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Awesome / GSN

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As you may expect for a network devoted to airing Game Shows, GSN has had some awesome moments.

  • In general, Black and White Overnite (formerly Sunday Night in Black and White), introducing a new generation of viewers to such classics as I've Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth, What's My Line?, Beat the Clock, Password, The Name's The Same, and more.
  • There's a silver lining in the so-called "Dark Period" note , while it ousted nearly all the Goodson-Todman shows note , their replacements were a whole lot of shows that GSN very likely wouldn't have shown otherwise, including Pass the Buck, Break the Bank, and The Diamond Head Game. (Whether or not these shows were worth watching, on the other hand, is left to the viewer.)
  • Getting the rights to show the CBS version of The Joker's Wild and the Peter Marshall era of The Hollywood Squares, both long thought to have been destroyed. GSN stopped airing both about 14 months after they started, but as the saying goes — when a pig starts flying, you don't complain if it doesn't stay up long.
    • In a nice touch, the first Squares episode to air (a 1968 nighttime episode) even started with the then-current NBC "In Living Color" peacock.
  • At various times, airing pilots that (for the most part) didn't sell. Marathons of the unsold games aired in 1998 and 2000 as "Game Show Turkeys" and "Raise the Dead", respectively. Among the pilots aired there (and elsewhere) were, in chronological order of taping:
    • The Match Game (December 5, 1962), with a slightly different format to the series that aired for the next seven years. The very beginning of the franchise aired on December 25, 2012 to lead off a Match Game marathon, and is currently the oldest pilot ever shown by GSN. (The credit crunch lasted until just after the show did, allowing NBC's "THIS PROGRAM WAS REPRODUCED BY THE KINEPHOTO PROCESS" notation to appear.)
    • Let's Make a Deal (May 25, 1963), very different compared to the earliest circulating episode (December 30, 1968). This pilot was aired as a standalone special with an introduction by modern-day Monty Hall, the inclusion of his (rather sexist) sales pitch, and even the NBC "In Living Color" and "snake" IDs.
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    • The Game Game (1969), an obscure Chuck Barris entry based around psychoanalysis, probably best known as his first foray into syndication.
    • He Said, She Said (1969), with one celebrity couple (Gene and Helen Rayburn) playing against three civilian couples.
    • Second Guessers (December 29, 1969), an unsold Bob Stewart format with an audience that couldn't wait to leave.
    • Monday Night Quarterback (late 1970), an unsold Stewart game hosted by Jerry Kramer that centered on calling football plays (specifically, the St. Louis Cardinals games of September 27 and October 25, 1970).
    • Says Who? (May 28, 1971), another unsold Stewart production and the first game hosted by Geoff Edwards.
    • Cop-Out! (February 15, 1972), an unsold Barris game hosted by Geoff Edwards where the broken format and eight-celebrity panel mean the entire game hinges on the last answer...which is also the only one anybody gets right. (Two pilots were made {three according to Barris}, but GSN only aired #2.)
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    • The Parent Game (1972), with a slightly different set and Charlie O'Donnell announcing. Recycled into the first episode of the series, which is how GSN reran it.
    • The $10,000 Sweep (August 4, 1972), an umsold Stewart show hosted by Jack Clark; notable for showing its tapedate on a giant check in the opening.
    • Match Game (May 19, 1973), with a slightly different set to the one used until 1978. (Two pilots were made, but GSN only aired Pilot A as part of a Match Game marathon on December 25, 2012.)
    • Hollywood Connection (May 20, 1975), a Barry-Enright format that eventually aired from 1977-78; this pilot was aired during GSN's Faux Pause and was arguably one of their few targets to have actually deserved it.
    • Shoot the Works (1976), a Stewart format which sold as Shoot For the Stars. (Two pilots were made, but GSN only aired #1, featuring Anita Gillette and Bill Cullen.)
    • The Riddlers (November 4, 1977), an unsold Stewart format helmed by David Letterman - who turns out to be the only thing that really makes it watchable. (Two pilots were made, but GSN only aired #1.)
