Game Show Network
Game Show Network (also known as GSN) is an American pay television channel that is owned by Sony Pictures Television. The channel's programming is primarily dedicated to game shows, including reruns of acquired game shows, along with new, first-run original and revived game shows. For a period in the mid 2000s, Game Show Network experimented with "games" in general, including reality competition series and televised poker shows, though the network eventually returned to a completely traditional game show lineup. In October 2019, Game Show Network claimed that it was available to "nearly 75 million" households in America, primarily through traditional cable and satellite services. As of January 2020, GSN is also available on streaming services including Philo, fuboTV, Sling TV, and AT&T TV Now.
|Game Show Network|
|Launched||December 1, 1994|
|Owned by||Game Show Network, LLC (Sony Pictures Television)|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Broadcast area||United States|
|Headquarters||Santa Monica, California, U.S.|
|Dish Network||Channel 116|
|Bell TV (Canada)||Channel 639 (SD)|
Channel 1732 (HD)
|Shaw Direct (Canada)||Channel 177 |
|Available on most North American cable providers||Check local listings for channel slot|
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 184 (SD)|
Channel 684 (HD)
|AT&T U-verse||Channel 173 (SD)|
Channel 1173 (HD)
|RCN||Channel slots vary by market|
|Bell Fibe TV (Canada)||Channel 639 (SD)|
Channel 1639 (HD)
|Telus Optik TV (Canada)||Channel 370 (SD)|
|DirecTV Now||Internet Protocol television|
|Frndly TV||Internet Protocol television|
|Philo||Internet Protocol television|
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
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 begin 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.
1994–1998: Game Show NetworkEdit
Game Show Network launched at 7:00 p.m. 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 also used to air 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, a new logo (which had the network's name in boxes and a colorful swirling ball), and a new slogan: "All Play, All Day". The network's new promos and new idents 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 aired a children's game show block at this time, featuring 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 The Gong Show). In 2000, the network lost the rights to 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 when Liberty Media acquired a 50% stake. Both president Michael Fleming and vice president Jake Tauber departed and former Fox Family Channel president Rich Cronin was 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 the Fall of 2001, the network acquired the rights to air the classic Press Your Luck but, due to pressure from CBS, the Michael Larson episodes were initially excluded. CBS eventually gave Game Show Network the rights to the Larson episodes, airing them in a separate package, as well as in conjunction with an original documentary called 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. In December of that year, the network began airing GSN Video Games; the first program to air on the network that was unrelated to traditional game show formats.
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 10:00 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.
David Goldhill succeeded Rich Cronin as GSN president on August 1, 2007 and began making a series of programming changes. 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 had the right to force Sony to increase its stake in GSN to 58%. On November 8, 2012, DirecTV sold an 18% interest in GSN to Sony.
2013–2015, 2017–present: Return to Game Show NetworkEdit
For brief periods from November 4, 2013 to June 2, 2015, GSN would refer to itself by its full name. The network did so again from November 6, 2017, to coincide with the launch of a new "Saturday Night Classics" block, featuring reruns of the game shows Match Game, Press Your Luck, Card Sharks, Let's Make a Deal, and Family Feud with Richard Dawson. The block was short-lived ending in February 2018.
In April 2017, David Goldhill stepped down after nearly ten years as GSN president, the longest tenure for any president to date. He was succeeded by Mark Feldman in August, 2017. On October 1, 2018, the network officially returned to using its full name and introduced a new logo to coincide with the return to the "Game Show Network" branding. The rebranding accompanied the network's return to an all-traditional lineup of original and acquired game shows.
DirecTV's stake in Game Show Network moved to AT&T when it acquired DirecTV in 2015 and WarnerMedia after it was acquired by AT&T in 2018. On November 18, 2019, it was announced that Sony had acquired that 42% stake, placing GSN under 100% Sony ownership. A list of 2019 Nielsen ratings published by Variety indicated that Game Show Network averaged 406,000 viewers in prime time, down 2% from the 2018 average.
Game Show Network has produced a large number of original series over the years. 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). All these efforts were eventually canceled and removed from the network's schedule.
Traditional game shows offered in this time 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 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, 2008, hosted by Corbin Bernsen, and then on March 31, 2008, Bingo America made its debut with Patrick Duffy as host. On July 21, 2008, 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 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 Noon and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Monday through Friday. Originally the series took place over a three-hour span, with Fred Roggin and Heidi Bohay hosting the interstitial segments. Later in the year GSN expanded the series to six hours, with Roggin moving to the 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 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, 2009. Roggin left GSN Live on July 2, 2009 in order to concentrate on his new game show The Money List. Alfonso left GSN Live on August 11, 2009 in order to concentrate on hosting Catch 21. GSN Live itself ended on July 29, 2011.
