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Author Topic: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM  (Read 3741 times)

Ian Wallis

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Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« on: April 11, 2024, 10:35:37 AM »
We all know the story...Match Game 77 was buzzing along fine, but in November of that year, CBS expanded Guiding Light to an hour, which meant a schedule change.  Price is Right was moved back to 10 AM (Eastern), with Match Game following at 11.  I guess CBS figured since they did so well being back-to-back on the schedule in the afternoons from '73-75, maybe the magic would work again in the morning.

The experiment failed, and it started a downfall in the ratings for Match Game that it never fully recovered from.  After just six weeks, on December 19th the schedule was abruptly changed again, with Tattletales moving to 10 AM, Price back to 10:30, then Match Game in the afternoons but now at 4 PM.  The schedule change was so abrupt that I think TV Guide was even a week late in recognizing it.  Problem was a lot of CBS affiliates didn't air the 4 PM program, opting for syndicated shows instead.  The 4 PM slot for all the networks was an issue for a while.  Quite a number of them tape-delayed the show to the next morning, usually 9 or 9:30.

The show was a big hit with school kids who could watch the show after coming home from school.  By moving the show to the mornings, they lost most of those viewers and the move back gave it a lower audience than before because of network clearances in the new time slot.

My question:  finding ratings for daytime shows is very difficult.  Price is Right was still drawing a big audience and was one of the top-rated game shows at the time, and its audience was still increasing.  The network must have lost a lot of viewers who didn't stay with the next show - I guess it was mostly housewives at the time and maybe it wasn't their cup of tea(?)

Does anybody know the exact ratings for that period?  How far did Match Game fall?  It must have fallen off a cliff ratings-wise for CBS to change the schedule again that quickly.
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aaron sica

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2024, 11:24:53 AM »
Did some google searches and found this:

Week of May 9-13, 1977 - MG77 had a 7.8 audience share from 3:30-3:45 and an 8.3 audience share from 3:45-4:00.
Week of November 7-11, 1977 - MG77 had a 4.2 audience share from 11:00-11:15 and a 4.5 audience share from 11:15-11:30.


tyshaun1

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2024, 09:00:14 PM »
Here's a snippet of daytime for November 1977...



steveleb

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2024, 07:31:25 AM »
Fascinating find. I remember those pocket pieces all too well.

Equally revealing was exactly how out of place Pyramid was as a stand alone game show amidst soaps on either side of it.  Those were significant declines for what was a de facto hammock time slot and it was a distinct third.  No surprise it was downgraded to noon soon after this.

Casey Buck

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2024, 05:51:44 PM »
I found a site that has scans of Nielsen Pocketpieces from 1978-June of 1988:

https://www.ratingsryan.com/p/nielsen-pocketpiece-archives.html

SuperMatch93

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2024, 06:14:20 PM »
I found a site that has scans of Nielsen Pocketpieces from 1978-June of 1988:

https://www.ratingsryan.com/p/nielsen-pocketpiece-archives.html

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steveleb

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2024, 11:54:37 PM »
I recall my first exposure to a lot of these.  I was tasked with developing a sales pitch for reruns of Private Secretary, the ancient Ann Sothern black and white sitcom that Metromedia somehow owned rights to.  Our head of sales was an older man and had seemed to recall the ratings were almost as strong as those of the show it was often compared to by critics, I LOVE LUCY.  I was a young, naive geek who had never heard of the show then.  Metromedia paid for two trips for me to spend four long days in Nielsenís Palo Alto offices, with posh hotel and rental car, to sift through years of these to create a story.  It took me that long because a) I couldnít stop reading these little historical documents (this was one of the only libraries anywhere that had books that old and b) Palo Alto pre-Facebook was gorgeous and the hotel far nicer than my apartment.  Plus the company was already being sold and our CFO actually urged me to get as much over a company he thought would soon fire us all.

P.S:  I somehow crafted a plausible and relevant ratings history (it was indeed not Lucy ratings, but it still frequently did time period winning shares) and our sales head found a patsy at Nickelodeon to buy the show.  Look it up.  PRIVATE SECRETARY ran on Nick at Nite for years.

Your weekend may be busy, but you now get to experience what I did from your couch.