      • Dave may have been joking (or his memory was foggy), but he stated during this 1991 interview with Michael McKean that The Riddlers was so bad they originally planned to tape #2, but the producers came up to Dave after #1 and said "Iiiii think we got what we need, Dave..."
    • Get Rich Quick! (November 30, 1977), the first attempt by Stewart to make the format of Go. Notable for the contestant area looking quite a bit like Pyramid, as well as using a Bonus Round not seen in any Stewart game before or since.
    • 3's A Crowd (December 1978/early 1979), three pilots with a better-looking set and host Jim Peck lacking the goofy "perm" he sported when the show somehow made it to air. Recycled into the first three episodes of the series, which is how GSN reran them.
    • Dollar A Second (February 7, 1981), a Barris attempt to revive the Jan Murray-hosted classic. Notable for host Bob Eubanks outright saying it's a pilot within the first minute.
    • Twisters (March 1982), an unsold Stewart game (notice a pattern here?) hosted by Jim Perry that's pretty much a big blend of Stewart elements and cues with a shuffleboard thrown in (because why not?).
    • The New Newlywed Game (February 13-17, 1984), a special Valentine's Week aired on ABC with a slightly different set to the eventual series, Rod Roddy announcing, and Jim Lange hosting. (GSN aired #1 and #5.)
    • Match Game (October 1, 1989), with Bert Convy hosting on pretty much the same set as the eventual 1990-91 series. Interestingly, the format is PM mixed with the "two points per match in the last round" rule of the eventual 1998-99 revival, with no Match-Ups in sight. (Five pilots were made, but GSN only aired #3 to conclude its Match Game marathon on December 25, 2012.)
  • The "Feast of Favorites" in 2002 and '03 where on Thanksgiving Day, GSN dedicated 12 hours to the top 12 favorite games as voted on in a fan poll. Despite having not been on the network in several years, The Joker's Wild was #2 and appeared again the second year, where massive voting among the fanbase pushed Bullseye (which had seldom been seen on GSN before) into the #6 slot. Even Masters Of The Maze was apparently a voting option, but didn't get on the air (and one wonders how they even got the rights, which likely are held by Disney, since it was an original series on Freeform when it was the Family Channel).
  • "The 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time" showed the rarely-seen Bullseye and 1970s Treasure Hunt, plus an episode of Shop 'Til You Drop (which had never aired on GSN before).
  • Almost any time the network randomly decides to dig up some show that's otherwise rarely aired by them for a special occasion. Rather notable is the Wheel of Fortune marathon run after Merv Griffin's death, which was great all the way through; particularly notable were three episodes of the (not aired before or since by GSN) daytime version, including one hosted by...Chuck Woolery? From 18 months in (June 7, 1976)?!
  • After Dennis James' death in 1997, showing an episode of The Price Is Right with him hosting. (Granted, it was a daytime show from Christmas Day '74 while he was pinch-hitting for Bob, but still!)
  • In 1999 while re-running episodes of Password in the mid 90's, The network decided to show the unaired episode of Password Plus for the first time where George Peppard did his infamous rant about NBC standards and practices (The episode in fact was originally going to air on NBC on June 11, 1979, but was pulled from airing because of Peppard's rant and moved up that week shows by one day and filmed an extra episode with next week's celebrities to make up for the pulled episode and George Peppard was banned from ever appearing on a Mark Goodson/Bill Todman Productions Game Show ever again.)
  • This was the whole point of "Game of the Week" (GOTW), an episode of a short-lived and/or rare game. Among these were three games that have only one full episode known to exist apiece — Number Please (May 1961), Eye Guess (November 8, 1967), and Winning Streak (August 9, 1974).
  • "Wide World of Games" had a few similar elements to GOTW, and among the rare games shown here were two episodes each of The Better Sex and The Fun Factory.
  • Airing two episodes of Art Fleming's Jeopardy! — the 2,000th NBC show (February 21, 1972) as a GOTW, and Fleming's Grand Finale (March 2, 1979) during the Y2Play marathon on December 31, 1999.
  • Airing Game Show Moments Gone Bananas, a series of clip-filled VH-1 specials consisting entirely of Fremantle Media-owned games (NBC owns Concentration), mainly since it was pretty much the only time GSN would be showing some of the stuff GSMGB featured. Little did anybody know...
