Game Show Network
Game Show Network (GSN) is an American digital cable and satellite television channel that is owned as a joint venture between Sony Pictures Television (owning a controlling 58% interest) and AT&T Entertainment Group (holding a 42% ownership stake).
|Game Show Network|
|Launched||December 1, 1994|
|Owned by||Game Show Network, LLC (Sony Pictures Television) (58%)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
|Slogan||Ready To Play?|
|Broadcast area||United States
|Headquarters||Santa Monica, California, U.S.|
|Sister channel(s)||Via Sony Pictures:
Sony Movie Channel
Cine Sony Television
Sony Entertainment Television
More Than Movies
True Movies 1
True Movies 2
|Dish Network||116 (HD/SD)|
|Bell TV (Canada)||639|
|Shaw Direct (Canada)||177 / 549|
|C-Band - H2H/4DTV||AMC 18 - 205|
|Available on many U.S. and Canadian cable providers||Check local cable listings, channels may vary|
|Verizon FiOS||684 (HD)
|AT&T U-Verse||1173 (HD)
|Bell Fibe TV (Canada)||639|
|Zazeen (Canada)||109 (HD)|
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
The channel's programming is primarily dedicated to game shows, including reruns of classic game shows, along with new, first-run original and revived game shows. For a period in the mid-2000s, Game Show Network began branching out into "games" in general, including reality competition series and televised poker shows.
GSN is available to 79.0 million households in America as of January 2016.
1992–1994: Pre-launch: Game Show ChannelEdit
On May 7, 1992, Sony Pictures Entertainment joined forces with the United Video Satellite Group to launch Game Show Channel, which was set to launch in 1993. The announcement of the channel was made by SPE president Mel Harris. Sony Pictures' holdings included those by Merv Griffin Enterprises and Barris Industries, Inc. SPE was in competition with The Family Channel in launching a game show-oriented channel when The Family Channel announced the launch of its own service called Game Channel.
On December 2, 1992, Sony Pictures Entertainment made a deal to acquire the Barry & Enright game show library, and in a separate deal, struck a 10-year licensing agreement for the rights to the Mark Goodson game show library of more than 20,000 episodes including among others, What's My Line?, Family Feud and To Tell the Truth. Upon the deal, Sony said it would sell an equity stake in the network to Mark Goodson Productions, including the production of new original series by Jonathan Goodson Productions. Both deals were completed on December 7, 1992, eleven days before Mark Goodson's death. On June 6, 1994, Mark Goodson Productions pulled out of the venture.
1994–1997: Game Show NetworkEdit
Game Show Network launched at 7:00 p.m. ET on December 1, 1994. The first aired game show was What's My Line?.[a] From 1994 until about 1997, the network aired classic pre-1972 game shows as well as game shows made after 1972, most of which came from the Mark Goodson–Bill Todman library. The network aired game shows in a 24-hour cycle, and also used live interstitials as wraparound programming. In its first few months, GSN's commercials consisted of public service announcements (PSAs), promotions for its programming and commercials related to network parent company Sony. By 1995, when the network began to expand, the network began accepting conventional advertising as it gained new sponsorships. On March 17, 1997, the Game Show Network rebranded with a new presentation package and a new logo (which had the network's name in boxes and a colorful swirling ball) and a new slogan "All Play, All Day". While the logo changed, its programming remained unchanged, the network also debuted new promos and new idents on that day, which were designed by graphics agency Lee Hunt Associates.
On October 11, 1997, the network's rights to the Goodson-Todman library expired, with the exceptions of The Price Is Right and the 1994–95 season of Family Feud (the only season in the second Richard Dawson era), which were both allowed to continue airing on the channel on a separate contract. This period lasted until April 18, 1998.
With the other Goodson-Todman shows gone, lesser-known Sony properties such as Juvenile Jury, The Diamond Head Game, the 1976–77 version of Break the Bank, and the Bill Cullen-hosted games Chain Reaction and Pass the Buck all found their way onto the schedule. Shows from Chuck Barris also aired during this time, including The Newlywed Game, The Dating Game, The Gong Show, Treasure Hunt and 3's a Crowd.
