Game Show Network

Game Show Network
Game Show Network, LLC (GSN)
GSN logo.svg
Launched December 1, 1994
Owned by DirecTV (60%)
Sony Pictures Television (40%)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Slogan "The World Needs More Winners"
Headquarters Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Sister channel(s) Sony Movie Channel
Audience Network
Root Sports
MLB Network
DirecTV Channel 233
Dish Network Channel 116 (SD/HD)
Bell TV (Canada) Channel 639
Shaw Direct (Canada) Channel 177 / 549
C-Band - H2H/4DTV AMC 18 - Channel 205
Available on many cable systems in the USA & Canada Check local cable listings, channels may vary
Verizon FiOS Channel 184
AT&T U-Verse Channel 173
RCN Channel 128
Bell Fibe TV (Canada) Channel 639

The Game Show Network (GSN) is an American cable television and direct broadcast satellite channel dedicated to game shows and casino game shows. The channel was launched on December 1, 1994. Its current slogan is "The World Needs More Winners".[1] The network is currently available in approximately 75 million homes, and is jointly-owned by DirecTV[2] and Sony Pictures Television.[2]




Game Show Network went live at 7:00 PM on December 1, 1994.[3] The first aired game show was Match Game '73. From 1994 until about 1997, the network aired pre-1972 classics as well as post-1972 game shows, most from the Mark GoodsonBill Todman library. The network aired game shows in a 24-hour cycle, and also used live interstitial programming to wrap around the shows. In the first few months, GSN's commercials consisted of public service announcements (PSAs), GSN promos and commercials related to Sony, the parent company of the network. Once the network became bigger, conventional commercials were added to the network as they gained new sponsors.


From October 11, 1997 to April 18, 1998 the network's Goodson-Todman library rights expired, with the exceptions of The Price Is Right and the 1994-1995 season of Family Feud, which were both on a separate contract.

With the other Goodson-Todman shows gone, lesser-known Sony properties such as Juvenile Jury, The Diamond Head Game, the 1976-1977 version of Break the Bank, and the Bill Cullen-hosted games Chain Reaction and Pass the Buck all found their way onto the schedule.

Game Show Network also aired a children's game show block at this time, highlighted by Joker! Joker! Joker!, Jep!, and Wheel 2000—adaptations of The Joker's Wild, Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune, respectively.


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. GSN replaced the live shows with in-show ads like Win TV. In 1999, the network began a slate of original programming, including Inquizition, All New 3's a Crowd and Hollywood Showdown. They also created original shows Extreme Gong (a remake of the classic Gong Show) and Burt Luddin's Love Buffet.

In 2000, the network faced another setback when they lost the rights to air The Price Is Right. In 2001, a massive change in both leadership and programming to the network took place. Liberty Media acquired half of the network and changed the leadership. President Michael Fleming and Vice President Jake Tauber were both fired and former FOX Family 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.


In fall 2003, Game Show Network began airing GSN Video Games, the first program to air on the network that had nothing to do with traditional game shows. Although the show—a repackaging of somewhat dated British video game review shows (mostly—was short-lived, it was a sign of the network's change of format from Game Show Network's "all game shows, all the time" to what eventually became "GSN: The Network for Games".

On March 15, 2004 at 10:00 PM, 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 World Series of Blackjack, Celebrity Blackjack, Extreme Dodgeball, Poker Royale, and the short-lived Fake-a-Date, Vegas Weddings Unveiled, and Ballbreakers. GSN also added reruns of The Mole, Average Joe, Arsenio Hall's Star Search, Kenny vs. Spenny, and Spy TV, all of which were eventually removed from the schedule (though Kenny vs. Spenny was picked up for new episodes by Comedy Central in 2007).

Traditional game shows Win Ben Stein's Money and Street Smarts were also acquired around this time and aired in various time slots, though neither was regularly programmed as of mid-March 2008.

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 programmed additional series of 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.

Within a year of GSN's revamp, it began returning its focus primarily to studio-based game shows.


On February 25, 2008, GSN returned live television games and debuted GSN Live, a live interactive call-in show, hosted by Heidi Bohay and Fred Roggin. The show was similar in format to Club A.M., a former Game Show Network program, and aired weekdays from 12pm-3pm Eastern/9am-12pm Pacific during breaks between the programming line-up at the time. The show featured calls from viewers, interviews with classic game show hosts and behind-the-scenes features of game shows.

At three separate points in each day, interactive games were played with at-home contestants. Contestants could win anything from jewelry to GSN merchandise, or during month-long contests, a new car or a hot tub.

