Quiz Show #atozchallenge

quiz show

You really don’t see many quiz shows, more commonly known as game shows, on TV anymore. There are a lot of reasons for that: networks are cheap and it costs less to produce a show like The View (even at the inflated salaries of the panelists) and Judge Judy than a show like The $20,000 Pyramid; they were in their day mostly targeted to housewives who were home all day and who watched the game shows as a break between waxing the floor and cleaning the oven, who are also a dying breed; it’s hard finding sponsors for the show, who would often donate prizes in exchange for the free advertising; and people have other options to watching network TV. A kid home sick or on a school holiday isn’t interested in watching women trying to figure out the price of a box of Rice-A-Roni (“The San Francisco Treat!”), not when there are cable channels of every sort and streaming options like Netflix and Hulu as well as video games and friends to text.

There are still a few game shows that are hanging in there, of course. (I’m talking about the US here; I’m sure you could share information from your country if you live elsewhere in the world). The two big ones in the US are Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, which both started as network game shows and are now syndicated by Sony. They’re in their 35th and 34th years, respectively, in syndication, but had their roots in network TV in the Sixties and Seventies. CBS is still running The Price Is Right, which started its run on NBC with Bill Cullen as its host, ran for many years hosted by Bob Barker, who was then replaced by Drew Carey about ten years ago; and Let’s Make A Deal, a game show developed by Monty Hall, who hosted it on ABC for years and which CBS rebooted starring Wayne Brady. Family Feud is syndicated from its days on ABC, when Richard Dawson then Ray Combs hosted; Steve Harvey now hosts the syndicated version after stints by Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, and John O’Hurley. There had been syndicated versions of Hollywood Squares and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, both of which started as network shows. Now, I’m not sure if they’re still around.

I get my game show fix from Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! now. If I want to see more, I turn on Buzzr, which shows many of the game shows produced originally by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. There is the Game Show Network on cable, but we don’t have cable anymore.

Did you (or do you still) watch game shows? what are some of your favorites?

27 thoughts on “Quiz Show #atozchallenge

  1. I have loved “Jeopardy” since I was a kid; I even had the “home version of our game” from the 4th grade or so. I don’t know what happened to it! Anyway, we make sure to sit down for “Jeopardy” every night and enjoy answering the questions. We try to guess the final question before we even see the clue, and have been right several times as well. I do miss good game shows, as I enjoyed things like “Let’s Make a Deal,” “The Price is Right,” and “Password.”

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    1. Mary does that with Final Jeopardy, and a few times she’s been right. They have their pet subjects, like Lesotho, Samuel Pepys, and Shakespeare.

      A lot of the really old game shows, like “What’s My Line?” and “To Tell The Truth,” are on YouTube, and I think the Internet Archive has a whole bunch, too. Buzzr is a great source for oldies, like early “Family Feud”s and “The Match Game”s. So’s the Game Show Network, but we don’t have cable, so we don’t get that one.

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        1. There are also episodes of “To Tell The Truth” and “I’ve Got A Secret” out there, but “What’s My Line?” was a real classic. The panelists were really sharp, particularly Bennett Cerf and Dorothy Kilgallen. Usually one or the other could figure out what the person’s profession was.

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  2. It’s such an interesting study to see how money-driven choices shape our world, and it seems so clear to see this via our broadcast entertainment. I’ve been thinking about how things might shift if we could move away from confrontational reaction-driven “talk” shows to something that actually supports critical thinking.

    Some years ago I saw a television special that highlighted a number of quiz shows from the 50/60s and it was weirdly compelling.

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    1. Like it or not, money’s a reality. At the same time, it’s apparent that programming decisions are being made by the accountants and MBA’s, who are less concerned with the quality of the programming and more concerned with filling 168 hours a week as cheaply as possible, and why we end up with three NCIS’s, four Law & Orders, four CSI’s etc. and hundreds of copycat shows. It doesn’t help that, in addition to ten local channels, there are now hundreds of cable channels catering to every whim and fancy. The local stations can’t compete with the cable networks’ ability to snap up all the quality content (and just because a channel owns the rights to show something doesn’t mean that they will), so they’re forced to make do with what they can get.

