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GSN's 50 Greatest Game Shows
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Bob Morris



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2883
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 1:54 pm    Post subject: GSN's 50 Greatest Game Shows Reply with quote

They aired specials during the past few weeks. Here's the top 50:

50. 3's A Crowd
49. The New Treasure Hunt
48. Blockbusters
47. Studs
46. Hollywood Showdown
45. Show 'Til You Drop
44. Truth or Consequences
43. Tattletales
42. Queen For A Day
41. The $1.98 Beauty Show
40. Twenty-One
39. G.E. College Bowl
38. Whammy! the All-New Press Your Luck
37. Greed
36. Remote Control
35. Beat the Clock
34. Sale of the Century
33. Dog Eat Dog
32. Tic Tac Dough
31. You Bet Your Life
30. Card Sharks
29. Scrabble
28. The $64,000 Question
27. Win Ben Stein's Money
26. Deal or No Deal
25. Password Plus
24. Win, Lose or Draw
23. The Joker's Wild
22. The Weakest Link
21. I'Ve Got A Secret
20. Concentration
19. To Tell The Truth
18. Love Connection
17. Name That Tune
16. Lingo
15. Password
14. What's My Line
13. Press Your Luck
12. the Gong Show
11. Hollywood Squares
10. the Dating Game
9. the Newlywed Game
8. $25,000 Pyramid
7. Let's Make A Deal
6. Wheel of Fortune
5. Who Wants To Be A Millionarie
4. The Price Is Right
3. Family Feud
2. Jeopardy
1. Match Game

As much as people may fondly remember Match Game, Price Is Right should have been No. 1. That game show has been able to hold its appeal for many years, whereas Match Game ulitmately lost its appeal.

I won't argue Bob Barker is part of the reason PiR has been able to stand the test of time, but the fact it's just kept going for so long really makes it the top game show ever.

Jeopardy at No. 2 is fine, since it's been able to make a strong comeback. Wheel of Fortune probably should be No. 3, and then I'd have Match Game at 4 and Family Feud at 5.
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Frank_Jewett
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1282

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the greatest game shows ever was "The Crystal Maze" hosted by "Rocky Horror Picture Show" writer and star Richard O'Brien (Riff Raff). A team of contestants worked their way through four different zones with Aztec, Futuristic, Medieval, and Underwater motifs. In each zone the team leader would select a team member for a physical, mental, or skill challenge. That team member would then go into a room and try to complete the challenge to win a crystal. If time ran out, that team member would be locked in the room unless the team payed a ransom of one crystal. At the end the team would get five seconds per crystal to try to catch flying tokens inside a plexiglass geodesic dome. I'm surprised this show hasn't been reprised here in the US as the motif offers easy tie-ins to lucrative home video games.

Frank
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jdw
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Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 17105

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:31 pm    Post subject: Re: GSN's 50 Greatest Game Shows Reply with quote

Bob Morris wrote:
Jeopardy at No. 2 is fine, since it's been able to make a strong comeback. Wheel of Fortune probably should be No. 3, and then I'd have Match Game at 4 and Family Feud at 5.


I'd go with Jeopardy as the easy #1:

(i) it's the longtime defender of the "brains" over "goofiness" side of game shows

(ii) despite being brains and done "straight", it has been wildly popular. Part of that is no doubt the Wheel of Fortune lead in. On the other hand, we all know that strong lead ins don't mean a show is a lock to hold those ratings. Jeopardy does, and seems to have a chunk of its own fanbase.

(iii) daytime popularity with Art Fleming for more than a decade (10+ years), and primetime popularity with Alex Trebek (20+ years).

I don't disagree that Price is Right should rate high. The version that people are familar with is really a 1972 to the present version with Barker. The earlier Bill Cullen version actually was a Top 10 Primetime show for several years. Cullen has got to be the most underrated gameshow host of all-time.

But...

Price is Right is a pretty much a low end thinking game show - not a lot of brains involved. And on the "goofy" scale, it's way behind it's rival Let's Make a Deal.

I don't know where I'd rate it. Top 10, no doubt. But not at #1.


