Game Genre Stokes Syndie

Mar 23, 2008  •  Post A Comment

With two game shows set to hit the syndicated airwaves in a matter of months, and at least three more bubbling in development for fall 2009, the genre appears to be harkening back to its 1980s glory days, when the category dominated station time slots with the likes of “Tic Tac Dough” and “Press Your Luck.”
NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution hits lineups this fall with what company executives hope will be the next crown jewel in the category, a syndicated version of prime-time hit “Deal or No Deal.” The studio now has cleared the strip in more than 95% of the country for its debut in September.
In prime time, “Deal or No Deal” continues to score as NBC’s most-watched entertainment program of the 2007-08 TV season to date, averaging more than 13 million viewers per telecast, and winning its Monday night time period. When the series debuted on NBC in 2005, as a prime-time Monday-Friday strip, “Deal or No Deal” attracted nearly 46 million viewers in its first week on the air.
“This is the type of show that we rarely get the opportunity to produce for syndication,” said Barry Wallach, president of NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. “There has been such anticipation for the show, and we are thrilled that we can bring our local station partners a proven hit to add to their lineups this fall.”
Mr. Wallach noted “Deal” had already been slated for late afternoon and even the 6 p.m. access time periods when available. In New York, for example, sources said the series is set to air at 4 p.m.
The series is sold to NBC Local Media stations in the nation’s top markets including WNBC-TV in New York, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and WMAQ-TV in Chicago. Other broadcast groups including CBS, Sinclair, Gannett, Fox, Post-Newsweek, Lin, Hearst-Argyle, Dispatch, Media General, Local TV, Allbritton, Scripps Howard and Raycom also have bought in.
In some markets, the series is being paired with “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” as well as newscasts or even with a second run of “Deal” in select cities.
No Sure Things
The resurgent allure of the game show genre has caught up other companies as well, with Debmar-Mercury scoring a group clearance with Fox-owned stations next season for “Trivial Pursuit: America Plays.”
The appeal of game shows is enhanced for syndicators because an entire season of shows can be produced in a matter of two or three months.
But that lower production overhead isn’t accompanied by guaranteed audience appeal. Neither of the two syndicated game shows that debuted this season has broken out as a hit, with “Merv Griffin’s Crosswords” hovering just below a 1.0 rating for distributor Program Partners and Twentieth Television’s “Temptation” faring worse, averaging just a 0.5 score this season.
“Crosswords” is set to return next fall, while “Temptation” is expected to be canceled, according to analysts.
“The main reason we’re seeing a resurgence is because of the popularity of games for television, which is pushing a renaissance in syndication,” said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz Media. “As a rule of thumb, success on the network seems to help in terms of establishing a show, and helps to make it successful. Stations look at that and realize that if a show comes off a successful run on the network, odds are greater in its favor.”
The 100-day Writers Guild of America strike sent even more game shows to prime time, where new series ranging from “Moment of Truth” to the upcoming “Game Show in Your Head” have all been mentioned as potential syndication projects. Those could join the docket of series such as “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” and “Power of Ten” in development for the fall.


  1. i would love to be on your show and i would win the million because i always pick the 1,000,000 every time i watch your show so please pick me. i am just 10 but forget my age.

  2. Um, kid, this isn’t the place for that kind of stuff – the producers aren’t going to read it

  3. Press Your Luck was not a syndicated show. It aired on CBS.

  4. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  5. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

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