Also in 2009, The Newlywed Game returned to the air on GSN, this time with Carnie Wilson as host. On June 13, 2009, 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 and featuring the voice of Hal Sparks as "Mr. Q", and The Money List, hosted by Fred Roggin. A hidden camera series, Instant Recall, hosted by 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 on April 11, 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 August 23, 2012, 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. In the fall of 2012, GSN premiered a new revival titled The Pyramid, with Mike Richards hosting. GSN debuted an American version of the UK game show The Chase on August 6, 2013, hosted by Brooke Burns and featuring Mark Labbett, one of the "Chasers" on the UK version, as the sole "Chaser", known as "the Beast". The show received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Game Show in 2014, and Burns received a nomination for Outstanding Game Show Host two years later. In the summer of 2014, GSN debuted new series such as It Takes a Church, Skin Wars, and Idiotest.
GSN premiered the original series America Says, hosted by John Michael Higgins on June 18, 2018, and the video clip game show Caroline & Friends, hosted by actress Caroline Rhea on July 16, 2018. On March 21, 2019, GSN announced it would revive Catch 21, featuring a different format with Ribeiro returning as host. The network also announced a new show, Best Ever Trivia Show with Sherri Shepherd as the host. The show debuted on June 10, 2019. GSN continued to introduce new originals, with Common Knowledge hosted by Joey Fatone debuting on January 14, 2019, the reboot of Catch 21 with new dealer Witney Carson debuting on October 14, 2019, and Get a Clue hosted by Robert Belushi premiering on January 6, 2020.
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. GSN aired a 2-hour special called The Line on December 23, 2014, which was 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 Fremantle, with acquired programming also coming from NBCUniversal Television Distribution, and Warner Bros. Television Distribution. During the time that Liberty Media and successors DirecTV and AT&T had a stake in the channel from 2001 to 2019, GSN had had to pay a licensing fee to air game shows owned by founding parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment subsidiary Columbia TriStar Television. Before that time period and again since Sony regained 100% ownership in November 2019, GSN has unlimited free access to the game shows owned by what is now Sony Pictures Television.
From Fremantle, the network licenses Match Game (Rayburn), and Family Feud (Harvey). 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, Press Your Luck, and Sale of the Century (other Fremantle properties) for air on the network. Older versions of these shows are now aired on rival channel Buzzr, a digital subchannel network over which Fremantle has sole programming control.
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 19, 2006, GSN reinstated the Black and White Overnight to seven days a week from 3:00 a.m. 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, and Minute to Win It
- CBS Television Distribution: Hollywood Squares (1998 version only)
- MGM Domestic Television Distribution: Hollywood Squares (1966 version only), Cash Cab
- Warner Bros. Television Distribution: Love Connection, Street Smarts, and Let's Ask America
- 20th Television/Disney-ABC Domestic Television: Greed, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (Fox), Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Win Ben Stein's Money, and Win, Lose or Draw
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, 3's a Crowd, Treasure Hunt, and Quiz Kids Challenge.
- Barry & Enright Productions: Tic-Tac-Dough, The Joker's Wild, Break the Bank, Bullseye, Play the Percentages, and Bumper Stumpers.
- Merv Griffin Enterprises: Headline Chasers, Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune (excepting the Bob Goen era)
- Stewart Television: 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, Russian Roulette, Dealer's Choice, The Diamond Head Game, The Fun Factory, and Celebrity Charades
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; the show was off the schedule from November 2012 to December 2017, when repeats of the Chris Harrison episodes were added to the schedule. 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.
Game Show Network HD is a high definition simulcast feed of the channel that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format; it was launched on September 15, 2010  The HD feed is currently carried on most providers nationwide and in Canada.
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.
Syndication and other networksEdit
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 recently aired on Laff. Reruns of America Says aired in syndication during the 2019-20 season.
- Buzzr - a digital multicast network showcasing vintage game shows.
- Challenge - a British channel devoted to airing game shows and competition-based programs.
- GameTV - a Canadian channel that airs game shows and general entertainment programming.
- Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids - a now-defunct channel that aired Nickelodeon-produced game shows.
- Questions and Answers - a Russian channel devoted to game shows.
- The Game Channel - a Philippine channel focused on family game shows and reality 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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