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GSN (formerly known on-air as Game Show Network) is an American cable television and direct broadcast satellite channel dedicated to game shows and casino game shows. The channel was launched on December 1, 1994. Its slogan is "Play Every Day". The network is currently available in approximately 68 million homes, and is jointly-owned by Liberty Media and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

History

1994-1997

Game Show Network started up at 7:00 PM on December 1, 1994 - its first aired game show being "Match Game '73". From 1994 to about 1997, it aired not just post-1972 game shows but aired pre-1972 classics too. Most shows were from the Mark Goodson-Bill Todman library. It aired them in a 24-hour cycle, and would also use live interstitial programming to wrap around the shows. In the first few months, GSN's commercials consisted of PSAs, GSN promos, and commercials related to Sony (their owners). Once the network became bigger, commercials were added to the network as they were able to gain sponsors.

1997-1998

From October 11, 1997 to April 18, 1998 the network's Goodson-Todman library rights expired, with the exceptions of The Price is Right (despite a lack of Goodson-Todman games, the network never aired any episodes of the 1970s syndicated version) and the 1994-1995 season of Family Feud, which were both on a separate contract.

With the other Goodson-Todman shows gone, lesser-known Sony properties such as Juvenile Jury, The Diamond Head Game, the 1976-1977 version of Break The Bank, and the Bill Cullen-hosted games Chain Reaction and Pass The Buck all found their ways onto the schedule.

Game Show Network also aired a children's game show block at this time, highlighted by Joker! Joker! Joker!, Jep!, and Wheel of Fortune 2000—adaptations of The Joker's Wild, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy!, respectively.

1998-2003

On April 18, 1998, Game Show Network bought back the rights to the Goodson-Todman library. In late 1998, GSN would eliminate all of its Live on-air talent. GSN would replace the live shows with in-show ads like Win TV.

In 1999, the network would begin a slate of original programming. These shows included Inquizition, All New 3's a Crowd, and Hollywood Showdown. They would also create unpopular originals like Extreme Gong (a remake of the classic Gong Show) and Burt Luddin's Love Buffet.

In 2000, the network would face another setback when they would lose the rights to air The Price is Right.

In 2001, the network would see a massive change in both leadership and programming. Liberty Media would acquire half of the network and change the leadership of the network. President Michael Fleming and Vice President Jake Tauber would both be fired from their positions. Former FOX Family president Rich Cronin would be the new man in charge. He and incoming vice president Bob Boden would embark on the biggest original programming slate since the network's inception.

2003-2008

In Summer 2003, Game Show Network began airing GSN Video Games, the first program to air on the network that had nothing to do with traditional game shows. Although the show - a repackaging of somewhat dated British video game review shows (mostly Gamer.tv) - was short-lived and considered a disaster, it was a sign of the network's change of format from Game Show Network's "all game shows, all the time" to what eventually became "GSN: The Network for Games".

On March 15, 2004 at 10:00 PM, GSN stopped using the name "Game Show Network" on-air and introduced the tagline "The Network for Games", a move in line with the network expanding its programming to include the genre of reality television and various other competitions. (However, the entity's corporate name remained Game Show Network, LLC.)

The newly-renamed GSN also introduced the original series World Series of Blackjack, Celebrity Blackjack, Extreme Dodgeball, Poker Royale, and the short-lived Fake-a-Date, Vegas Weddings Unveiled, and Ballbreakers. GSN also added reruns of The Mole, Average Joe, Arsenio Hall's Star Search, Kenny vs. Spenny, and Spy TV - all of which were eventually removed from the schedule (though Kenny vs. Spenny was picked up for new episodes by Comedy Central in 2007).

Traditional game shows Win Ben Stein's Money and Street Smarts were also acquired around this time and aired in various time slots, though neither was regularly programmed as of mid-March 2008.

Blackjack and Poker Royale signified the beginnings of GSN's attempts to cash in on the TV poker-craze at the time. In 2006, GSN introduced High Stakes Poker, a poker show with a private-game format among professional players, and also programmed additional series of World Series of Blackjack and a spinoff, Celebrity Blackjack. One of the most popular shows from the initial TV poker boom, the World Poker Tour, was slated to move from the Travel Channel to GSN on March 24, 2008.

Within a year after GSN's revamp, GSN has primarily began returning its focus to studio-based game shows.

