Monday, April 11, 2016

5 years ago today, GSN tried some new stuff

I cannot believe how fast time goes, but it was five years ago today Love Triangle and Drew Carey's Improv-a-Ganza premiered. It was the same day of the week, Monday, April 11th, 2011. Drew Carey's show was obviously a spin-off of Whose Line?, while Love Triangle was spawned off the success of GSN's own Baggage.

Here is how ratings went for the premiere week (Love Triangle/Improv):
4/11/11: 367K/527K
4/12/11: 386K/456K
4/13/11: 316K/364K
4/14/11: 306K/279K
4/15/11: 330K/420K

Love Triangle started out with bland ratings. The highest rated episode throughout the rest of the seven weeks saw 359,000 total viewers (on 4/27/11). Most other episodes did not even hit the 300K total viewer mark.

Improv started out hot for GSN standards, at least on the first two nights above, then completely sank. After that premiere week, still with a ton of promotion, the highest three rated episodes were 399K (4/21/11), 390K (4/19/11) and 328K (4/26/11). Other than those three and a very select few episodes after that first premiere week, all new episodes of Improv ranged between 146,000 total viewers and under 300,000 total viewers. In other words, about three-quarters of all Improv episodes had ratings under 300,000 total viewers.

Looking back, scheduling these two new originals was one of the worst decisions GSN ever made. In 2010 and early 2011, GSN had one of their strongest pre-primetime and primetime lineups. The Newlywed Game and Baggage aired new at 6pm and 6:30pm, respectively, with Deal or No Deal at 7pm and a Karn/O'Hurley Family Feud hour at 8pm. Then, The Newlywed Game, Baggage, Karn Feud and O'Hurley Feud would run again at 9pm, 9:30pm, 10pm and 10:30pm.

GSN completely messed this pattern up with Love Triangle and Improv. Why did GSN ever break the above lineup apart, a huge success? This change was a failure!

Love Triangle and Improv overall were moderate GSN failures. At least they sustained their original timeslots throughout their runs (unlike Beat the Chefs, Baggage On The Road, Mind of a Man) and all episodes aired (unlike Lie Detectors). Improv never had a shot at a second season and, along with Love Triangle, was heavily reduced in reruns slots throughout the summer of 2011. Both shows were gone from the schedule completely by the end of the year. Improv made a short comeback to the GSN schedule in the winter of 2012-13. Love Triangle made a longer return to the schedule for a couple years (yes, actually a couple years) on weekend mornings. Both shows have been sold in reruns for other networks, whether here in America or internationally. So they were not complete duds.
Allen Ludden on Password

On a positive:

Just ten days ago, April 1st, marked four years since Password Plus and Super Password returned to the schedule. Ratings went better for these two, enough to be granted a couple of years of airtime each on GSN. We wish Allen and Bert were back!


  1. Ugh, bumbling, mumbling Drew Carey. His favorite way to start a sentence is UHHHHHHHHH, and his favorite thing to say when a contestant comes on down is to shout the contestant's name repeatedly. He is incapable of filling time on the big wheel spins, so he forces all the contestants to say hello to everyone they can think of. This supposed "master" of improv comedy falls far short. What a dork and a disappointment.

    1. Improv was funny, it was on the wrong network. Then again, I guess Skin Wars worked for them. The problem with Ganza was it was on every night. 2 episodes a week would have done it. Love Triangle was just flat out stupid. It was a failed attempt at combining Jerry Springer and Maury Povich into a game show. Thankfully that show isn't on anymore.

      Improv reruns are on LAFF every Saturday night at 9 after The Drew Carey Show, so it still has some relevance.

      I guess Idiotest is losing its family friendly value. One of the episodes tomorrow night has a TV-14-D rating. So much for that. I don't get why game shows nowadays have to be edgy. Shows like Pyramid or Press Your Luck proved that you didn't need to be crude to be funny. I can now imagine on the upcoming $100,000 Pyramid revival that a clue might involve swearing.

    2. Frankly, I'd rather watch Love Triangle than Improvaganza. "Funny" is subjective.

    3. "I can now imagine on the upcoming $100,000 Pyramid revival that a clue might involve swearing"

      from what we learned of Harvey's Feud, we also could get a raunchy clue/category might be involve in the revival as well.