Game Show Television

My wife and I frequent game show television. Nothing is quite like yelling at the tube with answers that we think are super easy. At the same time the contestant is shaking in their boots not knowing how to stand let alone answer.

Family Feud Turkey x 3 Game Show Television
Family Feud Turkey x 3

All eyes are on them, if they answer wrong or in an accidentally offensive way they could become the meme of the week. I don’t envy such unlucky contestants, however who doesn’t envy the winners !?

Nostalgia and the Past

American Gladiators Logo Game Show Television
American Gladiators Logo

As a ’90s kid game show television was my bread and butter. American Gladiators, The Price is Right, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Nickelodeon Guts, Double Dare!!, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?, Legends of the Hidden Temple; these were all part of my daily entertainment. Some were action oriented (American Gladiators, Nickelodeon Guts, Double Dare!! and Legends of the Hidden Temple) and influenced new shows like American Ninja Warrior (NBC) and Ultimate Beastmaster (Netflix). These were like watching wrestling or NFL to me as a child. Living vicariously through these athletes was invigorating.

Progression and Evolution

Jeopardy Logo Game Show Television
Jeopardy Logo

The intellect driven shows (Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?) interested me a bit back then. However, as they evolved in to the Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Weakest Link of the early 2000’s, I grew more attached. I began putting knowledge on a higher pedestal than athleticism.

The Price is Right Logo Game Show Television
The Price is Right Logo

The crowd or societal games (The Price is Right and Family Feud) haven’t progressed much, but they are always entertaining. The model obviously works because these are two of the longest running game shows of all time. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?

Current State of Game Show Television

Competitive games are part of human nature. So, it really interests me when a game show goes to the way side. How did Weakest Link and Are You  Smarter Than A 5th Grader both air for 2 years? And how Deal or No Deal gets views is beyond me. Yes, there’s something to probability, but picking briefcases while negotiating with a shadow figure through a germophobe (Howie Mandel) is frankly garbage programming. Enough people like it to keep it on the air though, so what do I know? More vicarious viewing, but it is really just virtually playing the lottery and the ticket price is your time. The marketing pumped into this specific form of entertainment is astronomical. Keep that in mind the next time you’re folding in on yourself from a contestant’s terrible answer.

Successful Marketing

From a designer’s perspective it all makes perfect sense. Bright lights, ads, good looking people, money and toys are all laid out in front of this dopey looking every-man. They succeed, and you feel like you’ve succeeded because you’re them. And look what they got, just for answering a question! You think A) “I could do that!” or B) “I deserve that”! But, either way the marketing is successful.

I want some substance out of my game show television, not just beautiful people and applause. Soon I’ll have a blog on entertainment versus education. Until then, spend your time wisely and have your pets spayed or neutered!

Bob Barker of The Price is Right Game Show Television
Bob Barker of The Price is Right

Eric Benz is a graphic artist and production guru living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He frequents conventions in Canada to hold panels about art and production, networking with motivated artists focused on honing and promoting their craft. Find contact info below to become part of his artist mastermind group.

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5 thoughts on “Game Show Television”

  1. The showcase showdown!! I so loved watching Bob Barker as a kid, but I’ve never stopped to consider the marketing aspects of The Price is Right and other game shows.

  2. Action oriented game shows are my favorite but all of them do have a certain appeal to their marketing I didn’t think of until reading this. Let’s not forget about the catchy jingles, music and sound effects they use as well!

  3. The nostalgia train has left the station, I loved Legends of the Hidden Temple when I was younger!

    Variable rewards are addictive and this might explain why shows like “Deal or No Deal” are so successful despite the simple concept and lack of skill needed to pick a briefcase.

  4. Have we reached the point in society yet where it may be acceptable to incorporate a more hazardous game show. How about a possibly controversial premise where brains and braun are required to—let’s say—act as our judicial system? We could call it “Running Person.”

    1. Stellar premise. I don’t think that one has ever hit the drawing board, so I think you’re on to something. Pitch it to the right person and that could take off. 😉

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