      We have a local channel who mostly runs religious content, but in the evenings shows programs that are so old they’ve entered public domain. There are days that’s the best thing on during prime time.

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  3. I thought you were going to talk about the film directed by Robert Redford:) game shows took a hit after that scandal but rebounded in the 70s and I was a big watcher then. I so watch FMily Feud a bit now and I used to love Match Game which they brought back with Alec Baldwin. They brought back the pyramid but now it is $100,000 but I can’t stand Michael Strathan. In the 70s there was a Canadian show called This is the Law which was fun to watch.

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    1. I think Alec Baldwin is damaged goods now since the incident with his daughter. We tried watching him in “The Match Game” and were unimpressed, not just with him but with the whole production. It might just be that we associate the show so strongly with Gene Rayburn, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Richard Dawson, just as attempts to bring back “Password” without Allen Ludden fall flat. Donny Osmond hosted “Pyramid” for a while, and he was actually pretty good.

      One time, a station in Chicago tried showing a game show that was produced in Canada where people had to answer questions based on stories that had been in The Globe and Mail. It didn’t last long…

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    1. One of these days, the TV in the living room (which is about 15 years old and is one of the last made with a picture tube) is going to go, and we might decide not to replace it. I have a small one in my office that I suppose we could use…

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  4. Hi John – some people still love them … personally I really don’t enjoy them – once in a while … cheers Hilary

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    1. They could come up with some doozies sometimes. In Chicago during baseball season, all the Cubs home games were on in the afternoon, and even the White Sox played about a third of their games in the afternoons, so there was usually a ballgame on in the afternoon during the summer. Of course, we were told to go out and not come home until dinner, so it didn’t make much of a difference…

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  5. Years ago I loved watching Hollywood Squares because Paul Lynde always made me laugh. And when my daughter was a teenager, we used to watch Price is Right during her summer breaks.. Nowadays I rarely see game shows unless I am too sick to do anything except surf channels.

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  6. I love Jeopardy. One of my high school friends became a Jeopardy champion (one game) and I was so thrilled to see her. I broke my leg (6th grade) three days before we were taken on a school trip to see Concentration. Well, I’m dating myself but I loved the game shows of the early and mid 1960’s especially To Tell the Truth What’s My Line and I’ve Got a Secret. And, the original Jeopardy with Art Fleming (that one I did sit in the audience for, once).

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  7. I didn’t know any of those shows were still around, and you’re right – the target audience is a dying breed. Not that a household manager isn’t still needed, but we tend to be spending time on YouTube videos and Pinterest rather than quiz shows. I find the trivia is too pop-culture now, and the price isn’t right (at least in my neighborhood) to be relevant. Much more interesting learning how to paint a wall or create those darling treats with strawberries and Oreo halves.
    Maybe that’s just me.

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  8. Well, as far as game shows I use to love to watch that… I’ll take name that tune for $40 Alex (I think that’s what his name was), and I use to watch the Price is Right… and the infamous HOLLYWOOD SQUARES! That was too funny! Have a great day my friend! hugs

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  9. The landscape of televisions is changing as we consume content in different ways now. We just started playing the HQ App on our phones. A great trivia app with a chance to win prizes. It’s a lot of fun although we haven’t gotten them all right yet. They throw a few easy ones at you in the beginning and then it gets a lot harder. Weekends In Maine

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  10. I used to watch pretty much all the game shows. I don’t know how I did between going to school, and later on having a job, but I did. Some of my favorites were Concentration and Password (we had the home games of these, too). Didn’t Groucho Marx have a game show? We used to watch that one a lot, I think. 🙂

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  11. Up until this month, B and I watched the Family Feud with Steve Harvey every Mon-Fri 5 to 5:30 and 5:30 to 6. Now we use that time slot for re-runs of the Office. I enjoyed watching most of the ones you named but now there are too many shows and too little time 🙂

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