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Author Topic: Let's Ask America - a farewell  (Read 4043 times)

brianhenke

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Let's Ask America - a farewell
« on: May 30, 2015, 01:46:34 AM »
   The EW Scripps Company announced on Twitter and Facebook that Let's Ask America has aired its final original episode after a three-year run. They thanked the audience for watching LAA.

    They get no thanks from me for screwing up a game show. You remember Season 1, don't you? The original format of LAA was brilliant. It was one of the best (and most innovative) games that came down the pike since 2000, replete with a host named Kevin Pereira who was set to be a big star. (Let's forget Katie Daryl.)

    Then came Season 2. I watched the season premiere...and Kevin said, instead of going all in and missing, the contestant would walk off with NOTHING instead of $1,000. Let's see: if a contestant won $10,000 in the maingame, went all in on the bonus question and bombs - he/she got NOTHING! Kevin also taped LAA in front of a studio audience.

    Kevin was gone for Season 3 and in came Bill Bellamy. He opened his first show by saying "WHASSSSUP?" The question values were reduced - instead of $10K, the most anyone could win in the maingame was $7,500. The top prize was now $37,500. Huh?

   Evidently LAA's fanbase was pretty much turned off by the changes, and Scripps announced its cancellation. Reruns will air through the summer. WCPO moved the show from 7:30 pm to 10:30 am some time ago.

    LAA made too many changes during its three season run that probably doomed the show (getting rid of Kevin, studio audience, cutting back on the prize budget among the chief reasons). The old axiom - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - applied to LAA. Here was this great show and the powers that be decided to mess with it. This should have been a hit nationwide in Seasons 4 and after, but too much tampering did the show in.

   Brian

     
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PYLdude

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2015, 02:00:47 AM »
I don't agree with any of that being the reason the show got cancelled.

Let's be real here..It was what it was, and I don't see what was so original about predicting how people responded to a survey. Family Feud did it. Card Sharks did it. Play the Percentages did it. It had been done before, and only one of them was able to get by on surveys alone (CS had the secondary element, and PTP dropped the format altogether). Being innovative would've, to me, involved a little more than the interactivity element. Which, while a plus, really didn't add a whole lot to the game. You could just as easily have done this in a studio with the same results.

When you have stations in a limited amount of markets that are airing the show and don't have very much interest from the biggest ones, the fact that three years' worth of shows came out of it to me is almost miraculous. I found Let's Ask America to be a rather inoffensive way to spend a half hour and felt strongly enough about it to throw my hat into the ring and sign up for an audition. But I can't imagine that this show would've made it past one year in full nationwide syndication because I think the novelty would've worn off really quick.

All in all, it was a fun experiment to try, but to me it simply wasn't sustainable long term. The fact that it got three years was a fortunate bounce for the production team, but Let's Ask America simply didn't do enough to get any more...and I don't know what they could've done otherwise.
Still crazy after all these years...but that's okay.

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BrandonFG

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2015, 02:00:53 AM »
I only saw a handful of shows, all online. I dunno if I'd say it was the most innovative show in the world (from what I remember, Paranoia was doing a lot of the same thing 13 years prior), but I liked what Scripps tried to do, even if it only aired in a handful of markets. I doubt the reasons you came up with are why viewers tuned out.

From a financial standpoint, the show most likely cut the top prize because the budget wasn't there; they'd wanted to go national since the beginning, and since that never happened, they knew they didn't have as much to work with. Still, to get three years out of it and it never aired in LA or NY is a pretty nice run. I'm sorry it never took off nationally.

ETA: Chris summed it up perfectly; it was an inoffensive way to spend a half hour, but it wasn't a show that had me glued to the set. If it airs vs. Jeopardy! in my market, Alex prolly wins every time. At least Celebrity Name Game intrigues me enough to flip over every so often.

I doubt the stations that replaced Wheel or J! got those shows' ratings, but I would like to see how competitive LAA was, esp. in the early evening time slots.

ETA II: The top prize was $37.5K in season three, down from what, 50K in season one? You do realize that's still pretty solid for a syndicated game show that aired in roughly 10% of the country? Especially when you take into account that the national shows don't even give that away on some days. It's not like they slashed the budget to $5,000 and a Ford Fiesta.

