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Author Topic: Important Years in Game Show History  (Read 3094 times)

TheInquisitiveOne

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Important Years in Game Show History
« on: October 26, 2022, 12:24:38 AM »
Good evening.

When you look back in game show history, what year seems to be important, in your opinion? Whether it’s your favorite, or one you see as high in importance?

What spurred me to write this topic was what happened in 1985. While TPIR cemented it’s place at the top of daytime game shows, there seemed to be a big shift - one that I feel started the decline of daytime game shows in general:

The cancellation of Richard Dawson’s version of Family Feud; to this day, it would be the last daytime game show on ABC that would run five years or more. While ABC did dabble in daytime game shows for a few years more, nothing else would gain traction after one season.

The rise of syndicated Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! For one, their successes helped push out the original 1-2 combination of Tic Tac Dough and The Joker’s Wild, though I also think Jack Barry’s unexpected passing in 1984 may have played a role too. (It may have also helped to push out nighttime Family Feud, though it may have already been on borrowed time.) In any case, both Merv Griffin shows began to explode in popularity, and I think (in hindsight) that could’ve started the eventual phasing out of network daytime game shows.

That leads into another year: 1989. By the end of March of that year, three game shows across two networks would be gone in two weeks: Super Password, Sale of the Century, and Card Sharks. Just a few months later, daytime Wheel of Fortune would leave its 14-year home of NBC and move to CBS, leaving Scrabble as the remaining long-runner until 1990 (EDIT: forgot about Classic Concentration, which went from 1987-1991…1993 if accounting for reruns…oops). This year would serve as a strong indicator that daytime television was really starting to shift away from game shows in favor of talk shows and/or local programming.

What other years do you think rank up there in historical importance? Discuss here. As always, thank you in advance for your responses. Be well.

The Inquisitive One
« Last Edit: October 26, 2022, 09:40:57 PM by TheInquisitiveOne »
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BrandonFG

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2022, 12:41:57 AM »
1994: NBC cancels Caesar’s Challenge, leaving TPiR as the sole daytime network game show for the next 15 years.

1999: Millionaire premieres on ABC. While we can argue whether it’s a good or bad thing that nearly every show since imitates the dark set, mood lighting, and drama, we can’t argue Millionaire pumped life into a genre that wasn’t quite dead, but was hit or miss at times.
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TLEberle

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2022, 02:43:13 AM »
Thank you, BFG for taking my first answer in 1999. 2005 brought on a stack of dispensable and not great game shows with Deal or No Deal at the vanguard.

2016 proved that game shows can so run successfully in prime time, at least in summer replacement.
Travis L. Eberle

Chelsea Thrasher

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2022, 03:23:56 AM »
Let's talk about 2002:
Network Millionaire dies, ending the primetime quiz fad, but kicks off the syndicated version - which lasts a decade and a half AND once and for all finally sells networks, affiliates, distributors, and production companies on women emcees as a factor that audiences will accept (Vicki Lawrence's two years on the daytime Win, Lose, or Draw 15 years prior having been the previous high-water-mark).

It's not completely sour on the network front, as Price is Right proves that it CAN work in network primetime, kicking off a series of primetime specials that would last into the first couple of years with Drew, then return starting a few years ago.

2002 was one of the last times the genre experienced a rush of interest in syndication in general. Squares got a massive reboot. Feud got Richard Karn, and proved that it could survive a reboot and host change - this would make them a TON of money eight years later). New, if flawed, attempt at Pyramid (noting here that Donny Osmond as host is criminally underrated, IMO).  The syndicated Weakest Link was fun and redeemed George Gray's career - all while Wheel and Jeopardy were in the midst of some changes (2001-03) that refreshed both shows, and it's the year the latter did it's first "let's bring back old contestants" tournament, Million Dollar Masters, a concept that the show has returned to several times since, always to a ratings pop, and was the first proof of concept that J! viewers really were interested in seeing so-called superchamps, something the show has taken to the bank over the last 20 years. 

It's also the year GSN largely got itself together as far as the production of originals. Its' only genuinely good original in the first eight years of the channel had been Hollywood Showdown, a PAX co-production.  In one calendar year, GSN greenlit two series that were still rerunning on the channel up to 20 years later (Whammy!, Lingo), resurrected a 3rd show from a failed syndication attempt (Russian Roulette), Friend or Foe actually holds up surprisingly well (reruns are streaming on Pluto, BTW), and Wintuition was a decent little quiz. At the same time, it was the last era where they went out of their way to acquire older shows. They turned up two different versions of Squares with Peter Marshall. Win Lose or Draw was airing. Greed became a fixture of the schedule for the next several years. Primetime was a mix and match of versions of franchise series for a while - 70s $20K Pyramid in primetime (Thursday, even) of a top 50 cable network in 2002 is wild. There's a decent argument 2002 might be the channel's best year.

Outside GSN (and Nick GAS), you also had at LEAST a half dozen other games in production. Until ABC got heavy into primetime games a decade and a half later, it truly feels like the last time that game shows felt like a commodity that execs were interested in.

Dbacksfan12

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2022, 08:22:45 AM »
1975–40+ shows aired at some point during the year.  Some clunkers, yes.  But WoF made its maiden appearance.  TPiR and Match Game were both hitting their strides as well.
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aaron sica

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2022, 09:07:17 AM »
1980 has always seemed like a watermark to me.