Game Show Network also aired a children's game show block at this time, highlighted by Joker! Joker! Joker!, Jep!, and Wheel 2000 – the respective adaptations of The Joker's Wild, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
On April 18, 1998, Game Show Network bought back the rights to the Goodson-Todman library. In late 1998, GSN eliminated all of its live programming, replacing them with in-show advertisements like Win TV. In 1999, the network began a slate of original programming, including Inquizition, All New 3's a Crowd and Hollywood Showdown. The channel also launched original shows such as Extreme Gong (a remake of the classic Gong Show). In 2000, the network faced another setback when GSN lost the rights to broadcast The Price Is Right, with the last episode airing on April 3 of that year.
In 2001, a massive change in both leadership and programming at the network took place. Liberty Media acquired a 50% stake in the network and changed its leadership. President Michael Fleming and vice president Jake Tauber were both fired and former Fox Family Channel president Rich Cronin were hired to head the network. He and incoming vice president Bob Boden began the biggest original programming venture since the network's inception, launching Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck, Friend or Foe?, Russian Roulette, Lingo, WinTuition and Cram. In addition, in the fall of 2001, the network acquired the rights to air the classic Press Your Luck (excluding the Michael Larson episodes, due to pressure from CBS; this angered many fans, resulting in CBS eventually giving Game Show Network the rights to the Larson episodes, airing them in a separate package, as well as in conjunction with the documentary Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal).
In the fall of 2003, Game Show Network picked up the rights to the ABC version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire with Regis Philbin, and in December, 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, 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". Its last program using Game Show Network was Lingo.
On March 15, 2004, Game Show Network began using the abbreviation "GSN" 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. GSN also introduced the original series at 10 p.m. weekdays, World Series of Blackjack, National Lampoon's Greek Games, Kenny vs. Spenny (a Canadian import) and the short-lived Fake-a-Date, a find-a-mate program with host Evan Marriott, the original Joe Millionaire. GSN also added reruns of The Mole and Spy TV.
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 aired additional series 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 of GSN's revamp, it began returning its focus primarily to studio-based game shows.
On February 25, 2008, GSN returned to live television games and debuted GSN Live, a live interactive call-in show, hosted by Heidi Bohay and Fred Roggin. The show was similar in format to a former Game Show Network program, Club A.M., and aired weekdays from 12 to 3 p.m. ET during breaks between the programming line-up at the time. The show featured calls from viewers, interviews with classic game show hosts and behind-the-scenes features of game shows. At three separate points in each day, interactive games were played with at-home contestants. Contestants could win anything from jewelry to GSN merchandise, or during month-long contests, a new car or a hot tub.
In March 2011, DirecTV (which by this point had taken over Liberty Media's stake in the network, which had increased to 65%) sold a 5% stake in the network back to Sony Pictures Entertainment; although DirecTV nominally remained the majority owner, it had ceded control of the network to Sony, and has the right to force Sony to increase its stake in GSN to 58%.
On August 23, 2012, GSN debuted The American Bible Challenge hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, which became the channel's most popular program of all time, with the series premiere being watched by two million viewers. On September 3, 2012, GSN debuted a revival of The $25,000 Pyramid, called The Pyramid hosted by Mike Richards. On November 8, 2012, DirecTV sold an 18% interest in GSN to Sony.
GSN has also produced several original series. In the channel's early days, GSN aired a three-hour block called Club A.M., 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 (hosted by Rebecca Grant) (where viewers controlled video game characters with their phones). But all these efforts were eventually canceled and removed from the network's schedule.
Traditional game show offerings since 2000 have included Hollywood Showdown, Inquizition, All New 3's a Crowd, Mall Masters, Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck, Friend or Foe? (a game based on the Prisoner's Dilemma), Russian Roulette, WinTuition, Cram, National Lampoon's Funny Money and Lingo (a Chuck Woolery-hosted revival of the 1987–88 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 to 2007.
Originals debuting in 2006 included PlayMania, a late night call-in game that expanded from two to (at one point) six nights a week continuing until 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 U.S. version of a BBC game show 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 Dallas and Step by Step fame as host. On July 21, as something 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 Alfonso Ribeiro with actress Mikki Padilla as the dealer. GSN also relaunched a live interactive call-in interstitial series, this time known as GSN Live, which aired during commercial breaks between 12 PM and 6 PM Eastern Monday through Friday. Originally the series took place over a three-hour span, with KNBC 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 six hours, 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 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 on hosting Catch 21. GSN Live itself ended in July 2011.
Also in 2009, The Newlywed Game returned to the air on GSN, this time with Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson as host. On June 13, GSN premiered its Big Saturday Night live interactive show block, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key, Ross Matthews and Charissa Thompson. 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. A hidden camera series, Instant Recall, hosted by game show icon Wink Martindale, premiered on March 4, 2010. A revival of 1 vs. 100, hosted by Carrie Ann Inaba, aired in 2010.