But again, I doubt people were tuning out because the top prize was cut by 1/4. Millionaire hasn't given away its top prize in years, and still does all right.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 02:40:38 AM by BrandonFG »
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MikeK

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2015, 09:24:53 AM »
Piggybacking on Brandon's and Chris' points...

The little game show that could (for 3 years) took Jeopardy!'s time slots in several markets, here in Cleveland included.  And in several markets, again Cleveland included, Let's Ask America was in direct competition with Jeopardy!  The show bombing on GSN definitely didn't help matters.

PYLdude

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2015, 04:44:52 AM »
Piggybacking on Brandon's and Chris' points...

The little game show that could (for 3 years) took Jeopardy!'s time slots in several markets, here in Cleveland included.  And in several markets, again Cleveland included, Let's Ask America was in direct competition with Jeopardy!  The show bombing on GSN definitely didn't help matters.

I think, and you may call me crazy for feeling this way, that the GSN flop was probably the biggest blow to the show.

As strange as it sounds, to me this was their big chance to get a lot of eyes on the product. Sure, GSN isn't the most widely watched network, but it says a lot that they're willing to take a chance and expose to its audience a show that hasn't been widely seen before. I don't know how many viewers they expected to get at midday, and I know the producers were excited about getting that kind of exposure, but their quick trigger on exiling the show to 3 AM is telling.

I think at that point, if a fairly small (by comparison) national viewer base wasn't going to buy in, they had to know that there was a good chance a broader audience would've felt the same way.
Still crazy after all these years...but that's okay.

"I suppose you can still learn stuff on TLC, though it would be more in the Goofus & Gallant sense, that is (don't do what these parents did)"- Travis Eberle, August 2012

BrandonFG

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2015, 01:58:05 PM »
I never thought about the GSN tie-in...honestly, I didn't even realize GSN had pulled the show. But Chris makes a valid point. I dunno how many viewers GSN reaches now, but it's become a fairly well-known network, and if it didn't take off there, then yeah, chances were it just wasn't gonna stick.

That said, I do wonder if it fares any better (even marginally) in the afternoons or evenings on GSN.
"I'll say anything you want, because my baby's applying to.....Tic Tac Dough! What the f**k is this?
Now celebrating his 17th season on GSF!

MikeK

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2015, 02:57:22 PM »
That said, I do wonder if it fares any better (even marginally) in the afternoons or evenings on GSN.
I wonder if showing Bill Bellamy episodes would have made a difference since he has some name recognition, at least more than Kevin Pereira.

toddyo

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2015, 12:41:56 PM »
The show was stupid from word go. The lack of a true studio audience, the stupid questions and the blandness of the show doomed it. It was a nice try but even Qube had much better production quality and energy. (That was 30 years ago, btw). It didn't help to be going head to head against its former timeslot occupant.

Thunder

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2015, 11:28:54 PM »
...It was a nice try but even Qube had much better production quality and energy. (That was 30 years ago, btw)...

Your opinion's credibility just went out the window faster than some person's TV.

PYLdude

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2015, 03:22:19 AM »
Yeah, I'm not feeling it either.

Even I appreciated the effort and I was one of Scripps' biggest critics regarding the move.
Still crazy after all these years...but that's okay.

"I suppose you can still learn stuff on TLC, though it would be more in the Goofus & Gallant sense, that is (don't do what these parents did)"- Travis Eberle, August 2012

toddyo

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2015, 09:43:37 AM »
Sorry Thunder. I worked on Cincinnati Qube programming. It was greatly improved from the Cullen pilot that's on Youtube.

JakeT

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Re: Let's Ask America - a farewell
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2015, 07:22:50 PM »
I think, and you may call me crazy for feeling this way, that the GSN flop was probably the biggest blow to the show.

Frankly, I don't see the connection to something flopping on GSN with how a particular show fared before or after being on GSN...one example that comes to mind is THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES...the Peter Marshall version is easily one of the most beloved game shows in history and was a huge hit during its NBC/SYN run...yet when it surfaced on GSN, it was a dismal flop (still don't understand why).

LAA failed due to lack of markets actually airing the show...really little more than that...

JakeT