There’s no sports. Most scripted shows, including Pilots intended for the Fall, are on hold. And live events, such as awards shows and competition series like “American Idol”, are in limbo. What can television resort to during this pandemic period?
The Answer: Game Shows.
TV networks and channels have already taped a heaping of game show episodes in advance, and they’re just waiting to be aired.
Let’s start with good ol’ Game Show Network. Their new series “Master Minds”, a revised version of last year’s “Best Ever Trivia Show” with new host Brooke Burns, premieres Monday April 6th at 4pm with new episodes likely expected to air every weekday for three months. In their marketing, GSN has also highlighted some tweets and videos of people in their homes now taking game shows as seriously as major sporting events.
More in Daytime: while “Wheel of Fortune”, “Jeopardy!”, “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud” have shut down production, they should have several weeks worth of episodes to air. However, they could be more spread out than initially anticipated. This week, “Wheel” is airing re-runs. The show may be saving some of the new episodes for later in April and May.
As for “Let’s Make a Deal” on CBS, It seems like they’re all good to go for the rest of the TV season. Emmy-winning host Wayne Brady told me back in October, “We tape all of the year’s shows in about four-and-a-half to five months.”
Switching to Primetime: NBC has brought back the Chris Hardwick-hosted “The Wall” for a new season on Sunday nights. After airing a new episode on March 15th at 7pm to 3.2 million viewers, the network moved the show to 8pm on the 22nd, and the ratings went up to 3.6 million viewers. I’d be surprised if there were fewer than 10 episodes in the pack, so this will become a Sunday night staple for a while.
And then there’s a little show you might’ve heard of that’s making a big comeback. The highly anticipated celebrity revival of “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?” with host Jimmy Kimmel debuts on ABC Wednesday April 8th at 10pm. The network is currently running a promo of Kimmel with the man who started it all, Regis Philbin. Clips with celebrity contestants Jane Fonda, Anthony Anderson, Eric Stonestreet and Will Forte are also briefly shown.
ABC was intending on having this be an 8-episode event. At this point, it’s unclear if “Millionaire” will have that many episodes. The ones with those four celebrities were taped, without live in-studio audiences, just before Hollywood shut down. But we could see this at least go through the end of April and/or the episodes could be re-run multiple times. [I could see Friday or Saturday night re-runs at 8pm since these episodes are initially airing at 10pm.]
And to kick off “Millionaire”’s return, ABC will air a behind-the-scenes “Secrets & Surprises” special on Monday April 6th at 10pm. No word yet if Philbin will be interviewed during it, but I’m hoping that’s the case.
And ABC should also be gearing-up for a big “Summer Fun & Games” with already recorded new episodes of Steve Harvey’s “Celebrity Family Feud”, “Press Your Luck” with Elizabeth Banks and more… including “Match Game”. That’s right, the episode of the Alec Baldwin-hosted game show that I attended in-person on June 12th of last year STILL hasn’t aired yet! Let’s go, ABC – it’s time!