Coupled with some of these changes in an aggressive marketing campaign. GSN sent Ribiero on a promotional tour to local television stations to promote Catch 21, while they partnered with the ABC Television Network to create Play It Again! Game Show Reunion Week, a series of one-off episodes of classic game shows for the network's morning show, Good Morning America, in exchange for promotion of the September 2008 Play It Back programming blocks, which featured marathons of game shows from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Catch 21, debuted in July 2008. The game combines questions with the casino game of blackjack. Alfonso Ribeiro hosts the program and is assisted by his co-host and dealer Mikki Padilla. The original producer of Gambit, Merrill Heatter, returned in the same capacity. In October of that year, a second season of Bingo America premiered with former Family Feud host Richard Karn as the new host and Diane Mizota as the co-host, replacing Patrick Duffy.

In 2008, GSN aired Think Like a Cat, sponsored by Meow Mix cat food, hosted by Chuck Woolery.[4]

Starting February 26, 2011, Norm Macdonald became the new host of High Stakes Poker on GSN.[5]

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 remains the majority owner, it has ceded control of the network to Sony, and has the right to force Sony to increase its stake in GSN to 58%.[6]

On November 6, 2011, GSN began airing the FOX version of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?


Original programming

GSN has also produced several original series. In the channel's early days, Club A.M. was a three-hour block 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)[7][8] (where viewers controlled video game characters with their phones). The network also programmed Burt Luddin's Love Buffet, a combination of scripted scenes and a Newlywed Game-esque "game show-within-a-show". But all these efforts were eventually canceled and removed from the network's schedule.

Traditional game show offerings since 2000 have 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, and National Lampoon's Funny Money. The most successful GSN original game was Lingo, a Chuck Woolery-hosted revival of the 1987-1988 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 2002-2007.

Originals debuting in 2006 included PlayMania, a late-night call-in game that expanded from two to (at one point) six nights per week continuing until October 31, 2007; and a revival of the 1980s game 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 US version of a BBC game called How Much Is Enough? debuted on January 8, hosted by actor Corbin Bernsen, and then in April, Bingo America made its debut with Patrick Duffy of Dallas and Step by Step fame as host. On July 21, 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 actor-singer-dancer Alfonso Ribeiro with actress Mikki Padilla as the dealer. GSN also relaunched a live interactive call-in interstitial series by premiering GSN Live, which airs during commercial breaks between 12 PM and 6 PM Eastern Monday through Friday. Originally the series took place over a three-hour span, with KNBC sports anchor and NBC Sports contributor Fred Roggin and actress Heidi Bohay hosting the interstitial segments. Later in the year GSN expanded the series to the six hours it has now, with Roggin moving to the 3 PM to 6 PM 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 has hosted with a guest host until May 15, 2009 when Debra Skelton was chosen to be a permanent co-host as of May 26. Roggin was forced to leave GSN Live on July 2, 2009 in order to concentrate on his new game show The Money List. Alfonso was forced to leave GSN Live on August 11, 2009 in order to concentrate on his new job, as well as Catch 21.

Also in 2009, The Newlywed Game returned to the air on GSN, this time with Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson as host. In June, GSN premiered its Big Saturday Night live interactive show block, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key of MADtv, Ross Matthews of The Tonight Show, and Charissa Thompson of Fox Sports. The three-hour block features a variety of games, such as identifying pictures. Included in the block are 20Q, hosted by Cat Deeley of So You Think You Can Dance and featuring the voice of actor-comedian Hal Sparks as "Mr. Q"; and The Money List, hosted by Fred Roggin of GSN Live. A Hidden Camera series, Instant Recall, hosted by Wink Martindale, premiered on March 4, 2010. A revival of 1 vs. 100 has been commissioned.[9][10]


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 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 TV 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 (a title it still holds) scoring a 1.7 at one time during the show.

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 $1,000,000, one of the few times a game show on cable TV has had that amount as a grand prize.

Syndicated programming

GSN's rerun programming comes primarily from two sources: FremantleMedia and GSN parent company Sony.

Before Liberty Media purchased 50% of the network, GSN had unlimited access to the game shows owned by Sony Pictures subsidiary Columbia TriStar Television. Once Liberty purchased their stake in the venture, Sony began charging licensing fees for their shows, despite their half-ownership of the network.

