ABC is packaging and promoting its summer game shows as “Fun & Games,” but it is also appropriate to call them “Time Warp TV.”
With almost no exception, the titles of ABC's summer game shows all resonate with anyone old enough to have experienced the three-network television world of the 1960s and ’70s.
ABC apparently hopes these new versions of these old shows will score with viewers who are too young to have watched them in their earlier incarnations. These remakes are certainly not being made for the entertainment pleasure of the generation that first knew them best since those viewers have pretty much aged out of the target demo.
ABC's revivals of “Match Game” (hosted by Alec Baldwin, pictured above with celebrity panelist Jason Alexander), “To Tell the Truth,” “The $100,000 Pyramid” and “Family Feud” (as “Celebrity Family Feud”) have already been up and running for several summers.
This month, ABC adds “Card Sharks” and “Press Your Luck” to a stable of game shows that one might have thought had long ago been consigned to the dustbin and museums of TV history. What's next? “The Joker's Wild”? Well, it might have been, if TBS and Snoop Dogg had not beaten them to it.
Perhaps it is a credit to these concepts that they still work well enough that they are getting revived decades after they were first introduced. Certainly, ABC seems to think so. On the other hand, if letter grades were given for TV content originality, ABC would get an F. And so would any other network that makes a habit of reviving old-show brands, be they game shows or “MacGyver.”
But the biggest question that surrounds all of these TV show brand revivals is the one that asks what these shows say about the future of these older TV networks. Will they continue to go into the future by increasingly mining their past?
Despite the renown of these TV show title/brands, the time will come in the not-too distant future when these titles will mean next to nothing to most of the people who watch television.
Even now, it is valid to wonder how long these brand names can remain relevant, familiar and valuable. Perhaps this is another reason why so many of the old shows get remade about every generation or so. Who knows? Maybe by reintroducing them every so often, they will be perpetuated far into the future. “Card Sharks 2030,” anyone?