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The Game Show Forum => The Big Board => Topic started by: BrandonFG on October 15, 2020, 02:02:50 PM

Title: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: BrandonFG on October 15, 2020, 02:02:50 PM
Earlier this week, I stumbled across a Facebook post that mentioned Sandy Frank being interviewed for 60 Minutes, and Morley Safer roasting him for his cheap production values. In digging a little more, I found this 1984 Washington Post article (https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:DaHJJi-bKukJ:https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1984/03/17/selling-the-shows/144f8c04-6a7a-4018-b477-1d0fb4d96bc9/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us). It doesn't go into great detail, but it does describe the syndication landscape for the mid-80s, as well as Sandy's frank thoughts on Jeopardy!
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: Eric Paddon on October 15, 2020, 03:46:38 PM
That Morley Safer didn't know what "Jeopardy" was, was more telling.
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: Otm Shank on October 15, 2020, 11:43:08 PM
Here's the 60 Minutes segment.

https://commerce.veritone.com/search/asset/41712369
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: Sodboy13 on October 16, 2020, 12:29:18 AM
That was a fantastic watch. Thanks for digging it up!
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: tyshaun1 on October 16, 2020, 07:47:11 AM
Whew, watching that was worth it just for Sandy Frank alone. What a great story.
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: BrandonFG on October 16, 2020, 09:00:40 AM
To be a fly on the wall in that year’s convention, between Sandy Frank going a mile a minute, and then the station manager arguing with the guy from Telepictures. Thanks for finding this!

And was that Shadoe Stevens in the “Putting on the Hits” pilot?
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: ChrisLambert! on October 16, 2020, 11:32:47 AM
Whew, watching that was worth it just for Sandy Frank alone. What a great story.

Such a snake-oil salesman. Kennedy NTT was a 10-year hit in primetime? If that was the case it would have still been on!  (fortunately for him, nobody had the internet on their phones back then.)
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: Matt Ottinger on October 16, 2020, 12:23:48 PM
Frank's company owned the rights to a bunch of cheap Japanese monster movies, the kind you would see lampooned on MST3K.  Which led to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvN10-n1NBc
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: Eric Paddon on October 16, 2020, 01:01:58 PM
Specifically the "Gamera" series about the giant flying turtle.     But in fairness to Frank their poorness was due to bad quality English dubs supplied by the original studio that *they* had done, whereas these same films when they'd first played in the US on TV in the 70s had been given alternate dubbing by the original US distributor, American International Pictures that was much superior.    All of those films were just given a deluxe Blu-Ray treatment with all of their different audio options (Japanese, original AIP dub and the dub that was used for the "Sandy Frank" version) and the set sold out fast (now going for $250 on e-bay!)
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: BillCullen1 on October 16, 2020, 04:44:31 PM
36 years later, the boring cerebral show Jeopardy is still going strong, long after the demise of NTT.

Somewhat related. I'm not sure how true this is, but I remember hearing that in 1980, when Family Feud was going into daily syndication, Mark Goodson was playing hardball with stations saying that if they wanted FF, they also had to take the new TTTT with host Robin Ward. Maybe someone who's "in the know" about this can verify or quash it.
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: JakeT on October 16, 2020, 06:53:19 PM
And, man, the market for hour-long drama reruns dried up during that period and for years to come...primetime blockbusters like "Dallas", "Dynasty", and "Knots Landing" crashed and burned when aired as syndicated reruns...

JakeT
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: snowpeck on October 16, 2020, 08:10:55 PM
Somewhat related. I'm not sure how true this is, but I remember hearing that in 1980, when Family Feud was going into daily syndication, Mark Goodson was playing hardball with stations saying that if they wanted FF, they also had to take the new TTTT with host Robin Ward. Maybe someone who's "in the know" about this can verify or quash it.

Yes, at least according to "insiders" who spoke to Variety for an article at the time. And apparently stations were pretty angry about it.
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: colonial on October 16, 2020, 08:43:06 PM
Quite fascinating segment about the business of television.

Sandy Frank came off as an obscenity-free version of Alec Baldwin in "Glengarry Glen Ross." Can't imagine what he said when the cameras were off. That man really missed his calling selling used cars or swamp land.

Brandon is right about Shadoe Stevens in that "Puttin' On The Hits" pilot clip.

As far as Safer claiming not to know what J! was -- given that he spent most of his career traveling the world and living in Europe for a good deal of the original Art Fleming run, his knowledge of pop culture was likely limited. But in one of his obits, it was said that Safer had a knack of making a story out of something offbeat. I could imagine Safer reading about NATPE (or even casually talking with a CBS head honcho or news colleague about it), and deciding to try to make something out of it.