From Fremantle, the network licenses Match Game (currently only the 1973-82 versions; the 1990-91 version aired on the network in the past), Family Feud (all except the 1999-2002 Louie Anderson-hosted seasons), Password (all versions), and Card Sharks (all except 2001–2002 syndicated). Until March 2009, GSN licensed the entire Mark Goodson-Bill Todman library. During two weeks in December 2009, GSN picked up the rights to I've Got a Secret again for a limited return.

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, Beat the Clock, and others. 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 AM Eastern; it was followed by a selection from various 1950s-1970s Goodson-Todman shows, usually another panel game. On December 31, GSN reinstated the Black and White Overnight to 7 days a week from 3:00-4:00 AM, 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, with the latter currently airing following What's My Line?. GSN cancelled Black and White Overnight, effective March 31, 2009. In December 2010, What's My Line and I've Got a Secret returned to GSN for 2 weeks only from December 13 to December 30.

GSN, in addition to its Goodson-Todman library, features shows from other companies:

GSN also airs, or has aired, the Sony Pictures Television library programming from the following examples:

In October 2003, GSN acquired the rerun rights to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (from Disney-ABC Domestic Television) and have added more episodes since, including the Super Millionaire spin-off from 2005–2007. Among the most well-known classic game shows previously aired regularly on the network are The Price Is Right, The Joker's Wild, Tattletales, Hollywood Squares, The Dating Game, and various versions of Pyramid. Some of these shows still continued to be aired occasionally as part of special events, such as Dick Clark's Pyramid in honor of New Year's Rockin' Eve on December 31.

The Price Is Right

The Price Is Right, Goodson-Todman's longest-running game show, did not appear on GSN's regular schedule until December 1996. Episodes that featured fur coats or other animal-related prizes were not aired, following Bob Barker's animal-rights wishes. The show's GSN premiere was delayed almost two years in order to remove such episodes from the rotation. The show originally appeared on GSN in occasional pre-emptions of regularly scheduled series such as Match Game or Family Feud, and earned a regular spot just ten months before the network's rights to air the Goodson-Todman library expired.

Various versions of the show were broadcast, specifically those hosted by Barker, Bill Cullen, and Tom Kennedy (plus one episode sub-hosted by 1972-1977 nighttime host Dennis James, aired on the day of his death in 1997). In December 1996, Price began airing regularly on the schedule, with half-hour Barker shows in the morning and hour-long episodes in the afternoon and evening, Kennedy shows in late-night, and the Cullen version as part of what was then billed as "Sentimental Sunday". No episodes from either the 1972-1980 or 1994-1995 syndicated versions aired during this time, the former mostly due to Barker's fur ban and the latter due to rights issues involving Paramount Television.

GSN's contract to air Price expired in April 2000 and has not been renewed since. Most Price reruns are held not entirely by FremantleMedia, but also through CBS Television Distribution, as CBS currently licenses the American Price franchise from Fremantle. GSN would have to pay royalties to both CBS and Fremantle to gain the rights to the show.


Game Show Network also has a 1080i high definition simulcast, that launched September 15, 2010.[11] It is currently carried nationwide on Dish Network and in limited markets on Time Warner Cable, Service Electric, Comcast and Bright House Networks.[12] Ironically, DirecTV, which owns 60% of GSN, does not carry it in high definition.

See also

  • Challenge (a United Kingdom channel devoted to airing British game shows from various archives along with some international games)
  • GameTV (a Canadian channel devoted to airing Canadian game shows and game-show documentaries)
  • Nickelodeon GAS (a now-defunct channel devoted to airing Nickelodeon game shows)


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Meow Mix(R) Brand Offers $1 Million Prize in Game Show on GSN Where Cats and Their Humans Compete as a Team, Feline Charities Benefit" (Press release). Del Monte Foods. 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  5. ^ "Norm Macdonald New Host of GSN's High Stakes Poker" (Press release). GSN. February 7, 2011. 
  6. ^ Goetzl, David (June 30, 2011). "Sony Gains Control of GSN Even With Minority Stake". TVBlog (MediaPost). Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ In October 2010, Carrie Ann Inaba was named host of GSN's 1 vs. 100. On November 18, 2010, the Game Show Network announced that Drew Carey will host a new improv show in primetime in the Spring of 2011. The shows will be filmed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada in January and February 2011. Sassone, Bob. "Wink Martindale to Host 'Instant Recall' on GSN Starting March 4". TV Squad (AOL). Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  10. ^ "GSN Revives 1 vs. 100". Buzzerblog. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  11. ^ "Game Show Network Press Release". 
  12. ^ "GSN HD Adds Comcast, Other New Affiliates". Multichannel News. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 

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