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Author Topic: Catchphrase  (Read 1542 times)

isucgv

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Catchphrase
« on: May 17, 2019, 03:45:40 PM »
Iíve been watching a lot of the older UK Catchphrase lately, along with what exists on YouTube of the US version, and Iíve been wondering about why the US run was so short compared to the UK version when the game is substantially the same.  Is it just a matter of the tastes of the viewing audiences at that time?  I do find Roy Walker to be a more personable host than Art James appeared to be, so perhaps with a different (looser) host, the show might have had more legs?

Iíd be interested in the thoughts from the group as well.  I find Catchphrase to be a fun show to watch, so itís a shame it didnít last longer here...

BrandonFG

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2019, 05:05:38 PM »
I wonder if it was just the state of syndication? By the start of the 1985-86 season, there were by my count, at least 13 games in syndication alone:

-Wheel
-Jeopardy!
-Tic Tac Dough
-Joker's Wild
-LMaD
-$ale of the Century
-Love Connection
-Catch Phrase*
-Newlywed Game*
-Headline Chasers*
-TPiR*
-$100K Pyramid*
-Break the Bank*


*Fall '85 premieres

Out of that list, there were six new shows, and only two made it to a second season. I'm guessing the combination of it being a crowded market and Wheelmania. I do wonder how well it does on a network or as an original on USA's afternoon block. From 1985 through the end of the decade, not too many syndicated games made it to season two. Off the top of my head, $1M Chance of a Lifetime, Hollywood Squares, Dating Game, Win Lose or Draw, and Fun House.

Interestingly enough, I believe Bob Goen said in an interview that Perfect Match, Telepictures's replacement series, performed well enough to get a renewal, but the similarities between that and The Newlywed Game and a potential lawsuit from Chuck Barris led to the cancellation. I'm curious to know how both shows did in the ratings for comparison.
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Jimmy Owen

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2019, 05:06:09 PM »
Check the trade magazines of the time. The syndicator guaranteed ratings success and had an "insurance policy" if the show did not meet ratings expectations. Result: "Perfect Match."
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Dan88

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2019, 07:43:09 PM »
I wonder if it was just the state of syndication? By the start of the 1985-86 season, there were by my count, at least 13 games in syndication alone
If I'm not mistaken, there was also a "best of" rerun package for Family Feud.
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BrandonFG

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2019, 08:33:21 PM »
I wonder if it was just the state of syndication? By the start of the 1985-86 season, there were by my count, at least 13 games in syndication alone
If I'm not mistaken, there was also a "best of" rerun package for Family Feud.
You're not mistaken. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lhu1VbkdXE

/13 first-run game shows :P
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TimK2003

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2019, 10:28:09 PM »
Based on my fuzzy memory from my college years, Catch Phrase never aired in Cleveland, and was only on the low budget ABC affiliate in Toledo (WNWO).  I don't recall seeing CP on any Detroit stations, either, but I think Perfect Match got paired up with Love Connection and aired against Carson &/or Letterman on WXON/20.

So all and all, Catch Phrase did not get good clearance in my neck of the woods back then.

snowpeck

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2019, 07:54:15 PM »
According to Variety, Catch Phrase averaged around a 2.3 rating and Perfect Match a 2.2. An article on Perfect Match's cancellation notes that 81 stations had cleared it for a second season, but it was the ratings that led to its cancellation and not the lawsuit from Barris. Barris' lawyer apparently said the suit would continue even if the show was cancelled.
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PYLdude

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2019, 05:48:34 AM »
The pacing is so much better on the UK series. I don't really know if Art James is the major issue with that, but it seems that everything just flows better. And because it takes so long for a Super Catch Phrqse to be solved, by that time it's anticlimactic and you're almost out of time.

I'd have liked to see money awarded for solving the regular Catch Phrases on the American edition but also don't know if that would have solved anything.
In a way I'm like a Sour Patch Kid. Sour, then sweet. So worry not, fair comrades. :)

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CarbonCpy

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2019, 02:37:44 PM »
I think a lot of the pacing issues in the US version was due to the hardware limitations of the system drawing the catchphrases.

just my take, and it may be way off the mark, but it seemed like there was a lot of time spent between the catchphrase beginning and the bell signalling when you could ring in.

EDIT: but if you didn't want to use computers, how else would it be done? would time-lapse footage of a resident artist drawing out the puzzles be cheaper than the then top-of-the-line computer? Would contracting out a bunch of 15-second animations to H/B or Filmation been practical?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 06:11:03 PM by CarbonCpy »

PYLdude

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2019, 03:19:40 AM »
I think CarbonCpy's got.the right idea- I think one of the big criticisms from the fandom for years was the technology just couldn't keep pace with the concept. I also agree that it felt like the bell tended to come far later than perhaps it could have; while I totally get the point of wanting to get as much info in as you can, why not let someone ring in if they know it quickly?
In a way I'm like a Sour Patch Kid. Sour, then sweet. So worry not, fair comrades. :)

"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

Jimmy Owen

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2019, 03:30:12 AM »
I think CarbonCpy's got.the right idea- I think one of the big criticisms from the fandom for years was the technology just couldn't keep pace with the concept. I also agree that it felt like the bell tended to come far later than perhaps it could have; while I totally get the point of wanting to get as much info in as you can, why not let someone ring in if they know it quickly?
Kills the playalong at home. 
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PYLdude

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2019, 09:48:22 AM »
I think CarbonCpy's got.the right idea- I think one of the big criticisms from the fandom for years was the technology just couldn't keep pace with the concept. I also agree that it felt like the bell tended to come far later than perhaps it could have; while I totally get the point of wanting to get as much info in as you can, why not let someone ring in if they know it quickly?
Kills the playalong at home. 


Not really.
In a way I'm like a Sour Patch Kid. Sour, then sweet. So worry not, fair comrades. :)

"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

isucgv

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2019, 10:10:15 AM »
I think a lot of the pacing issues in the US version was due to the hardware limitations of the system drawing the catchphrases.
I believe I read this somewhere (but that doesnít mean a whole lot) and watching the first few series of the UK version - I think the computer doing the drawing was the same as the US version - at least for a while, and then it was upgraded in later series.  Ď

As Iíve watched later series (8,9) - Roy Walker runs the game faster.  It seems like the US producers told the contestants to make a guess at the Super Catchphrase at every turn, no matter how ridiculous the guess was.  Roy Walker will move them right along if he can tell they donít have a guess.  It may help also that there is only 1 commercial break in the game there (I donít know how long that break is) compared to 3 or 4 in our version, but the pacing just seems better in the UK version.

Jimmy Owen

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2019, 12:35:41 PM »
I think CarbonCpy's got.the right idea- I think one of the big criticisms from the fandom for years was the technology just couldn't keep pace with the concept. I also agree that it felt like the bell tended to come far later than perhaps it could have; while I totally get the point of wanting to get as much info in as you can, why not let someone ring in if they know it quickly?
Kills the playalong at home. 


Not really.
You asked, I answered.
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Neumms

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Re: Catchphrase
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2019, 05:46:27 PM »
If, like the British version, the American one featured the robot enjoying himself in a carnal way, it may have taken off.

Then again, Art wasn't the most engaging host, and the concept of slowly revealing puzzle parts was much better on Concentration and, to a certain extent, Wheel. The basic idea--if animated better--was fun, but the game around it needed pepping up.