senior VP of daytime.
Comedian Drew Carey took over as Price Is Right host from the retiring Bob Barker in 2007. Mike Richards, the show’s executive producer, has spent three years adapting it to Carey’s style. The results are in the ratings: Price is up 9% among households and up 11% among adults 18-49 compared to last year.
Let’s Make a Deal, also executive-produced by Richards and hosted by Wayne Brady, has improved its time period in households by 13% (1.7 versus 1.5), in adults 18-34 by 67% (0.5 versus 0.3) and women 18-34 by 20% (0.6/0.5).
CBS’ success with game shows may indicate that the network is leaning toward picking up a third game to replace As the World Turns, but Bloom remains mum on what will replace the soap.
Networks, producers and distributors agree that the game-show moves that have paid off did so because they were calculated—not quick—bets. “I don’t look at game shows as a format that might work because they are inexpensive,” says one syndicator. “I look at it from the point of view of, ‘Does this show have a chance to get a rating?’”
1974 - Game Show TV was heaven when I was in school. I actually learned a lot too. Might I suggest a re-boot of "Split-Second" and "Hollywood Squares"? Gilbert Gottfried is available and would be a good host for the later or better yet, Rick Dees would be a great game show host.
Bill Cullen - 5/27/2011 2:19:26 PM EDT
I would like to know what the producers or whomever has done to this 'ONCE ENJOYABLE GAME SHOW'! Ever since Drew Carey has taken over, it has become a total FIASCO. All the screaming and people acting like total idiots rolling around the floor, running around like they have just been let out of a cage, is STUPID! I've watched this show since it started, whenever I had the chance. Now that I'm retired I thought I would really enjoy the time to watch, who knew that it had become so unruly and unbearable to watch. The way it plays now, i record it so that I can MUTE THE SOUND, AND FAST FORWARD thru all riduculous acting people. Another thing I've noticed is that you dont have SENIOR CITIZENS as contestants as much as you used to. Is that because of the UNRULY
BEHAVIOR of the entire audience, not to mention the chosen ones? Last but not least! Why when you have military members in the audience, (which does not seem to often either) are more of them not chosen over the crazy fools you pick? They more than anyone else deserve to try and win something if for no other reason then the FREEDOM THEY FIGHT FOR AND GIVE US AND SOMETIMES A VERY HIGH PRICE!! Hope someone takes heed to my message. I like Drew Carey, I realize he's a comedian, but there has to be a limit as to how much you ruined a good thing to now totally being out of hand and the enjoyment of watching has been taking away. A ONCE AVID FAN!
ANN HEAD - 5/26/2011 12:20:27 PM EDT
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