Welcome to the 2017 game show renaissance
There would be no television without game shows. We love to watch people spin wheels of fortune, lock in their final answer, guess what the survey says, name the right price, date, and find love connections. On TV today, you can find an incredible mix of game shows both brand new and reimagined for today’s audiences, up and down the channel lineup. You have the whole Game Show Network in the America’s Top 200 package and above. Find favorites like Cupcake Wars on Food Network and Big Little Stars on USA. Even MTV has The Challenge and Safe Word. See our packages and watch them all.
New shows abound
Start with Candy Crush. The super popular game app has a new screen: TV. Candies get matched and crushed same as ever, but contestants play while they’re suspended in midair, on ladders, and in other precarious positions. It’s like if a flea were playing on your smartphone. We hope to see more app-inspired game shows soon.
Meanwhile, a big part of the game show renaissance is reimagined shows of yesteryear. Fans of classics like The Gong Show and Pyramid will relish their new incarnations along with audiences who are seeing them for the first time.
Read on for an overview of the game show boom. These are just a few you need in your life.
CBS, premieres July 9
Maybe you’ve played Candy Crush as you sat on a train or zoned out in class. Maybe you became so engrossed that it seemed like your phone screen was all there was. As if your screen, though relatively small, had become an enormous, glowing monolith. This is the premise of Candy Crush. Everyone’s favorite distraction is now the main focus. Except when host Mario Lopez is on camera. Watch Sundays at 9/8c starting July 9th.
The Gong Show
In the 1980s, The Gong Show was a window onto the aspirations, talents, and frankly the neuroses of everyday people. They got up on stage and performed whatever schtick they worked best—playing their toes like a kazoo or belching pop song lyrics—and waited for a panel of judges to deem them fit for social appreciation or to cast them into oblivion by ringing a dismissive gong. It was a delight, and now it’s back.
Host Jamie Foxx prompts guests to name songs before song-naming app Shazam can. If you love naming that tune, or you want to know what songs you’re dancing to in the club, or you’re wondering what the kids are listening to these days, this is a great, fun show.
This one hour competition series tests ordinary people who have extraordinary abilities. For example: one man can tell which one-inch colored tiles have been moved in a mosaic with thousands of tiles. Another man can add the number of dots on dominoes as they fall one-by-one. Kal Penn hosts and a panel of celebrity judges—including the effusive Mike Tyson—rate contestants’ performances.
From executive producer LeBron James (!), The Wall is a show in which contestants answer questions. If their answer is right, a green ball is sent bouncing down the wall pinball-style toward a row of dollar amounts. Then that amount is added to the team’s score. If it’s wrong, a red ball is sent down to deduct money. With twelve million dollars at stake every episode, let’s just say it’s tense.
To Tell The Truth
A celebrity panel is presented with three contestants and one biography. The celebrities grill the contestants about the details of the biography to see whose it might really be. One contestant is sworn to tell the truth, but the others can lie. Finally, the celebrity panelists try to guess whose biography they really heard. Betty White, NeNe Leakes, and Jalen Rose are panelists this season, and Anthony Anderson hosts.
Pyramid aired in its first incarnation in 1973. Dick Clark hosted, and the prize was $10,000. The stakes are higher today as prizes total $100,000. Michael Strahan hosts and the biggest stars team up with players from across the country. Players guess words and phrases from descriptions given by a teammate. The more words players guess correctly, the more money they get.
Try to beat Shazam and marvel at people’s superhuman abilities. It’s one of many things TV is great for.