John
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DavidInNYC



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 1:49 pm    Post subject: Re: GSN's 50 Greatest Game Shows Reply with quote

Bob Morris wrote:
They aired specials during the past few weeks. Here's the top 50:

11. Hollywood Squares
10. the Dating Game
9. the Newlywed Game
8. $25,000 Pyramid
7. Let's Make A Deal
6. Wheel of Fortune
5. Who Wants To Be A Millionarie
4. The Price Is Right
3. Family Feud
2. Jeopardy
1. Match Game

As much as people may fondly remember Match Game, Price Is Right should have been No. 1. That game show has been able to hold its appeal for many years, whereas Match Game ulitmately lost its appeal.

I won't argue Bob Barker is part of the reason PiR has been able to stand the test of time, but the fact it's just kept going for so long really makes it the top game show ever.

Jeopardy at No. 2 is fine, since it's been able to make a strong comeback. Wheel of Fortune probably should be No. 3, and then I'd have Match Game at 4 and Family Feud at 5.


Hollywood Squares should be in the top 5. Like Match Game, I can watch old episodes and still enjoy them. The newer versions aren't as good, because Whoopi Goldberg isn't as funny as Paul Lynde or Charles Nelson Reilly. Being a ham isn't enough, you have to also be entertaining.

Price is Right lasted a long time, but it's never been the most popular game show. While its longevity should be celebrated, it really doesn't deserve a spot in the top 5.

But, shouldn't Survivor and the Amazing Race be included?
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DavidInNYC



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank_Jewett wrote:
I'm surprised this show hasn't been reprised here in the US as the motif offers easy tie-ins to lucrative home video games.

Frank


It'd make for one hell of a "Amazing Race" type show.
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Bob Morris



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2883
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding Survivor and Amazing Race, they have always been categorized as "reality TV shows." They do have game show elements to them, but they aren't thought of as such.

I know the forum where I found the list had an arguement that you can still watch an episode of Match Game from way back when and it's still funny, but game shows aren't exactly like other TV shows. I wouldn't compare any game show to, for example, a classic TV show aired in prime time such as I Love Lucy or MASH.

Price Is Right may not have always been the undisputed No. 1 game show in terms of popularity, but the fact it has lasted so long means it deserves a spot near the top. It has been able to keep introducing new "games within the game" and new concepts to stay relatively fresh. And although Barker is the main drawing card, I'm sure you will find plenty of longtime fans of the show who miss Johnny Olson.

I agree with John's remarks about Jeopardy, which is why I had it No. 2 as well. Looking at the list of the top 50, there are a few which had a "brain power" element to them, but not at the level Jeopardy has.
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Frank_Jewett
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think "Match Game" did well because it appealed to the right generation of voters. Fifteen years earlier, "Hollywood Squares" might have finished on top of a poll like this.

To me, "Squares" was a seventies show the featured a lot of fifties and sixties celebrities and comics like Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie from "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and George Gobel. "Match Game" had a more contemporary feel, even though many of the celebrities appeared to have earned their celebrity status mainly through their appearances on "Match Game." Charles Nelson Reilly once said "When I die, it's going to read, 'Game Show Fixture Passes Away'. Nothing about the theater, or Tony Awards, or Emmys. But it doesn't bother me."

To me, "Match Game" is still watchable today, though mainly as a spoof of the period it reflects and the game show genre in general. It's like an "Austin Powers" that once took itself seriously... well, sort of. I think Gene and his celebrities knew they just making "popcorn tv", but they didn't give away that they were smarter than the dumb jokes they were cracking.

The humor on Hollywood Squares, like Demond Wilson (Lamont from "Sanford and Son") being asked questions about the dietary value of watermelon or fried chicken, hasn't aged well at all. Vaudeville comics like Maury Amsterdam and Rose Marie were already badly out of date by the seventies. I can't see anyone suffering their schtick without the payoff of a young Mary Tyler Moore to hold their interest.

"You Bet Your Life" got shafted. It isn't terribly funny to watch Groucho Marx humiliate unsophisticated, unsuspecting contestants, though the same dynamic drove "The Weakest Link" and many other shows, but the show should have scored higher for historical significance. Most modern wrestling fans don't identify with the slower style of Thesz and Gagne from the fifties, but they were bigger stars than Savage and Michaels.

More impact: "You Bet Your Life" or "$25,000 Pyramid?"