  • One thing GSN used to do to cover the gap when Daylight Saving Time ended every Fall was to air a special show in the "second" 1:00-2:00 AM hour, usually Halloween-related. The final time they did this, in 2006, it was the Halloween '94 episode of Family Feud - which hadn't been seen in over seven years!
  • After Richard Dawson died in June 2012, GSN aired a special marathon of Match Game and Family Feud episodes. One Feud episode was his first taping back as host in 1994, which hadn't been seen in over a decade!
    • Pulling out the Halloween '94 episode again for a very surprise airing near Halloween 2016 also qualifies. Notably, it was the first Dawson-hosted Feud episode to air on the network since his original run was removed from the lineup in 2013.
  • Getting Press Your Luck back on the schedule in 2012...and starting with the 1983 premiere. Granted, it was only the first ten weeks (September 19-November 25), but it brought some episodes out of the vault and answered some lingering questions about the show's earliest days.
    • On April 1, 2013, they added 57 of the next 59 episodes, skipping #51 (which circulates from a USA repeat, so no real loss there in the end) and #66 (which had actually been scrapped after taping and replaced by #67); the last new-to-GSN episode was February 20, 1984 (#109) — the one right before the first episode GSN had aired when they first showed Press repeats in 2001.
    • And on September 29, 2014, they picked up where they had left off years earlier (in late 1985) with #561 (November 18, 1985), continuing on its merry way into 1986. Much like the 2012-13 leases, this brought some episodes out of the vault and answered some lingering questions about this timespan - considerably more. The last new-to-GSN episode was #696 (May 28, 1986), a mere 14 shows before the massive Round 2 cheapening on #710 (June 17, 1986).
      • While GSN originally scheduled the December 23-26, 1985 shows (585-588) for the week of November 10, 2014, these were pulled in favor of jumping to the first 4:00 PM episode (January 6, 1986) — skipping the same two weeks USA Network had skipped back in the day. As it turned out, they'd moved those to airing on December 24-25 as a marathon, alongside the other eight skipped shows.
  • The Match Game marathon of December 25, 2012. Rather than stick to the then-current package, GSN aired episodes from across the 1962-99 runs (barring The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour due to dual ownership), including three pilots; sure, two of those had already been circulating among collectors for years, but airing a 1989 pilot was a triumph. So was airing a 1998 episode for the first time ever, even if it wasn't that great.
  • Picking up 65 episodes of Sale of the Century on April 1, 2013, ranging from November 10, 1988 through the March 24, 1989 finale (skipping, for the most part, holiday-themed shows). Cue the Flying Pigs, indeed.
    • And for Black Friday 2013, GSN began airing the syndicated Sale, starting from the January 7, 1985 premiere. They began with the first eight episodes on Black Friday, moving directly to #S-009 on December 2 for the regular schedule and continuing straight through #S-068 (April 10, 1985), skipping three episodes along the way.
    • On September 29, 2014, the syndicated run was picked up where it left off, going all the way to #S-196 (February 17, 1986).
  • Also on December 2, 2013, picking up Shop 'Til You Drop for regular airing, starting with #001 (the PAX debut and start of Season 7) and going straight through to #8100 (the end of Season 8, and the last show before the "megastore" overhaul), skipping a few episodes along the way.
    • Right after airing #8100, they jumped all the way back to Season 6 (1997) and aired the first eight episodes of that season. They eventually returned to that season, picking up where they left off, on March 30, 2015.
    • On June 17, 2015, the day after they aired #265 (the last show of Season 6 and the end of the Family Channel run), GSN jumped back to Season 3 (1993!) and aired three episodes from there. (Unfortunately, while the network did list ten more episodes - including what appeared to be three Season 4 shows - in its advance schedules for June 22-July 3, these were all replaced.)
  • Airing Let's Make a Deal as part of a Monty Hall tribute on October 8, 2017. They went all-out towards the end of the marathon by airing four episodes from the last season of the 1971-77 syndicated run (when the show moved to Las Vegas), including the finale.


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