2008-Present

On February 25, 2008, GSN went back into live television games by debuting a brand-new live interactive call-in show called GSN Live, hosted by actress Heidi Bohay and KNBCmarker Channel 4 Los Angelesmarker, sports anchor/director, Fred Roggin. The show was formatted to be like the old Game Show Network show Club A.M., and aired weekdays from 12pm-3pm Eastern/9am-12pm Pacific between the current GSN classic line-up. The show took calls from viewers, interviewed classic game-show hosts, took viewers behind the scenes of game shows, and played 3 interactive games during the show. People who successfully got through to the games were enabled to win anything from jewelry to GSN merchandise. In March, every contestant who got through to the show was entered to win a brand new car.

In July 2008, GSN debuted a new game show called Catch 21, a remake of the Wink Martindale-hosted game show Gambit, which combines the classic quiz show with the casino game of blackjack. Alfonso Ribeiro is the host of the new show and his co-host and dealer is Mikki Padilla; original producer Merrill Heatter will return in the same capacity. The pilot for Catch 21 (taped several years before) was called simply Casino.

In October, a second season of Bingo America premiered with former Family Feud host Richard Karn as the new host, replacing Patrick Duffy, and Diane Mizota as the co-host.

On November 6, GSN updated its logo for the first time in four and a half years since its 2004 revamp, and began using a new slogan "Play every day".

On November 10, GSN began airing the syndicated version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? hosted by Meredith Vieira.

On November 15, a new game show entitled Think Like a Cat, sponsored by Meow Mix cat food, debuted on GSN. The host is Chuck Woolery.

On April 6, 2009, a new version of The Newlywed Game premiered with former Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson as the host.

Also on April 6, 2009, the second season of Catch 21 premiered with new episodes with a new time at 6:30 PM (5:30 Central) instead of 7:30 PM (6:30 Central). Alfonso Ribeiro and Mikki Padilla both returned to their duties as host and card dealer.

On March 30, 2009, GSN removed Blockbusters, Card Sharks, Child's Play, Press Your Luck, What's My Line?, and To Tell the Truth from its lineup and was replaced by Tom Bergeron's version of Hollywood Squares, Match Game PM, Password, The $25,000 Pyramid, and The $100,000 Pyramid.

Beginning in late August 2009, Password Plus & Pyramid will no longer air on weekdays and will be replaced with Dylan Lane's Chain Reaction and Richard Karn's Family Feud.

On October 10, 2009, 20Q & The Money List removed from its weekend lineup and was replaced with Bob Saget's 1 vs 100 & Richard Karn's Family Feud.

On October 12, 2009, The Newlywed Game premieres with new episodes. Carnie Wilson returns as the host.

On October 12, 2009, the third season of Catch 21 premieres with new episodes. Alfonso Ribeiro and Mikki Padilla both returned to their duties as host and card dealer.

On November 9, 2009, Super Password will be removed from the daytime lineup and replaced with Love Connection, Super Password will continue to air only on weekends. Also, Wheel of Fortune will move from 12:30 PM to 11:30 AM, Match Game from 1:00 PM to 12:00 Noon, Tom Bergeron's Hollywood Squares returns to the daytime lineup at 1:00 PM, and Jeopardy! moves from Noon to 1:30 PM.

On November 16, 2009 GSN began airing Bingo Blitz while Deal Or No Deal is on.

On November 28, 2009 GSN removed Password, Password Plus, Super Password and Richard Dawson's Family Feud from the weekend lineup and replaced with Catch 21, Meredith Vieira's Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Whammy! and Dylan Lane's Chain Reaction. Also, Tom Bergeron's Hollywood Squares moves from 12:30PM to 9:00AM, Whammy! moves from Noon to 9:30AM, and 1 vs. 100 moves from 1:00 to Noon. Deal or No Deal airs twice each weekend, one at 1:00PM and the other at 2:00PM.

On December 7, 2009, Love Connection will be removed from the daytime lineup and replaced with Catch 21.

On December 8, 2009, I've Got a Secret returns to GSN Weekday Lineup.

On January 14, 2010, Carnie Wilson Unstapled will air on GSN.

Coupled with some of these changes is an aggressive marketing campaign; GSN sent Ribiero on a promotional tour to local television stations to promote Catch 21, while they partnered with the ABC Television Network to create Play It Again! Game Show Reunion Week, a series of one-off episodes of classic game shows for the network's morning show, Good Morning America, in exchange for promotion of the September 2008 Play It Back programming blocks, which will feature marathons of game shows from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

GSN has also been using its old name "Game Show Network" in the past year. On press releases and on their new GSN Radio, the network is referred to as "GSN, The Game Show Network".

Programming

Original programming

GSN has also produced several original series. In the channel's early days, Club A.M. was a three-hour block consisting of five classic game shows, surrounded by thirty minutes' worth of interstitial trivia, interviews with game show producers, personalities, contestants and fans, and interactive call-in games, all hosted by Laura Chambers and Steve Day (which was also rerun in late night, with some new segments, under the title Late Night Games). Prime Games was a similarly formatted show aired weeknights and hosted by Peter Tomarken. Wide World of Games was a Saturday night block of four shows built around a common theme.