Enjoy.

 

JohnXXVII

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2024, 03:37:59 AM »
CBS could have given Match Game back it's 3:30pm time slot. All they had there were All in the Family reruns in 77, and then MASH reruns in 78. Instead, they let Match Game languish in the 4pm death slot, where no show lasted very long. How come?

tyshaun1

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2024, 07:53:55 AM »
CBS could have given Match Game back it's 3:30pm time slot. All they had there were All in the Family reruns in 77, and then MASH reruns in 78. Instead, they let Match Game languish in the 4pm death slot, where no show lasted very long. How come?
*Checks ratings from 1978 and 79* Because All In The Family and MASH rated better and drew a more desirable audience? Also, it's possible that the VP of daytime felt that Match Game had ran its course. In that time slot, it regularly lost to Edge of Night, albeit with a much lower clearance.

steveleb

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2024, 05:07:57 PM »
Tyshaun, you're 100 percent correct on both counts.  I worked for said executive years later, who at the time was absolutely convinced that the show had become tired, repetitive and ultimately not as watchable as it had been.  And, in fairness, given how much it pushed what was the envelope in its first years, only the see the likes of The Gong Show and other media eclipse even it, he wasn't wrong.  He did admit with the benefit of hindsight that the move to the morning was a bad one, and that the decline may have been accelerated by that decision, and by the time it did come back to the afternoon re-establishing the fact it had returned was difficult.  But he completely defended the ultimate cancellation move , and if you notice, his good friend just HAPPENED to produce the show that was ordered and went to series the day after the last MG telecast. 


carlisle96

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2024, 06:58:28 PM »
I found a site that has scans of Nielsen Pocketpieces from 1978-June of 1988:

https://www.ratingsryan.com/p/nielsen-pocketpiece-archives.html

Looking at some of these daytime numbers, I'm wondering what rating was considered good enough to get a renewal? Some shows that met early deaths looked like they got higher numbers or comparable to shows that lasted several years, or, like Hollywood Squares, kept hanging on.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2024, 07:20:29 PM by carlisle96 »

steveleb

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2024, 08:56:29 PM »
There wasnít a specific number per se; several variables typically were in play,  For one, programmers in charge looked at share, not rating.  More often that not, each time period was judged in context.  Basically, if you won your slot and either improved or held the majority of your lead-in, you tended to fine.  In time slots where coverage diminished, there was even more of a sliding scale.  In the time slots where three networks competed with similar genres, a competitive number two could get by as well.  Woolery Wheel typically performed ljke that.  And of course packagers sometimes mattered as well.  Goodson often had leverage, particularly at CBS. 

In this particular case, the decline was precipitous and the morning environment just did not work. And lacking after school kids hurt the overall HH numberódonít forget, no time shift viewing.

Those were the days

carlisle96

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2024, 10:25:07 AM »
There wasnít a specific number per se; several variables typically were in play,  For one, programmers in charge looked at share, not rating.  More often that not, each time period was judged in context.  Basically, if you won your slot and either improved or held the majority of your lead-in, you tended to fine.  In time slots where coverage diminished, there was even more of a sliding scale.  In the time slots where three networks competed with similar genres, a competitive number two could get by as well.  Woolery Wheel typically performed ljke that.  And of course packagers sometimes mattered as well.  Goodson often had leverage, particularly at CBS. 

In this particular case, the decline was precipitous and the morning environment just did not work. And lacking after school kids hurt the overall HH numberódonít forget, no time shift viewing.

Those were the days

Thanks. I figured that contractual obligations between networks and producers also played a part

Neumms

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2024, 04:40:24 PM »
It's damning that Match Game's share was tied with Knockout's. I liked Knockout but assumed it was a total failure.

steveleb

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Re: Match Game 77's ill-fated move to 11 AM
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2024, 08:16:40 PM »
Oh, it was indeed a failure x. The difference between the two is that MG had equity from past success and of course Goodsonís clout.  Ralph Edwards was struggling with network shows that year (Kennedy Tune worker no better than Dennisí version) and my understanding is that as a host Arte was not that well-liked.  So with nothing good to crow about they were deemed expendable, especially when Woody was able to con them into America Alive