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Author Topic: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?  (Read 1037 times)

danderson

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What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« on: September 09, 2019, 08:00:56 PM »
For example, she replaced hosts like Art Fleming, Joe Garagiola, and Bob Clayton with Alex Trebek, Chuck Woolery, and Geoff Edwards, all who became stalwarts in game shows, and green lighting shows like Wheel Of Fortune, High Rollers, and Jackpot. Did she have any say about wardrobe too?

TLEberle

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 08:11:59 PM »
Yes she did. Younger hosts, flashier formats (literally and figuratively) and a more current wardrobe for the hosts.

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BrandonFG

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 08:28:51 PM »
Did she have any say about wardrobe too?
Absolutely. I think it was in Jefferson Graham's Come on Down book, but he mentioned how Lin was very upfront about wanting the talent wearing butterfly collar leisure suits and sporting longer hair. For Geoff, Alex, or Chuck, it made sense. On Dennis James or Bill Cullen, it looked kinda silly.

/By mid-70s standards
//All leisure suits look silly now
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Adam Nedeff

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2019, 01:00:25 AM »
Working on Game Shows FAQ, I came to the conclusion that Lin gets a lot more crap than she deserves for her tenure.

-Although she pushed for new game shows, she continually relied on veteran producers and packagers for formats.
-She pushed for younger stars to host shows, but she had a great eye for talent, and many of them were old-school broadcasters in their own right
-Her hit/miss ratio was no worse than any other network VP, and some shows that the game show community generally speaks highly of came during her watch
-The people I've spoken to who directly worked with her spoke highly of her, among other things noting that she trusted the people who bought shows from; Lin definitely had a look and a feel that she wanted game shows to have, but as long as you adhered to that look, she left you alone in every other regard to run the show as you saw fit.

Dbacksfan12

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2019, 02:00:25 AM »
but as long as you adhered to that look, she left you alone in every other regard to run the show as you saw fit.
Wasn't she the reason Jackpot went from riddles to Q&A?

In regards to people knocking her job performance, I strongly suspect its tied to her treatment of Jeopardy!.
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Loogaroo

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2019, 02:21:29 AM »
Wasn't she the reason Jackpot went from riddles to Q&A?
I think you have focus groups to blame for that change more than anything.
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RMF

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2019, 08:25:46 PM »
Several thoughts I have in terms of assessing Bolen:

1) Does anyone have complete ratings for the network daytime schedules during the period she was in charge? I haven't seen such data- and it strikes me as necessary in order to engage in a full assessment.

2) Similarly, while it's understandable for us to have a game show emphasis, I'd argue we need to consider her work with daytime programming overall- Bolen made changes with other programming that similarly had a major impact.

3) Looking just at game shows, a point that seems to be neglected in discussing Bolen is that she wasn't really working in a vacuum- after several years in which CBS had given up on the genre and ABC was down to a handful (with two of the most notable ones being used as counterprogramming against soaps), both networks had a renewed interest in game shows, and certain aspects to some of their programs aren't necessarily that different from what Bolen was up to.

4) A point that sometimes gets neglected in discussing the rise of new hosts: Looking at the schedule of game shows in late 1972, all but one of NBC's game shows taped in New York. By early 1975, only one did- and I have to wonder if part of the need for new hosts was connected to this transfer in production.

5) Finally (for now, at least), a point of relevance- who were the folk that disliked her, and why? I know Nedeff is working on a book on one of her most outspoken critics (or at least his NBC show after she left), so I'll avoid saying anything definitive about their dealings here- but there are aspects of his career (and private life) that make me think there may have been more than met the eye.

No actual opinion (I haven't done the research needed for one that would be any good)- but these are points I feel probably need consideration in order to make a full assessment.

danderson

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2019, 09:47:42 PM »
Several thoughts I have in terms of assessing Bolen:

1) Does anyone have complete ratings for the network daytime schedules during the period she was in charge? I haven't seen such data- and it strikes me as necessary in order to engage in a full assessment.

2) Similarly, while it's understandable for us to have a game show emphasis, I'd argue we need to consider her work with daytime programming overall- Bolen made changes with other programming that similarly had a major impact.

3) Looking just at game shows, a point that seems to be neglected in discussing Bolen is that she wasn't really working in a vacuum- after several years in which CBS had given up on the genre and ABC was down to a handful (with two of the most notable ones being used as counterprogramming against soaps), both networks had a renewed interest in game shows, and certain aspects to some of their programs aren't necessarily that different from what Bolen was up to.

