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December 10, 2018
Spin to Win!
By Kristin Brzoznowski
TV Formats Weekly investigates what it takes for a game-show format to stand out in today’s marketplace.
In a TV landscape awash with dark and complex dramas, and increasingly shocking and stressful news bulletins, the need for shows that can provide heavy doses of hopefulness and fun is supersized. If this escapism also provides an opportunity to get the whole family together, even better!
Game shows have long been a draw for broadcasters looking for cost-effective solutions to fill their schedules. And with audiences nowadays clamoring for an entertaining distraction from the hectic world around them, the genre is a veritable jackpot for format distributors.
While game shows are particularly hot at the moment, some in the industry would argue that these programs have never really gone out of style. “Game shows is one of the genres that will always be in demand,” says Amos Neumann, COO of Armoza Formats. “Sometimes it varies between more demand for prime-time shows and more demand for access-prime-time or stripped daytime shows, but the demand is always there.”
Global Agency’s founder and CEO, Izzet Pinto, agrees that game shows are perennially popular, unlike some of the other format genres. “In the past, we have seen declines in [the appetite for] talent shows, but for game shows it’s always quite stable,” he says, adding that budgets are a key factor for broadcasters at present. “If it’s a big game show with a big set that may require a production hub, buyers are staying away from that. Instead, they are mostly looking for cost-effective game shows.”
Peppering in some comedy helps add to the allure, Pinto says. Such is the case with Global Agency’s new game show Keep It or Lose It, which features contestants competing for prizes selected from a shopping mall. “There’s a good amount of humor in the show,” he points out. “The questions are usually silly and easy to answer, but the contestants make mistakes. At the end of the show, you see the products they get to keep and the ones they lost. Sometimes we will see the contestants upset and sometimes they’re so cheerful—it’s a great combination.”
Maintaining suspense throughout the episode holds the audience’s interest up to the finale as well, Pinto adds. “Some game shows are based on luck and for some, it’s more about knowledge or ability. Either way, up until the last minute, you don’t really know who is going to win, and that creates a lot of excitement, which is a key element for game shows.”
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