After a few years, these shows were replaced by Game TV (a half-hour interview show hosted by Nancy Sullivan and Dave Nemeth), Game World (which showed highlights of current game shows from around the world), and standalone 30-minute call-in games like Super Decades and Trivia Track. Later, the channel attempted a Gong Show remake called Extreme Gong (hosted by George Gray, in which the viewers could phone in their votes as to whether to "gong" acts off the air) and Throut And Neck (where viewers controlled video game characters with their phones). The network also programmed Burt Luddin's Love Buffet, a combination of scripted scenes and a Newlywed Game-esque "game show-within-a-show". But all these efforts were eventually canceled and removed from the network's schedule.

Traditional game show offerings since 2000 have included Hollywood Showdown, All New 3's a Crowd, Mall Masters, Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck, Friend or Foe? (a game based around the Prisoner's Dilemma), Russian Roulette, WinTuition, Cram, and National Lampoon's Funny Money. The most successful GSN original game was Lingo, a Chuck Woolery-hosted revival of the 1987-1988 Canadian format in which teams guess five-letter words in a combination of Jotto/Mastermind and bingo. The network produced six seasons of the show from 2002-2007.

Originals debuting in 2006 included PlayMania, a late-night call-in game that expanded from two to (at one point) six nights per week but was cancelled on October 31, 2007; and a revival of the 1980s game Chain Reaction, which ended its run on June 9, 2007. That's the Question, Starface, and a revival of I've Got a Secret also debuted in 2006. Debuting in July 2007 were Camouflage, remade as a word game, and Without Prejudice?, a remake of a British show where five people decide which contestant would win $25,000 based in part on their responses to questioning. Debuting on August 4, 2007 was Grand Slam, a game show involving big winners from other shows, including Ken Jennings, John Carpenter, and Brad Rutter.

For 2008, a US version of a BBC game called How Much Is Enough? debuted on January 8, hosted by actor Corbin Bernsen, and then in April, Bingo America made its debut with Patrick Duffy of Dallasmarker and Step by Step fame as host. On July 21, as somewhat of a tie-in with the movie 21, Merrill Heatter returned to game-show producing with Catch 21 (a revival of the 1970s game Gambit) hosted by actor-singer-dancer Alfonso Ribeiro with actress Mikki Padilla as the dealer. GSN also relaunched a live interactive call-in interstitial series by premiering GSN Live, which airs during commercial breaks between 12 PM and 6 PM Eastern Monday through Friday. Originally the series took place over a three-hour span, with KNBCmarker sports anchor and NBC Sports contributor Fred Roggin and actress Heidi Bohay hosting the interstitial segments. Later in the year GSN expanded the series to the six hours it has now, with Roggin moving to the 3 PM to 6 PM block with Kelly Packard while Alfonso Ribeiro replaced him earlier in the day. Packard was forced to leave her position shortly after taking it, and Roggin has hosted with a guest host until May 15, 2009 when Debra Skelton was chosen to be a permanent co-host as of May 26. Roggin was forced to leave GSN Live on July 2, 2009 in order to concentrate on his new game show The Money List. Alfonso was forced to leave GSN Live on August 11, 2009 in order to concentrate his new job, as well as Catch 21.

Also in 2009, The Newlywed Game returned to the air on GSN, this time with Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson as host. In June, GSN premiered its Big Saturday Night live interactive show block, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key of MADtv, Ross Matthews of The Tonight Show, and Charissa Thompson of Fox Sports. The three-hour block features a variety of games, such as identifying pictures. Included in the block are 20Q, hosted by Cat Deeley of So You Think You Can Dance and featuring the voice of actor-comedian Hal Sparks as "Mr. Q"; and The Money List, hosted by Fred Roggin of GSN Live.

Specials

The network has run blocks of classic game shows on Saturday nights, and for the first few months of 2006 programmed back-to-back episodes of Match Game in a block billed as That '70s Hour (a pun on That '70s Show), which showed the original production slate before each episode as well as Match Game trivia and brief clips of an interview with host Gene Rayburn produced shortly before his death. Although production slates had been aired by the network prior to this, "That '70s Hour" was the first time the network intentionally did so.

During the Summer of 2006, the network began a special seven-week run of The 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time.