By the way, how many people remember the old "Wheel of Fortune" where most contestants would spend their money on whatever crap they could afford from the "showcase" and get the rest on a gift certificate? It really brought the show down to see people spending $48 for an ottoman and $15 for a pair of bookends. Those seasons should be preserved as a study in bad seventies consumerism.

Frank
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Jeremy Billones



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 523
Location: Alexandria, VA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Morris wrote:
Regarding Survivor and Amazing Race, they have always been categorized as "reality TV shows." They do have game show elements to them, but they aren't thought of as such.


A rhetorical trick that always amazed me. There are many Reality TV
shows that aren't game shows, but several that clearly are. I believe
The Amazing Race keeps winning the Emmy -- even in down years like
last year -- because it has never forgotten that.
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DavidInNYC



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Morris wrote:
Regarding Survivor and Amazing Race, they have always been categorized as "reality TV shows." They do have game show elements to them, but they aren't thought of as such.


Which is just silly, since they aren't reality tv shows. The only thing "real" about them, is that they star people that aren't actors. Which Games Shows do as well. That the producer doesn't call it a game show doesn't stop the fact that they are in fact, game shows. GSN shows the Amazing Race and if they could, I'd bet they'd love to show Survivor too.

They got contestants performing games to win prizes and ultimately the big jackpot.

If it walks like a duck..... ;)

Bob Morris wrote:
Price Is Right may not have always been the undisputed No. 1 game show in terms of popularity, but the fact it has lasted so long means it deserves a spot near the top. It has been able to keep introducing new "games within the game" and new concepts to stay relatively fresh. And although Barker is the main drawing card, I'm sure you will find plenty of longtime fans of the show who miss Johnny Olson.

I agree with John's remarks about Jeopardy, which is why I had it No. 2 as well. Looking at the list of the top 50, there are a few which had a "brain power" element to them, but not at the level Jeopardy has.


Regarding "The Price is Right," I don't dispute it's longevity or the appeal it must have with it's fans. But, something being on for a very long time doesn't equal quality, which a "top" list would suggest. A more clever and/or entertaining should be higher, no matter how long it was on.

Would you have "The Price is Right" on a list of the 50 greatest shows on TV? Would it's longevity have any impact on such a list?

BTW, I've actually started watching "Match Game" again thanks to you. And, it is still very entertaining. ;)
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DavidInNYC



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank_Jewett wrote:
To me, "Match Game" is still watchable today, though mainly as a spoof of the period it reflects and the game show genre in general. It's like an "Austin Powers" that once took itself seriously... well, sort of. I think Gene and his celebrities knew they just making "popcorn tv", but they didn't give away that they were smarter than the dumb jokes they were cracking.


I forgot that the audience and the celebrities would actually boo and/or make fun of another celebrity if they gave an awful answer.

Frank_Jewett wrote:
The humor on Hollywood Squares, like Demond Wilson (Lamont from "Sanford and Son") being asked questions about the dietary value of watermelon or fried chicken, hasn't aged well at all.


That could explain why the show isn't on TV. I hadn't actually seen an entire episode since I was a kid. The only thing I ever see are clips of acts like Paul Lynde, the Smothers Brothers, etc. and I always find these hilarious.

Frank_Jewett wrote:
More impact: "You Bet Your Life" or "$25,000 Pyramid?"

By the way, how many people remember the old "Wheel of Fortune" where most contestants would spend their money on whatever crap they could afford from the "showcase" and get the rest on a gift certificate? It really brought the show down to see people spending $48 for an ottoman and $15 for a pair of bookends. Those seasons should be preserved as a study in bad seventies consumerism.

Frank


I agree with you on "You Bet Your Life," it should be in the top 50. I do remember the crap they had to buy on "Wheel of Fortune," which continued into the eighties. It was much better with Sajak/White, because you knew it was crap they were getting and the contestants did too.
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Bob Morris



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Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding Amazing Race and Survivor, there are key differences which keep the two from being categorized as game shows.

1. The two shows mentioned are presented as episodic TV, in which the viewer feels if he or she misses one show, he or she missed something important. The other game shows on the list weren't presented as such.

There have been instances in which somebody made waves on a game show, such as the guy who figured out the patterns on Press Your Luck or the guy who had that long hot streak on Jeopardy, but these instances on rare.

2. On typical game shows, the people who are the main reason to tune in are seldom the contestants. It's usually the host, although there are exceptions, such as the panelists on Match Game.