On November 18, 2010, Game Show Network announced that Drew Carey would host a new improvisational comedy show entitled Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza in the Spring of 2011. The shows were filmed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in January and February 2011. The show lasted forty episodes before being canceled due to low ratings.
In the fall of 2012, GSN premiered a new revival titled The Pyramid, with The Price Is Right producer Mike Richards hosting. The American Bible Challenge with Jeff Foxworthy became the channel's most popular program of all time, with the series premiere being watched by two million viewers.
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 hosted by Chuck Woolery, each 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 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 at the time scoring a 1.7 at one point during the show. Originally, CBS, the original broadcaster of Press Your Luck, did not want GSN to air the Larson episodes. However, this angered many fans, causing CBS to allow Game Show Network to air the episodes as part of the documentary as well as standalone episodes.
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 million, one of the few times a game show on cable television has had that amount as a grand prize.
On December 16, 2014, GSN aired a special called Game Show Flashback, hosted by Ben Gleib, which featured some of the best moments in game show history.
On December 23, 2014, GSN aired a 2-hour special called The Line, hosted by Jeff Davis and Candace Bailey.
On January 1, 2015, in preparation for the revival of Baggage entitled Baggage on the Road, GSN aired a special called Baggage: Most Outrageous Moments hosted by Jerry Springer.
GSN's acquired programming comes primarily from FremantleMedia, with acquired programming also coming from NBCUniversal Television Distribution, Warner Bros. Television Distribution, and GSN parent company Sony Pictures Television. Before Liberty Media purchased 50% of the network, GSN had unlimited access to the game shows owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment subsidiary Columbia TriStar Television. Once Liberty purchased its stake in the venture, Sony began charging licensing fees for their shows, despite its half-ownership of the network.
From Fremantle, the network licenses Match Game (Rayburn), Family Feud (Karn, O'Hurley, and Harvey), Card Sharks (Perry and Eubanks), Press Your Luck, and Sale of the Century. GSN had licensed the entire Mark Goodson-Bill Todman library from its inception until March 2009 and has, in the past, also licensed Let's Make a Deal (another Fremantle property) for air on the network. Older versions of these shows are now aired on rival channel Buzzr, which is a sub-channel on many broadcast television stations in major cities.
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 and Beat the Clock. 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 a.m. ET; it was followed by a selection from various 1950s, 1960s and 1970s Goodson-Todman shows, usually another panel game. On December 31, GSN reinstated the Black and White Overnight to seven days a week from 3:00 to 4:00 a.m. ET, 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; this run ended March 31, 2009. Black and White Overnight has returned for two weeks in December since 2009, featuring What's My Line? and I've Got a Secret.
Over the years, GSN, in addition to its Goodson-Todman library, featured game shows from other studios:
- NBCUniversal Television Distribution: Twenty-One (2000), Weakest Link, Dog Eat Dog, Deal or No Deal, 1 vs. 100 (original version; a 2010 revival is a GSN Original), and Minute to Win It (original version; a 2013 revival is a GSN Original)
- 20th Television: Greed and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (Fox)
- CBS Television Distribution: Hollywood Squares (Bergeron version only in conjunction with Sony Pictures Television)
- MGM Domestic Television Distribution: Hollywood Squares (Marshall version only)
- Warner Bros. Television Distribution: Love Connection, Street Smarts, and Let's Ask America
- Disney-ABC Domestic Television: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Win Ben Stein's Money, and Win, Lose or Draw (Convy version only)
GSN also airs, or has aired, the Sony Pictures Television library programming from the following companies:
- The Guber-Peters Entertainment Company (formerly Barris Industries): The Newlywed Game, The Dating Game, The Gong Show (except the Gary Owens version), 3's a Crowd, Treasure Hunt, and Quiz Kids Challenge.
- Barry & Enright Productions (except the pre-scandal and the 1990 versions of Tic Tac Dough and The Joker's Wild owned by NBCUniversal Television): Tic-Tac-Dough (1978–86 syndicated), The Joker's Wild (1972–86 versions), Break the Bank (1976–77 versions), Bullseye, Play the Percentages, and Bumper Stumpers.
- Merv Griffin Enterprises: Headline Chasers, Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune (for Wheel, exceptions are the Benirschke and Goen versions).
