Game Show Network and co-owned Sony Pictures Television (SPT) are joining forces for the second consecutive Upfront season to pitch opportunities in content ranging from four new game shows to the established superstars of TV quiz shows, “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” both produced by SPT.
One of the new Game Show Network games announced in a news release on Tuesday is based on Yahoo searches.
Hosted by actor Tom Cavanagh (photo above left), “Hey Yahoo!” will feature two teams of three players each competing to guess popular Yahoo search terms when provided with only the first half of them. “Hey Yahoo!” will premiere in June.
The news release also included a new first-run syndicated late-night show from SPT hosted by Craig Ferguson, one-time host of “Late Late Show” on CBS.
The show, titled “Channel Surf,” was first announced in January, but its inclusion in this spring’s SPT Upfront indicates it is a “go” for next fall.
The show will feature Ferguson and celebrity guests commenting on the top TV moments of the past week.
The Tuesday news release outlined Game Show Network’s and SPT’s Upfront game plan. This year, the companies’ offerings will “include options in live viewing, integrations, and syndicated programming,” the announcement said.
They will be selling “branded entertainment opportunities” and “short-form ad options” in “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” said the companies, which are both owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment.
At the same time, they will be offering positions in non-game show content from SPT’s syndicated portfolio, including off-network series “Seinfeld,” “King of Queens,” “The Goldbergs,” “The Good Doctor” and “S.W.A.T,” they said.
This year’s pitch will emphasize the “family-friendly” nature of the Game Show Network content, as well as the shows’ strength in live viewing.
“Game Show Network delivers live viewing levels that rival both sports and news,” said Stuart Zimmerman, executive vice president of Ad Sales for Sony Pictures Television and Game Show Network.
“There’s no breaking news or split screens to disrupt this experience,” he said. “The benefit to our advertisers is that game shows as a genre have over a 90% commercial retention when viewing commercials, and Game Show Network is the destination for game show viewers.
“Clients expect a safe harbor in a trusted environment and Game Show Network delivers,” he said.
According to an estimate by iSpot.tv, Game Show Network’s national TV ad revenue over the last 12 months amounted to $320 million.
In addition to “Hey Yahoo!,” Game Show Network’s other new shows are “Split Second,” based on a format devised by the late Monty Hall and premiering next month; “Riddiculous” (working title) based on a riddle-based game from the U.K.; and “Blank Slate,” in which teammates will attempt to match each other’s answers to fill-in-the-blank questions.
The host of “Split Second” is John Michael Higgins (photo above center), who also hosts the popular “America Says” show on Game Show Network. “Blank Slate” will be hosted by Mario Lopez (photo above right).
Both “Blank Slate” and “Riddiculous” are slated to begin this fall. No host was given for “Riddiculous.”
SPT and Game Show Network will not be staging an all-encompassing Upfront presentation event this spring.
Instead, the companies’ Upfront pitches will be made via in-person meetings and regional presentations.
I'm pretty sure "Split Second" is not a new show as it ran on ABC Daytime from 1972-1975. (I managed ABC Daytime Sales Proposals for part of that run and it sure sounds like the same show.)