Meeting their demise in network daytime (although some would be revived) - High Rollers, $20K Pyramid, Hollywood Squares, Chain Reaction.

This was also the year, that, by and large, the "checkerboard" format and weekly game show offererings (MG PM an exception) were gone. Family Feud and Hollywood Squares, both previously 2 nights a week options, went the full 5. Weekly offerings NTT and TPiR were cancelled.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2022, 11:40:47 AM by aaron sica »

BillCullen1

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2022, 11:06:40 AM »
My turn:

1967 - the year CBS cancelled the big three G-T panel shows, WML, IGAS and TTTT. The latter would last another year in daytime,

1972 - CBS gets back in the game show biz and puts on TJW, TPIR and Gambit.

1974 - G-T has a total of nine shows on the air, the most they ever had. Five network, four in syndication. Newest shows were Tattletales and Now You See It.

1980 - FF gets a daily syndie version in addition to ABC daytime, having Dawson hosting 10 shows a week. If he hadn't already left MG, he would have by then.

1984 - Jeopardy returns. That and WOF become the new syndie "one two" punch.

1994 - Dawson returns to FF, TPIR tries a revised format with host Doug Davidson. Both prove to be unsuccessful.

2007 - Barker rides off into the sunset as host of TPIR.

carlisle96

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2022, 11:41:55 AM »
why is everybody forgetting 1958: the year the quiz scandals broke and changed the genre forever

JMFabiano

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2022, 01:24:43 PM »
1983.

The barrage of short lived shows (Hit Man, New Battlestars, MG/HS), one of which won an Emmy for its host (Just Men!).

Then you got a few bonafide hits...Sale, Press Your Luck, and syndie Wheel of course.
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BillCullen1

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2022, 05:19:08 PM »
why is everybody forgetting 1958: the year the quiz scandals broke and changed the genre forever

I personally was thinking of things more on the positive side. But you're right, 1958 was definitely a big year in game show history for that. It was also the year Johnny Olson started announcing his first G-T show, Play Your Hunch.

One other year. 1956, the year G-T first put on TPIR and TTTT, both created by Bob Stewart.

Winkfan

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2022, 05:29:36 PM »
More examples:

1955: The $64,000 Question ignites the Big-Money Quiz craze.

1961: The original Password launches the "Celeb-Civilian Game"; plus, Say When!! gives Art James his first regular hosting gig.

1964: The original Jeopardy puts quizzes back on TV; while Wink Martindale begins his long hosting career (What's This Song?).

1965: The original Dating Game puts Chuck Barris on the TV map.

1966: The original versions of The Newlywed Game and The Hollywood Squares are unveiled; also Bob Stewart goes on his own. Speaking of Mr. Stewart.....

1973: The $10,000 Pyramid premieres, Match Game returns with a vengeance, and America meets Alex Trebek (The Wizard Of Odds).

Cordially,
Tammy
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Jeremy Nelson

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2022, 06:29:41 PM »
Let's talk about 2002:
And boy how, you did. Excellent argument. I remember that era feeling like the genre was about to be on the upswing again.

BrandonFG

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2022, 07:02:15 PM »
Let's talk about 2002:
And boy how, you did. Excellent argument. I remember that era feeling like the genre was about to be on the upswing again.
Agreed. 2002 was a great year for games and often overlooked in terms of "renaissance" years.

I'd also make an argument for 1996. After it seemed like daytime talk shows were replacing the classics, we got a few new entries in syndication with Dating Game and Newlywed Game reboots, Bzzz!, and in some markets Majority Rules.

On cable, The Family Channel rolled out a new afternoon block with Shop Til You Drop, Shopping Spree, Small Talk, Wait Til You Have Kids and Family Challenge, while Lifetime had Debt airing after Supermarket Sweep reruns.

This 13/14-year-old openly welcomed the new shows, after it felt like the genre was done for good.
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TheInquisitiveOne

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2022, 08:01:21 PM »
Let's talk about 2002:
And boy how, you did. Excellent argument. I remember that era feeling like the genre was about to be on the upswing again.

Echoing that sentiment. That year really felt like a game show renaissance of sorts, with everything hitting the right notes, ABC Millionaire be damned. With everything that happened at the end of the previous year, these shows provided us with the right amount of levity we needed.

The Inquisitive One
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beatlefreak84

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Re: Important Years in Game Show History
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2022, 11:53:30 PM »
My first instinct was 1994 for the following reasons:

-Cancelation of Caesars Challenge, leaving Price as the sole daytime network game show
-USA Network transitioning from the go-to for game show reruns to treating game shows as an afterthought
-The debut of Game Show Network in December, a niche cable network that is still going strong after almost 30 years, even though it is no longer the treasure trove of classics
-The end of the Ray Combs era of Feud (my personal favorite era)
-Lastly, the debut of Illinois Instant Riches, a local lottery game show seen nationally and spawning multiple copycat versions in other states

I had also thought of 2002 and 2016 for the reasons already mentioned, but personally have always felt a strong shift in so many things in the game show world in 1994 that I had to pick that one.

Anthony
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