In November 2006, GSN started a series of eight documentaries about game shows, beginning with a program on Match Game titled Behind The Blank. Other subjects included game show producer Chuck Barris, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, a "Top Ten" countdown of game show hosts, memorable game show moments, women who have featured prominently on game shows, celebrities and how they impacted game shows, and an insider's guide to winning on a TV game show.

One particularly interesting subject was the installments of Press Your Luck in which Michael Larson won more than $100,000 in cash and prizes by memorizing the sequences of the board then used, which was the subject of Big Bucks: The "Press Your Luck" Scandal. Peter Tomarken, who had hosted Press Your Luck, hosted and narrated this documentary in 2003. The documentary became Game Show Network's most watched show ever (a title it still holds) scoring a 1.7 at one time during the show.

In 2007, the network debuted two new specials: the National Vocabulary Championship, with a show airing on April 15, 2007 showcasing the first year of the event, and a broadcast of the Cat Fanciers' Association International Cat Show, Catminster.

In November 2008, GSN and Meow Mix presented a special entitled Think Like a Cat, hosted by Chuck Woolery, with a top prize of $1,000,000, one of the few times a game show on cable TV has had that amount as a grand prize.

Syndicated programming

GSN's rerun programming comes primarily from two sources: FremantleMedia and GSN parent company Sony.

From Fremantle, the network licenses Match Game (all except 1983-1984 and 1998-1999), Family Feud (all except the 1994-1995 and 1999-2002 seasons), and Password (all except Million-Dollar Password). Until March 2009, GSN licensed the entire Mark Goodson-Bill Todman library.

In the network's infancy, GSN regularly showcased vintage Goodson-Todman game and panel shows from the 1950s and 1960s, many of which were either originally broadcast or only preserved in black-and-white - such as What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth, Beat the Clock, and others. These classic shows made up much of the channel's lineup at the outset, but have been gradually cut back in prominence since the late 1990s. On October 1, 2006, only What's My Line? had a regular spot on the schedule, late Sunday/early Monday at 3:00 AM Eastern; it was followed by a selection from various 1950s-1970s Goodson-Todman shows, usually another panel game. On December 31, GSN reinstated the Black and White Overnight to 7 days a week at 3am-4am, showcasing What's My Line? and I've Got a Secret in the block; other shows, including Choose Up Sides, The Name's the Same, and the Bud Collyer-hosted primetime version of To Tell the Truth have been featured, with the latter currently airing following What's My Line?. GSN cancelled Black and White Overnight, effective March 31, 2009.

GSN, in addition to its Goodson-Todman library, features shows from other companies:

Other Sony programming includes The Newlywed Game, Tic-Tac-Dough, Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune.

In October 2003, GSN acquired the rerun rights to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (from Disney-ABC Domestic Television) and have added more episodes since, including the Super Millionaire spin-off in Spring 2005 and the Meredith Vieira-hosted syndicated series in Fall 2008.

Among the most well-known classic game shows previously aired regularly on the network, other than Price - The Joker's Wild, Tattletales, Hollywood Squares, The Dating Game, and various versions of Pyramid. Some of these shows still continued to be aired occasionally as part of special events, such as Dick Clark's Pyramid in honor of New Year's Rockin' Eve on December 31.

The Price Is Right

The Price Is Right, Goodson-Todman's longest-running game show, did not appear on GSN until December 1996. Episodes that featured fur coats or other animal-related prizes were not aired, following Bob Barker's animal-rights wishes. The show's GSN premiere was delayed almost two years in order to remove such episodes from the rotation. The show originally appeared on GSN in occasional preemptions of regularly scheduled series such as Match Game or Family Feud and earned a regular spot just ten months before the network's "Dark Period".

Various versions of the show were broadcast, specifically those hosted by Barker, Bill Cullen, and Tom Kennedy (plus one episode sub-hosted by 1972-1977 nighttime host Dennis James, aired on the day of his death in 1997). In December 1996, Price began airing regularly on the schedule, with half-hour Barker shows in the morning and hour-long episodes in the afternoon and evening, Kennedy shows in late-night and the Cullen version as part of what was then billed as "Sentimental Sunday". No episodes from either the 1972-1980 syndicated version aired during this time, mostly due to Barker's fur ban. Additionally, no episodes from the 1994 Doug Davidson-hosted version aired on GSN.

GSN's contract to air Price expired in April 2000 and has not been renewed since. Most Price reruns are held not entirely by FremantleMedia, but also through CBS Television Distribution, as CBS currently licenses the American Price franchise from Fremantle. GSN would have to pay royalties to both CBS and Fremantle to gain the rights to the show.

See also



Notes

  1. GSN Rewards Viewers With New Opportunities to Win With "GSN LIVE" Weekdays Beginning Monday, Feb. 25


External links




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