With Labor Day less than two weeks away, let's take another look at the fall lineup of five-day-a-week shows.
September 4 - Final episodes of Merv Griffin's Crosswords and Trivial Pursuit: America Plays
September 7 (Labor Day) - Season premieres of Millionaire, Family Feud (with a revised format), and Deal Or No Deal (now taped in Connecticut)
September 14 - Season premieres of Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy
September 21 - Five-day-a-week premiere of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?; season premiere of The Price Is Right; The Price Is Right reruns replace Guiding Light
October 5 - Let's Make A Deal returns, replacing The Price Is Right rerun slot
So, what do I think about all this? What are the chances of these shows surviving? I'll tell you what I think. Right now, we have eight five-day-a-week shows. I'm starting to wonder if by September 2010, that number will be down to four.
Think about it. Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy certainly aren't going anywhere, and while I seriously believe that The Price Is Right needs a rest, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one. Those three (the gold standards) are fine. Family Feud - let's face it, the revised format with the returning Bullseye round was a stroke of genius on Fremantle's part. It allows them to advertise a $30,000 jackpot without ever having to give it away. That show probably isn't going anywhere either.
Then comes Millionaire. A few days ago, I would have said Millionaire would be just fine. However, the news has come out that in November, Millionaire will have a Tournament Of Champions that, while not guaranteeing a $1,000,000 payoff to the winner, will make it much more likely. If they have to do that, it means they're as desperate as Deal Or No Deal...a show that seems to be waning itself, as the move to Connecticut proves. Considering that Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? was a hit in primetime for about a month, I somehow can't see it lasting five days a week. As for Let's Make A Deal, I'm an obsessed game show fan, so I know about the history of this show and its many successful runs with Monty Hall, but I have this vision of "the average viewer" watching the show and saying "What's this? The joint offspring of Deal Or No Deal and The Price Is Right, hosted by Wayne Brady?"
That's what I think. I could be totally wrong. For all I know, Let's Make A Deal could lead to a rush of new network daytime game shows - but if Deal Or No Deal and Let's Make A Deal are canceled around the same time, I get dibs on the headline "Done Deal...Both Of Them."