- Stewart Television (excepting the 1970s Jackpot!, The $50,000 Pyramid, shows owned by CBS Television Distribution, and the 1991 The $100,000 Pyramid (owned by NBCUniversal Television Distribution)): Jackpot!, Pass the Buck, Go, Chain Reaction, and the surviving Pyramid incarnations.
- 2waytraffic: That's the Question
- Sony Pictures Television (including its predecessors from Screen Gems to Columbia TriStar Television): Pyramid (Osmond & Richards), Russian Roulette, new incarnations and new series co-produced by Sony-owned Embassy Row, post-1994 episodes of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, Dealer's Choice, The Diamond Head Game, and The Fun Factory (all were produced by Fishman-Freer Productions), and Celebrity Charades (produced by Fein-Schwartz Productions).
In October 2003, GSN acquired the rerun rights to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (from Disney-ABC Domestic Television, both the network and syndicated versions) and have added more episodes since, including the Super Millionaire spin-off from 2004, although none have aired on the network since November 2012. Among the most well-known classic game shows previously aired regularly on the network include The Price Is Right, The Joker's Wild, Tattletales, Hollywood Squares, The Dating Game, Love Connection and Let's Make a Deal.
GSN HD is a high definition simulcast feed on Game Show Network that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format, it launched on September 15, 2010. It is currently carried nationwide on DirecTV and Dish Network, regionally on AT&T U-verse, and in limited markets on providers such as Time Warner Cable, Service Electric Cable TV, Verizon FiOS, Comcast, Charter Communications and Bright House Networks.
Since 2010, all GSN original programming has been produced in HD. Until 2014, while classic programs are aired in their original aspect ratio, almost all other non-HD programming was stretched to fit the aspect ratio of 16:9 screens, and the HD feed is letterboxed for SD on all programming. Currently all programming is shown in their original aspect ratios.
GSN On DemandEdit
GSN partnered with Vubiquity to launch GSN On Demand on August 15, 2013. Current On Demand options include recent GSN Originals such as Baggage and The Chase as well as episodes of Steve Harvey's Family Feud.
In 2007, Liberty Media acquired the Toronto-based FUN Technologies, operator of the popular online tournament casual gaming website WorldWinner. Following the acquisition, Liberty began to extend the GSN brand into online gaming by re-branding WorldWinner as a GSN service. GSN also launched a social gaming app on Facebook, now known as GSN Casino, featuring skill and casino games along with competitive tournaments. By October 2010, GSN Casino had over 8 million active users. GSN also developed a Wheel of Fortune app for Facebook, released in 2010.
GSN also published GSN Casino mobile apps, featuring various slot machine and bingo games; in 2013, GSN Casino was the 10th highest grossing app for iPad on the App Store. In January 2014, GSN acquired Bitrhymes Inc., developers of the social and mobile games Bingo Bash and Slots Bash, for an undisclosed amount. GSN had sued Bitrhymes in November 2013 following its prior offer to acquire the company, arguing that it had attempted to back out of its offer and accept a different one during GSN's exclusive negotiation period.
In a reversal of these synergies, it was announced in November 2014 that a game show based on Bingo Bash was in development for Game Show Network's 2015 slate of original programming.
GSN began syndicating some of its original programming to other channels in the early 2010s. Baggage aired in syndication on numerous local stations during the 2012-13 television season. On June 24, 2013, the channel entered into an agreement with Bounce TV allowing it the broadcast rights to The Newlywed Game, Catch 21 and The American Bible Challenge. The American Bible Challenge aired in reruns on UP in fall 2013 and again in spring 2015. Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza airs on Laff.
- Buzzr (a competing network, available as an aerial subchannel in selected American markets)
- Challenge (a British channel devoted to airing British game shows from various archives along with some international shows)
- GameTV (a Canadian channel which airs classic Canadian game shows, and other programs)
- Nickelodeon GAS (a now-defunct channel devoted to airing Nickelodeon game shows)
- The Game Channel (A Philippine channel which more focused on family game shows and reality shows.)
- Questions and Answers ("Questions and Answers"/a Russian channel devoted to Russian game shows along with a few international shows)
- Game Show Network launched at 7 PM ET with a 24-hour marathon featuring one episode of every program in their archives at the time. The first episode that aired on GSN was a representative episode of the oldest series in their archives, a What's My Line? episode from March 8, 1953 featuring Jackie Gleason. Match Game took the regular 7 PM time slot the next day.
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