JD
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: BrandonFG on October 16, 2020, 09:10:15 PM
And, man, the market for hour-long drama reruns dried up during that period and for years to come...primetime blockbusters like "Dallas", "Dynasty", and "Knots Landing" crashed and burned when aired as syndicated reruns...
I've been trying to figure out exactly why the reruns didn't work, given how daytime soaps have been a staple for years. Both air(ed) daily and required you to follow a continuing storyline.

/Unless "Who Shot JR" was only compelling the first time around?
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: PYLdude on October 16, 2020, 09:18:24 PM
Somewhat related. I'm not sure how true this is, but I remember hearing that in 1980, when Family Feud was going into daily syndication, Mark Goodson was playing hardball with stations saying that if they wanted FF, they also had to take the new TTTT with host Robin Ward. Maybe someone who's "in the know" about this can verify or quash it.

Yes, at least according to "insiders" who spoke to Variety for an article at the time. And apparently stations were pretty angry about it.

I’m assuming that was for stations that the show hadn’t been airing on? Because in New York both shows has different time slots on different stations (Feud had its prime slot on WNBC, TTTT aired in the morning on WABC where, if I’m not mistaken, the first syndicated series was for most of its run).
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: ChrisLambert! on October 16, 2020, 09:26:32 PM
Yes, at least according to "insiders" who spoke to Variety for an article at the time. And apparently stations were pretty angry about it.

Wow. Is this indeed the only reason this version of Truth exists? Would explain why it came back so soon.
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: snowpeck on October 16, 2020, 10:11:43 PM
Yes, at least according to "insiders" who spoke to Variety for an article at the time. And apparently stations were pretty angry about it.

Wow. Is this indeed the only reason this version of Truth exists? Would explain why it came back so soon.

I clipped the article in question: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FaBN7VYhQs1eubJ8UwDPLC--TJOahaz5/view?usp=sharing
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: MSTieScott on October 16, 2020, 11:03:25 PM
Sandy Frank came off as an obscenity-free version of Alec Baldwin in "Glengarry Glen Ross." Can't imagine what he said when the cameras were off.

At 8:32 in the segment, he catches himself while saying, "They can tell the distributor [...] to drop dead and go f— get lost."
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: trainman on October 17, 2020, 01:31:32 AM
As far as Safer claiming not to know what J! was -- given that he spent most of his career traveling the world and living in Europe for a good deal of the original Art Fleming run, his knowledge of pop culture was likely limited.

Or he was being a good CBS company man and not acknowledging the existence of an NBC show.
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: BrandonFG on October 17, 2020, 11:05:25 AM
I think I can vouch a little for that Feud-Truth deal. Prior to 1980, I believe WAVY aired the twice-a-week “Feud”. When it went daily, WTAR (now WTKR) aired it at 7 or 7:30 pm, where it stayed until its cancellation. WTAR also aired TTTT80 at noon.
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: steveleb on October 17, 2020, 12:15:35 PM
Not to be the old pro who chimes in, but as someone who VIVIDLY recalls those NATPE days, especially Sandy (google how many US flights he grounded by faking a heart attack so he could touch down in pre-Airphone days, sneak to a phone booth and call a station on the fence about acquiring Tune), I can informedly and accurately tell you that station managers, most of whom couldn't tell a game show from a sitcom, dictated what, when and how shows got on the air, often with aggressive guys like Sandy, the King brothers and Dick Robertson (for those that have not seen it, watch Winc's sales pitch on Perfect Match--we've already talked about what a con job the whole "insurance policy" was, and the timing and wording of the pitch was especially sinister (and effective) in hindsight.  As for the soap reruns, think of it this way--you watch a soap opera, or any continuing storyline series, on an episodic basis to see what happens next.  If you already know what happens next, you've lost most of the reason to watch (at least that's how a majority of soap fans think).  In the case of DYNASTY, my first job was tracking how those reruns did on a daily basis.  There were 117 episodes of the show available as of Fall 1985.  During the first 23 1/2 weeks, the reruns were tracking at about an 8 rating on its top station, WCVB/ABC in Boston.  On day 118--which fell during March, when it's damn cold in Boston--the rating fell to 4.5 and never went north of that again.  Dallas had a similar fate on mostly weaker stations.  That would also be another reason why besides the stellar success of Wheel and Jeopardy why so many game shows were made available during those years.  It wouldn't be until 1987 when Cheers and Family Ties had built up enough episodes that stations could buy new comedies, and many crime dramas skewed too male.  So what else could fill the void of the failed soap operas?  Morley didn't interview me...I was still too young. :)  But he could have!
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: Scrabbleship on October 17, 2020, 03:52:56 PM
I think I can vouch a little for that Feud-Truth deal. Prior to 1980, I believe WAVY aired the twice-a-week “Feud”. When it went daily, WTAR (now WTKR) aired it at 7 or 7:30 pm, where it stayed until its cancellation. WTAR also aired TTTT80 at noon.

