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Author Topic: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)  (Read 1530 times)

TimK2003

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What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« on: March 13, 2024, 08:19:49 PM »
Watching the recently posted 1980 NBC Daytime block of game shows, I noticed at the end of the WOF episode, Chuck and Susan mention that there was a (false) rumor that Wheel was being cancelled.

What if Wheel was to have been canceled around that time?  Would Merv still had any chance of bringing back Jeopardy for it's 3rd, and most successful run, in it's current syndicated form despite its disappointing reboot effort a little over a year prior?   

Would Merv have attempted a run at syndicating Wheel a few years sooner If it left daytime then?

Just some idle "What If" thoughts.

Jimmy Owen

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Re: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2024, 09:01:04 PM »
Yes, Metromedia or 20th Century Fox would have offered it in syndication.

NBC was proposing expanding "Today" to 11:30 to dovetail local noon news shows.
If you search David Eduardo's Broadcasting Magazine archive there is a blurb about the possible change.
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BrandonFG

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Re: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2024, 09:06:26 PM »
I believe Merv had plans for a weekly syndicated Wheel around that same time. Given that only one game that premiered in the 1980-81 syndicated season made it to S2, I don't think syndie Wheel takes off if it premieres a few years earlier.

That said, I don't think J! getting revived had anything to do with Wheel's success. The computer set pilot taped around the same time Wheel premiered...it just so happened that the latter set the world on fire.
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Ian Wallis

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Re: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2024, 11:08:51 PM »
I believe Merv had plans for a weekly syndicated Wheel around that same time. Given that only one game that premiered in the 1980-81 syndicated season made it to S2, I don't think syndie Wheel takes off if it premieres a few years earlier.


It's been largely believed that Wheel's success was a major reason why Family Feud ended up getting cancelled.  If Wheel hadn't debuted in syndication in Sept 1983, would Feud have lasted a lot longer?

The 1984 TV Guide article damaged it quite a bit, but without the competition from Wheel, maybe it would have had enough gas left to carry on for a while.

Interesting to think about history could be much different!
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BrandonFG

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Re: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2024, 11:13:52 PM »
I can’t remember if it was the network or syndicated version, but I remember reading one of the Feuds got renewed for ‘85-‘86, before it got cancelled alongside its counterpart. Given they shot the Combs pilot two years later with a refreshed set, now I wonder if Feud continues into ‘88 with Dawson passing the baton?

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Casey Buck

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Re: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2024, 12:53:15 AM »
It's been largely believed that Wheel's success was a major reason why Family Feud ended up getting cancelled.  If Wheel hadn't debuted in syndication in Sept 1983, would Feud have lasted a lot longer?

Not just Feud, but perhaps Joker's Wild & Tic Tac Dough, as well.

Jeremy Nelson

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Re: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2024, 01:18:23 PM »
It's been largely believed that Wheel's success was a major reason why Family Feud ended up getting cancelled.  If Wheel hadn't debuted in syndication in Sept 1983, would Feud have lasted a lot longer?

Not just Feud, but perhaps Joker's Wild & Tic Tac Dough, as well.
Feud was already getting long in the tooth- it may last a couple extra years, but it doesn't make it to 1990 without a cancellation or a major change.
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steveleb

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Re: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2024, 01:49:47 PM »
Well, I was working in the biz at this point so let me tell you what I know.

Merv easily could have taken out a years worth of nbc wheel in reruns via metromedia if the show had been cancelled.  There were enough independent stations looking for content that they would have made a few bucks.  But the time periods would have been much weaker.  I highly doubt the chance for success the eventual launch realized would have materialized. And there is no jeopardy without a successful syndicated wheel.

The fact that the NBC version continues forced the syndicated version to seek post 4 pm time slots.  That in itself created more upside; the Kings were quite strategic as to where they placed their bets.  They launched in the fall of 83 with a mere 40 stations and none in the top three markets. 

Also keep in mind that joker and tic had faded measurably between 80 and 83, and in many markets the Kings actually closed those deals for Colbert.  Philadelphia and Detroit in particular were strong stations that their relationships with the GMs opened up. 

Bottom line:  from my own observations of P and Ls and numerous conversations with the parties involved—there is a syndicated Wheel, perhaps a first run version, but it likely doesn’t change the course of history, and more than likely keeps jeopardy from launching with similar success

So I suspect we owe a little gratitude to fred Silverman? :)

PYLdude

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Re: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2024, 03:58:32 PM »
I can’t remember if it was the network or syndicated version, but I remember reading one of the Feuds got renewed for ‘85-‘86, before it got cancelled alongside its counterpart. Given they shot the Combs pilot two years later with a refreshed set, now I wonder if Feud continues into ‘88 with Dawson passing the baton?



Going by what Dawson said in his interview with the Archive of American Television, he had spoken to Viacom about returning for one more syndie season. So they were at least considering pushing forward with just that. I doubt the daytime series would’ve continued anyway, considering where the ratings had gone, but Viacom at least had changed its mind on continuing production at some point in the days that followed.
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steveleb

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Re: What If??? (In A Parallel Wheel/J! Universe...)
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2024, 12:31:33 PM »
As was related to me by Viacom execs of the era, those talks occurred before Jeopardy cemented itself as a legitimate hit—roughly around natpe 1985.  Their hope was the Wherl
Audience would reject J! as they did in 78-79 and Feud might secure those slots,  Viacom had a commitment from WOR for a 7-9 pm block so they had the top market secured; a few others too but never LA or Chicago.  I’d say the talk with Richard was mostly procedural just in case.  Do remember WOR ran a rerun feud package at 830 pm during the winter of 85-86