The Hellevator premiere is just a little over twenty four hours away (Wednesday at 8pm ET). I, as well as many others, still have a big question mark over my head as to whether GSN will have long-term success with this. I think it is very safe to say that the premiere alone will not be a failure to the level of Lie Detectors. However, there are three reasons on the success or non-success of Hellevator:
1) The publicity it has been getting (hence, success): I have not seen a GSN show get more exposure since American Bible Challenge in 2012. Bible easily wins the tie-breaker to getting more exposure thanks to host Jeff Foxworthy. The Soska sisters have had their rounds of interviews over the past weeks including Access Hollywood. Plus, sorry Jen and Sylvia, but Jeff Foxworthy had much more likability.
Hellevator mentions have made their rounds on Twitter and in the news. Hellevator has undergone more coverage than even Skin Wars last August. Reviews have been everywhere. FlavorWire compares Hellevator to MTV's Fear (but Fear is greater, they said) while saying GSN's originality is weak in general. Post-gazette.com gives Hellevator a relatively negative review and notes (repeats) that traditional game show viewers will not enjoy Hellevator. MediaLife completely bashes Hellevator. Sources like Inquisitr and the Sun Gabriel Valley Tribute also take a look at Hellevator. YahooTV, a major source for T.V. happenings, tweeted that Hellevator was one of the top shows to watch for this week.
Hellevator could still be a success due to massive out-of-GSN publicity, but I highly doubt it will push anything near or above one million viewers like what Bible had. American Bible Challenge was a good cross-over between 'traditional game show' and 'bible', and liked by both crowds. Hellevator is a cross between 'game show' (not traditional) and 'horror fans'. However, Hellevator is not liked by GSN viewers, which are traditional game show fans, so the game show viewers are mostly out.
2) GSN's lack of strong numbers lately (no success): While GSN averages have been pretty strong lately, its originals department just has not been strong. Steampunk'd was quite weak, Chain Reaction was put on hiatus due to bad new run performances, Idiotest is down year-to-year while it has been two months since strong-performers The Chase and Skin Wars had new runs. The lack of the presence of strong originals is a huge downer for Hellevator. Those who watch the constant Family Feud reruns are only casual GSN and cable viewers.
3) FOX's under-performing Scream Queens: This is a big example of a horror show. FOX's heavily-promoted Scream Queens has definitely under-performed in ratings this Fall. The show is packed with stars, including Lea Michelle, Keke Palmer, Nasim Pedrad and Jamie Lee Curtis, and still a general under-performer. This may just show that the horror-niche is more narrow than GSN would like.
Hellevator with Jen and Sylvia Soska premieres tomorrow night at 8pm ET on GSN.