Old Shame: Game Show

  • Mark Goodson, the man behind many famous game show formats, once called his 1954 game What's Going On? his worst. The show involved celebrities doing an activity from the live remote while the panel tried to guess the activity. It lasted only five episodes and was greatly hampered by the still-developing camera technology of the 1950s.
  • Tom Kennedy's first game show was Big Game, which aired for about 20 episodes in 1958. It was a bit like a mini-version of Battleship, but with questions and a hunting theme. Oh, and Kennedy wore a pith helmet. Decades later, after watching the one existing episode, Tom said he was "absolutely pitiful".
  • Peter Tomarken reportedly called the 1987 game show / home shopping hybrid Bargain Hunters "a piece of shit".
  • The two Press Your Luck episodes featuring Michael Larson (who memorized the big board's patterns to win $110,237 in cash and prizes) were banned by CBS and producer Bill Carruthers from being re-ran for 19 years, as they saw the Larson episodes as an embarrassment. Outside of tape trading, they weren't officially broadcast until GSN's documentary Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal aired in March 2003.

  • Gene Rayburn declared an embargo on his version of Break the Bank, as he wasn't happy with his performance and the behind-the-scenes issues. Contrary to popular belief, Gene did not make a similar move for The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, even though he would've had plenty of reason to - according to the show's announcer, Gene Wood, Rayburn was "dragged kicking and screaming" into the Hour and disliked working with co-host Jon Bauman.

  • Now You See It: Los Angeles news personality Chuck Henry specifically requested that GSN never rerun the 1989 version, which he hosted, because he thinks it'll damage his reputation as a news anchor. The same Chuck Henry that got caught in a forest fire while reporting on it and had to be rescued by the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

  • The Price Is Right: Fur coats (and, in at least five instances, live dogs) used to be offered as prizes. Obviously, this was long before Bob Barker became an animal-rights activist, and per his wishes none of the fur coat episodes were ever rerun. note 
    • Among the fur-containing episodes are the first three episodes ever taped, the last of which went unaired (and got replaced six days later) due to an ineligible contestant. BCI, which wanted to put the whole first week on the DVD set, offered to donate to Barker's favorite charities and/or put a disclaimer before the offending shows. Barker declined.
    • Dennis James' five years (1972-77) as host of the nighttime version, which frequently offered fur coats. That would be fine, if the remainder that could be legally aired hadn't been shunned by GSN at the same time they were doing "Game of the Week" during the Sunday Night In Black And White block. Only one James episode was aired by the network, and then only twice a daytime show (December 25, 1974) where he filled-in for Barker, which pretty much amounts to a "pity airing" since it followed James' death in 1997. Further compounding matters is that his involvement with Price predates that of CBS, which in turn predates that of Barker (who initially wanted nothing to do with it).
      • Notably, Price itself finally acknowledged Dennis by posting clips of a nighttime episode (specifically, a lady winning a Showcase with an airplane in early 1976) to their official YouTube page in September 2012.
    • Drew Carey, who took over for original host Bob Barker in Season 36, attempted in Season 37 to change the Showcases at the end of the show into little skits that were often demeaning to then-announcer Rich Fields. Such skits, dubbed "Drewcases" by the fans, were mostly poorly-received and deemed unfunny by the fanbase (particularly the infamous "fried chicken" one). Drew got the message and stopped doing them, and later admitted that they didn't work.
    • The original Price Is Right with Bill Cullen averted any shame and ensured it. A viewer from New York City was arrested for attempting to bribe the producers into selecting his home sweepstakes entry. Then, as the Quiz Show Scandals broke, there was an accusation that producers were instructing certain contestants to not exceed a certain price ceiling. The accusations were never proven.

  • The one episode of You're in the Picture that aired on January 20, 1961 was so horrible that a week later, its timeslot was filled by host Jackie Gleason on an empty stage apologizing for how horrible it was. Ironically, the apology was far more well-received than the original show was, and led to Gleason doing a one-on-one talk show format called The Jackie Gleason Show.
  • Art James hosted a show called Blank Check from January-July 1975, which he and the staff called "Blank Mind" because they thought it was an overly-simple number-guessing game with no skill, designed to cash in on the ESP craze at the time. (One wonders what he would've thought of Deal or No Deal, since at least Blank Check had on-the-buzzer questions...)