But on Survivor and Amazing Race, the contestants take center stage. The host is typically in the background.

The contestants, essentially, become the casts of those shows.

3. On Survivor in particular, more people are going to know who the top contestants were than on most game shows. More people could tell you who the top three contestants were on Survivor's first three seasons than could tell you who the top three contestants were on the most recent seasons of Jeopardy or Price Is Right.

And that's especially true of shows like Price Is Right, in which the contestants are there for one day and fade back into anonymity.

Heck, I'm sure more people would remember the top contestants from Survivor than would remember the top contestants from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, The Weakest Link or Deal or No Deal, which have all been popular in prime time.

4. Survivor is more than just the game show element, it's about playing up the human element. On the other game shows listed, the human element was very limited and you never really got to pry into the minds of the contestants to see what they thought about each other. You get that with Survivor.

I have never watched Amazing Race, but would I be correct that the show goes beyond typical game show elements, similar to Survivor?

If that's so, then that's why it, along with Survivor, does not get tossed into the game show category. It may have game show elements, but it has other elements that set it apart from other game shows, and thus put it into a different category.
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DavidInNYC



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Morris wrote:
Regarding Amazing Race and Survivor, there are key differences which keep the two from being categorized as game shows.


All very eloquent reasons for your arguement. However, the Game Show Network shows epsisodes of the "Amazing Race," so they themselves recognize the show as a game show.
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Jeremy Billones



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Morris wrote:
Regarding Amazing Race and Survivor, there are key differences which keep the two from being categorized as game shows.

2. On typical game shows, the people who are the main reason to tune in are seldom the contestants. It's usually the host, although there are exceptions, such as the panelists on Match Game.


Funny, I thought they tuned in to watch the game. Who watches
Deal or No Deal for Howie? It's to watch the contestants, the game,
or the babes with briefcases :)

Quote:
But on Survivor and Amazing Race, the contestants take center stage. The host is typically in the background.

The contestants, essentially, become the casts of those shows.


That said, fan boards for the shows are just as interested in Jeff Probst
and Phil Keoghan [1] as many of the contestants.

Then again, nobody cares about Julie Chen :)

Quote:
4. Survivor is more than just the game show element, it's about playing up the human element. On the other game shows listed, the human element was very limited and you never really got to pry into the minds of the contestants to see what they thought about each other. You get that with Survivor.

I have never watched Amazing Race, but would I be correct that the show goes beyond typical game show elements, similar to Survivor?

If that's so, then that's why it, along with Survivor, does not get tossed into the game show category. It may have game show elements, but it has other elements that set it apart from other game shows, and thus put it into a different category.


One aspect that makes a Reality Game Show different than a
regular Game Show is that we do learn more about the contestants
than a 30 second interview with Alex right after the first commercial.

And the Amazing Race does spend some time on that -- the gimmick
of the series is that each team is a pair of people in a pre-existing
relationship, and often the quality of that relationship has a significant
effect on the performance of the teams (though teams of two twenty-
something fit men dominate when in the field). However, while Survivor
spends about 1/3 of its air time on challenges and 2/3 on tribal
social dynamics (which admittedly matter a lot, since the game is
primarily political), most of TAR's airtime is dedicated to actual racing
coverage... though in showing a team racing we see their interaction.

[1] I had to look that up. Not just to spell it, though -- everybody just
calls him Phil. (Or the Philiminator, if we're in a joking mood :)
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goodhelmet



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank_Jewett wrote:

By the way, how many people remember the old "Wheel of Fortune" where most contestants would spend their money on whatever crap they could afford from the "showcase" and get the rest on a gift certificate? It really brought the show down to see people spending $48 for an ottoman and $15 for a pair of bookends. Those seasons should be preserved as a study in bad seventies consumerism.

Frank


Man, I just remember the gigantic candy bar. I think it was Toblerone.

That was the 80s, not the 70s but the point still stands... everyone picked the candy bar.
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DavidInNYC



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

goodhelmet wrote:
Man, I just remember the gigantic candy bar. I think it was Toblerone.

That was the 80s, not the 70s but the point still stands... everyone picked the candy bar.


It was the seventies too, the show started in 1975. I believe Chuck Woolery was the host. The boards were different, but I believe you still had to buy gaudy gifts.

So your both right. :)
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