Saturday, September 19, 2015

Upfront fail: Another reason why 'Idiotest' got renewed

This past week, without official press release, GSN has put out in various different places that Idiotest is casting for more episodes.

The Idiotest numbers have not been the hottest in the past two months, specifically after Skin Wars and Steampunk'd. With ratings, what probably won GSN over is how young-skewing Idiotest is while drawing not the best/not the worst total viewer figures. In its most recent new runs on September 9th, Idiotest actually rose to above average (for GSN) 18-49 viewer numbers from its Family Feud lead-in and continued to rise into its second new episode while drawing below average total viewer numbers. This means that Idiotest is a young-skewing show.

Besides Steampunk'd not working out, the third season of Skin Wars possibly having to wait until mid-2016, The Chase performing well in total viewers but skewing older and an uncertain future for Chain Reaction, there is another important reason why Idiotest is getting more episodes.

Simply, almost nothing has come out of the 2015-16 upfronts, or at least come out successfully.

Here is the current status from all shows from the 2015-16 upfronts that were either green-lit, in development or a returning series as of March 2015:

Steampunk'd: Mostly unsuccessful in its first two weeks; big bomb the following two weeks. Helped primetime/total day average to lowest levels in 3+ months (August 31-September 6). Highly probable chance of cancellation.

Lie Detectors: One of GSN's biggest failures ever, pulled from original timeslot within one week and pulled from schedule completely in less than two months with 22 episodes unaired to date.

Chain Reaction: Questionable future but still young. Not a runaway hit and success like the afternoon Lane reruns. One of the very few winners of the bunch.

"The Untitled Skin Wars spin-off": Very limited; only one episode which performed well in both total/18-49 viewers on August 26th but no further production at this moment.

Hellevator: Yet to be tested and is risky like Skin Wars and Steampunk'd.

Winsanity: This has been in two separate upfronts (2015-16 and previously the November 2014 list) and nothing, not even a pilot (or known pilot) has come about. Another project that will most likely never make it to air.

Skin Wars: Very, very successful, but showed declines throughout its second season. A third season will not be around for some time.

Man Versus Fly: The three minute clips bombed big with schedule reductions almost immediately. Now only shown four times a week total, down from the many more Man Versus Fly was suppose to have and highly unlikely for a (successful) for series run.

Window Warriors: No pilot and nothing at all since the upfronts. Another scrapped project.

The Chase: Along with Skin Wars, one of the few and biggest successes of the bunch but expensive to produce and no guaranteed fifth season.

It Takes a Church: Cancelled, last four episodes averaged less than half of the GSN primetime average on a normal week. Not on the schedule any longer and probably never will be again.

Baggage On The Road: Cancelled, rerun value is very low at two-a-week in late nights.

Out of the 12 projects above that have been on GSN's radar this year (with Idiotest not in the above list), only one, which is Skin Wars, is guaranteed a 2016 future. The Chase will most likely see a 2016 while we are still waiting on Chain Reaction.

GSN Logic:

Game Show Network first a foremost wants success for Skin Wars, Steampunk'd and Hellevator. Of course, GSN does not wish for no success out of The Chase, Idiotest and Chain Reaction, but those three simply are not their priorities. If Steampunk'd was as successful or close to the Skin Wars level, Idiotest would not have been renewed. Now with the tanking Steampunk'd and the still uncertain future for Chain Reaction, The Chase, the yet-to-be-tested Hellevator and last, a nearly dry upfront outcome as seen in the above list, the Idiotest renewal happened.

If Hellevator tanks, you bet an in-between show like Chain Reaction is back for another season.


  1. Steampunkd was going to be a huge failure IMO because it didn't have a Skin Wars lead in except for the premiere and the second episode after the spinoff special. I think GSN must love the demo for Idiotest, that is why it probably got renewed. Also, since it hasn't been a good year for some originals, I guess GSN needs something to fill their schedule. If Hellevator premieres huge, CR might be in serious jeopardy and maybe The Chase, but I think it will get renewed hopefully soon.

  2. I wouldn't cross off The Chase and Chain Reaction if Hellevator premieres huge for just one episode. Posters on Game Show Paradise have pointed out that while Hellevator may show impressive numbers in its October airings, it may cool off in November and December as people tend to watch scary/haunted-themed shows only in high amounts around Halloween.

    There are some people who are very interested and hard-cores for haunted shows/movies all year round, but we'll see how many people that actually are once we see all eight samplings (ratings) of Hellevator.

    1. True. Starting in November, people are going to start watching Christmas oriented shows or movies, so let's see how it does in November and December. I think this works better on SyFy or Chiller, but game shows like that don't work on other channels, so I guess GSN is appropriate to air it.

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  3. Hellevator is one and done. Who would want to watch a show like that during the Summer? Better yet, reality shows have very little rerun value.

    As for Idiotest, DUMP Ben and/or his snarky attitude. Turn the tables on him and have him play the game. Lets see how much of a smartass he is.

    1. I can't guarantee you that Hellevator will be a one and done, but I think you may be right on track by saying that Hellevator will not rerun well. Hellevator I don't believe is "reality". It's a horror game show. But from descriptions, it doesn't have rerun value.

      For Idiotest, there are several rumors circulating that Gleib may be out as host for Season 3. It's very suspecious that the show is obviously casting and hence renewed, yet no official press release or confirmation from Gleib.

      There is still a decent chance that Gleib will host Idiotest beyond its current season. We just have to wait and see what GSN is up to with this.

  4. Gleib is a producer on the show, according to a GSN press release. He's not firing himself. It's safe to assume, he's coming back.

    1. True, we knew that. But notice how GSN has changed *how* they are casting for Idiotest. The former site,, is down. That was the casting/production company's website, not GSN's. So GSN may be changing production.

  5. hopefully this won't get the "Bingo America" vibe but I digress.

  6. I hope hellevator returns soon. Love it