  • Alex Trebek considers Pitfall one of the low points of his career, largely because his paycheck from the show bounced. This was due to the production company, Catalena Productions, filing for bankruptcy at the midpoint of the show's lifespan. Trebek wasn't exactly pleased when a contestant brought it up as "the best thing ever" when he was young on an episode of Jeopardy some years later.
  • One of Regis Philbin's first TV shows was The Neighbors, a lame knockoff of The Newlywed Game which asked gossip questions of five (always female) neighbors. The A&E Biography on Regis failed to mention it, and Regis was none too thrilled when Alex Trebek brought it up on an episode of Live With Regis and Kelly.
  • Although he isn't known to have said it in-show and hosted it with the same avuncular nature he gave all of his other work, Bill Cullen thought his short-lived game Winning Streak "just didn't work".

  • The Diamond Head Game, a dull quiz with a tacked-on Hawaiian theme, is "the biggest piece of boop-boop" Bob Eubanks ever did, if his quote from Card Sharks is to be believed.
    • Speaking of Eubanks, it had long since reached Urban Legend status that a lady on The Newlywed Game gave "in the ass" as an answer to "Where is the weirdest place you've ever gotten the urge to make whoopie?" For years, Eubanks denied that it ever happened, although this could be due to mis-remembered details. Many people thought it was a black lady who gave the answer assertively; when the clip finally surfaced (on GSN), it turned out to be a fairly normal white lady named Olga who said it questioningly. The clip appeared on several blooper shows that Eubanks hosted or co-hosted (always censored, except for its appearance in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), and on one such special Eubanks remarked, "I hope we bury it!"
    • He never liked Trivia Trap because he didn't think its format made sense (players worked to eliminate the wrong answers instead of just providing the right one), so the format was overhauled partway through the run...into a rather lackluster Q&A with an Artifact Title.

  • Wheel of Fortune:
    • The show has pretty much refused to acknowledge two of the three pilots. The first (Shopper's Bazaar, taped in September 1973 with Chuck Woolery as host) had little in common with the final product other than the overall mechanic of "Hangman meets Roulette". The two pilots shot under the title Wheel of Fortune on August 28, 1974, more closely resembled what made it to air, albeit with a drunken Edd "Kookie" Byrnes hosting. In the E! True Hollywood Story, showrunner Merv Griffin and NBC boss Lin Bolen pretty much disowned all three. Outside two brief clips from the first Byrnes pilot on the ceremonial 3,000th show in 1998 and about five publicity shots of Bazaar, no trace of them was made public until all three note  surfaced on YouTube during 2012. To say the fandom rejoiced would be a big understatement.
    • While the show started on NBC's daytime schedule in 1975, the version more familiar to viewers is the nighttime syndicated version, which began in 1983. Acknowledgments of daytime overall are rare, although they may be somewhat justified as a large part of the first 10 years was erased thanks to idiocy at not only NBC, but also Merv's company. This means little acknowledgment of original daytime host-hostess tandem Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford (who were replaced in 1981 and 1982, respectively, by Pat Sajak and Vanna White — the same pair that has helmed nighttime since day one). Likewise, there is little to no acknowledgment of the two men who took Pat's place after he stepped down from daytime in 1989 to do a talk show: Rolf Benirschke note  and (after a Channel Hop to CBS) Bob Goen. In short, the show has sort of undergone an Adaptation Displacement of itself, as the nighttime version outshone daytime and continues to this day with Pat and Vanna.
    • David Sidoni and Tanika Ray co-hosted the short-lived Wheel 2000, a No Budget children's version that aired on CBS in 1997-98. It rarely gets mentioned these days.
    • While it's been long rumored that Rolf Benirschke does not like talking about his six-month stint on Wheel, such is not the case. Rolf actually enjoyed hosting on the daytime version and even devoted a chapter in his autobiography to his experience with the show.
      • The lack of acknowledging Rolf, however, is particularly sore given that Wheel has done quite a few things with the Chargers over the years.
      • ...But then came February 20, 2013 as had been the case for most of Season 30 up to that point, footage of a classic Bonus Round was shown after Round 2. In this case, the puzzle was THE HIMALAYAS, which was quickly discovered to have been taken from...Rolf's premiere.
  • Averted by Jeopardy, which doesn't have the "lifetime ban" rule (unless you were on the Trebek version, in which case you can return once he departs). Players of the classic Art Fleming era have returned, with photos shown of their old appearance if possible. Most notably, Burns Cameron, the biggest winner of the original NBC era, was invited for the Super Jeopardy! tournament in 1990.
    • On the other hand, they've buried Jep!, a kiddie spin-off that accompanied Wheel 2000.
    • The 1987 five day champion reign of Barbara Lowe is basically forgotten now, as she was both considered by many fans to be a Jerk Ass, and she lied on her application as to her frequent past game show appearances under aliases, which violated her eligibility requirements. Her episodes have never reran either, despite her first win coming over 4 day champion and eventual Tournament of Champions competitor Lionel Goldbart.