This seemed to be common in Upstate New York as my research found five stations (WRGB Schenectady, WSTM Syracuse, WICZ Binghamton, WUTR Utica, and WETM Elmira) that both Feud and TTTT80; in Syracuse, Binghamton, and Elmira the two aired together in access. The other markets bordering Albany might toss water on this theory.

NYC: Feud was on WNBC, TTTT80 on WABC
Boston: Feud was on WNAC, TTTT80 on WLVI
Hartford/New Haven: Feud was on WTNH, TTTT80 wasn't cleared
Burlington/Plattsburgh: Feud was on WCAX, TTTT80 wasn't cleared
Springfield, MA: Feud was on WWLP, TTTT80 wasn't cleared
Watertown, NY: WWNY, then sole station in the market, cleared neither (but WSTM was default NBC on cable)

Also, wasn't TTTT80 absent from some major markets such as LA? I know syndication was different back then but that's a pretty big market to not air in.

Wow. Is this indeed the only reason this version of Truth exists? Would explain why it came back so soon.

And here I was thinking that it was a bone to toss to the Goodson-Todman staffers still based in NYC who had very little to do since the previous version of TTTT had ended two years earlier.
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: SRIV94 on October 17, 2020, 04:27:43 PM
I’m assuming that was for stations that the show hadn’t been airing on? Because in New York both shows has different time slots on different stations (Feud had its prime slot on WNBC, TTTT aired in the morning on WABC where, if I’m not mistaken, the first syndicated series was for most of its run).
That would make sense.  In Chicago, FF's prime access slot was on WMAQ (NBC), TTTT80 aired on WFLD (then independent).
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: Scrabbleship on October 17, 2020, 04:55:31 PM
In New York both shows has different time slots on different stations (Feud had its prime slot on WNBC, TTTT aired in the morning on WABC where, if I’m not mistaken, the first syndicated series was for most of its run).

WABC was one of the few stations in NYC that didn't air Moore/Garagiola TTTT. It went from WNEW (1969-72) to WNBC (1972-75) to WCBS (1975-77) to WPIX (which aired Garagiola into 1979).

In Chicago, FF's prime access slot was on WMAQ (NBC), TTTT80 aired on WFLD (then independent).

It seemed like Field Communications was bullish on TTTT80, besides WFLD and the aforementioned WLVI WKBD in Detroit also picked up TTTT80 (Syndie Feud was homeless that year in Detroit). The one Field market that didn't clear TTTT80* was Philadelphia where TTTT80 ended up on WCAU, paired with Feud.

* No listings for San Francisco seem available for this period, so I can't confirm or deny KBHK's carriage.
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: TimK2003 on October 17, 2020, 05:39:55 PM
Now I'm curious to know how Pearson sold the Louie Feud/O'Hurley Truth package after the alleged Dawson/Ward sales packaging debacle.  Seems like by the 90s,  more stations had the combo, and back-to-back for that matter, no?
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: Scrabbleship on October 17, 2020, 08:24:12 PM
Now I'm curious to know how Pearson sold the Louie Feud/O'Hurley Truth package after the alleged Dawson/Ward sales packaging debacle.  Seems like by the 90s,  more stations had the combo, and back-to-back for that matter, no?

Louie Feud had an advantage that (to borrow the term 1980 Viacom used) "Strip" Dawson Feud didn't in that it was already on the air in that form. That was more of a case if "if you have X, you get first crack at Y" rather than "you must take Y if you want X". As a result, what happened in 2000 was a lot more natural than what happened in 1980 since stations seemed more willing to take TTTT as an add-on to Feud than being forced to do so.

The number of stations that aired Louie Feud, O'Hurley TTTT, and CS '01 was relatively high too because why spoil a good thing in Pearson's view?
Title: Re: NATPE 1984 article
Post by: tvwxman on October 23, 2020, 04:30:30 AM
Now I'm curious to know how Pearson sold the Louie Feud/O'Hurley Truth package after the alleged Dawson/Ward sales packaging debacle.  Seems like by the 90s,  more stations had the combo, and back-to-back for that matter, no?

There was a time, around 95-97, when Pearson TV (the first owners of G/T) wanted to do a 90 minute block of game shows - Feud, Card Sharks, and Match Game. I think a lot of stations balked at first because there was simply no demand to sell a 90 min brick up unproven shows - plus have to buy another 30 minute show. At that time, just about everything in syndie was talk, and 60 minutes in length.

My opinion, but cooler heads prevailed and this is how one GT game show was 'released' each year for a couple of years there, starting with Match Game with Burger.