4) A point that sometimes gets neglected in discussing the rise of new hosts: Looking at the schedule of game shows in late 1972, all but one of NBC's game shows taped in New York. By early 1975, only one did- and I have to wonder if part of the need for new hosts was connected to this transfer in production.

5) Finally (for now, at least), a point of relevance- who were the folk that disliked her, and why? I know Nedeff is working on a book on one of her most outspoken critics (or at least his NBC show after she left), so I'll avoid saying anything definitive about their dealings here- but there are aspects of his career (and private life) that make me think there may have been more than met the eye.

No actual opinion (I haven't done the research needed for one that would be any good)- but these are points I feel probably need consideration in order to make a full assessment.

Split Second, which ran against Search for Tomorrow at 12:30, and did pretty well.

The Dating Game, opposite The Doctors(soap) was the other show? But TDG was canceled by 75.

RMF

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2019, 01:42:19 AM »
Split Second, which ran against Search for Tomorrow at 12:30, and did pretty well.

The Dating Game, opposite The Doctors(soap) was the other show? But TDG was canceled by 75.

I was looking back to the early 1970s- for several years, The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game aired as an hour block between 2 and 3 PM against Days of Our Lives and The Doctors on NBC and The Guiding Light and (for much of that time) Love is a Many-Splendored Thing on CBS.

calliaume

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 09:14:34 AM »
Opinions vary.  Jim MacKrell sings her praises.  Geoff Edwards wasn't fond of her.  Chuck Barris couldn't stand her.

Maxine Fabe's book, TV Game Shows!, started much of the controversy.  I hadn't heard of her before that (in fairness, I was 16 when the book came out). 

My opinion:  some (although not all) of the negative opinion about her has an element of sexism.  As far as I know, she was the first female executive at NBC, at a time when women were expected to get the coffee and shut the hell up.

BrandonFG

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 10:10:01 AM »
Opinions vary.  Jim MacKrell sings her praises.  Geoff Edwards wasn't fond of her.  Chuck Barris couldn't stand her.

Maxine Fabe's book, TV Game Shows!, started much of the controversy.  I hadn't heard of her before that (in fairness, I was 16 when the book came out). 

My opinion:  some (although not all) of the negative opinion about her has an element of sexism.  As far as I know, she was the first female executive at NBC, at a time when women were expected to get the coffee and shut the hell up.
The first time I saw “Anchorman”, I said there was no way men acted like Ron Burgundy in the 70s. Then I read about Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters...

With all the talk about whether women should receive equal pay, it kinda feels like we never left 1974.
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Matt Ottinger

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2019, 12:13:38 PM »
Maxine Fabe's book, TV Game Shows!, started much of the controversy. 

I don't think our younger members here can truly appreciate how accurate this is.  Back then, the average fan, even the above-average fan, didn't know anything about the executives who made the decisions.  Shows were cancelled by "the network", and that's really all that mattered.  Fabe gave us a name.  More specifically, she gave us the name of the woman who took Jeopardy away from us!

Today, a million years later, maybe she ought to be given a little more credit for giving us Wheel of Fortune and advancing the careers of Trebek, Woolery and Edwards.  But to the passionate fans of the original Jeopardy, she was a convenient scapegoat.  And since most of those fans were male, they didn't care about her "young studs" approach to hosts, so that became a topic of derision.
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TimK2003

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2019, 12:15:58 PM »
Lin was also one of the few, who got her own show (Stumpers) on a network she currently had some control of.  Chuck Barris also had that honor at ABC with Dating/Newlywed while he was running ABC daytime.  The only other person that I can think of that might have had a program on a network that he was concurrently working at was Fred Silverman.

BillCullen1

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2019, 12:18:48 PM »
Lin was also one of the few, who got her own show (Stumpers) on a network she currently had some control of. 

And despite her liking of younger hosts, she got veteran Allen Ludden to host.

calliaume

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Re: What was Lin Bolen's influence on the game show business?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2019, 12:24:08 PM »
Lin was also one of the few, who got her own show (Stumpers) on a network she currently had some control of.  Chuck Barris also had that honor at ABC with Dating/Newlywed while he was running ABC daytime.  The only other person that I can think of that might have had a program on a network that he was concurrently working at was Fred Silverman.
I believe Bolen had already left NBC by the time Stumpers aired - in fact, I think that was given to Bolen when she was replaced in her position by Madeline David.