Television cable network founded in 1994, dedicated to the Game Show genre. In particular, Game Show Network was founded to air reruns of classic TV game shows from the 1950s onward. Starting in the late 1990s, the network began creating its own, starting with live call-in programs and eventually branching out into original formats and revivals of obscure formats.
At first, the network's rerun lineup ran the gamut from Goodson-Todman stalwarts such as The Price Is Right, Password, Family Feud, and Match Game to other familiar programs owned by Sony (such as Pyramid, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Tic-Tac-Dough, The Newlywed Game, and The Joker's Wild). Over time, the lineup has undergone countless changes, thanks in no small part to some degree of Network Decay.
The current schedule is sometimes criticized by fans for relying too much on fairly recent material (Deal or No Deal, the Sherri Shepherd version of The Newlywed Game, the Steve Harvey seasons of Family Feud) and material that doesn't quite qualify as game shows (High Stakes Poker, Dancing with the Stars, Family Trade, Skin Wars).
The network officially shortened its name to "GSN" in 2004, but has referred to itself by its former moniker on several occasions since. In August 2012, GSN began using "Game Show Network" under the logo in promos for The Pyramid, which quickly spread to the credit crunches (amusingly, in a vertical style reminiscent of the original 1994-97 logo). In 2013, GSN began referring to itself explicitly in its promos as "Game Show Network" for the first time in nearly a decade; this lasted several months. GSN tried doing this again starting in late 2017; time will tell if this sticks.
In 2015, the network gained competition in the form of Buzzr, a new digital subchannel network run by Fremantle Media. Buzzr is airing the programs they own that are not part of GSN's lineup (barring Match Game and Card Sharks) and is currently in several markets with a planned nationwide rollout.
Original GSN programming, counting revivals of existing formats:
- America Says
- American Bible Challenge
- As Seen On... (series that basically consisted of clips)
- Big Saturday Night
- Bingo America (semi-revival of National Bingo Night, using the same ball cage)
- Black And White Overnite (also known as "Sunday Night In Black & White")
- Burt Luddin's Love Buffet
- Camouflage (hidden words rather than hidden pictures)
- Carnie Wilson: Unstapled
- Catch 21 (revival of Gambit)
- Chain Reaction (revival of 1980s-90s game show)
- The Chase (update of the UK show)
- Chuck Woolery: Naturally Stoned
- Club A.M. (and its successor, GSN Live)
- DJ Games
- Decades (and its revival, Super Decades)
- Divided (based on UK series)
- Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza
- Extreme Gong (revival of The Gong Show)
- Faux Pause (essentially Mystery Science Theater 3000 with game shows, only really terrible)
- Friend or Foe?
- Grand Slam (US debut of a British format)
- Hollywood Showdown
- How Much Is Enough?
- Late Night Liars
- Lingo (revivals of 1980s game show)
- Lovers Lounge
- Mall Masters
- The Money List (revival of FOX's one-and-done The Rich List)
- National Lampoon's Funny Money
- The Newlywed Game (2009 revival)
- 1 vs. 100 (Carrie Ann Inaba revival)
- The Pyramid (2012 revival)
- Russian Roulette
- Skin Wars (Body-painting reality show with professional body painters)
- Skin Wars: Fresh Paint (Body-painting reality show with people from several artistic fields doing body painting for the first time)
- That's the Question
- Throut And Neck
- Trivia Track
- Whammy! (revival of the 1980s Press Your Luck)
- When Did That Happen?
This network provides examples of:
- Ad Bumpers: They occasionally do ones themed to both reruns of old shows, and to their original works.
- April Fools' Day: In 2003, the hosts of the network's original shows at the time traded places, except for Chuck Woolery who stayed with Lingo. That day's Lingo featured four of the hosts playing a charity game against each other, with remaining host Todd Newton serving as announcer/comic relief. note
- Credits Pushback: Originally nonexistent. Until 1999, the only thing Game Show Network did during the credits was a brief, unobtrusive voiceover for other network programming that echoed those of the classic games and was typically placed over the "coming up" voiceovers of the original episode.
- From 1999-2001, the credits were horizontally crunched for a brief promo, with the show on the right side and from 2001-04, both show and promo in square boxes. In both cases, everything was still legible and the show generally .
- Since the change to GSN, the crunches have become annoying to the point of illegibility, taking up about 90% of the screen and moving on to the next show when the promos conclude, cutting off the Vanity Plates on most shows and almost always nullifying the fee plugs read by The Announcer (though those, strangely, are still closed-captioned).
- They at least had the decency not to crunch Let's Make a Deal (since Monty Hall made mini-deals with the audience throughout the credits) or some of the Black And White Overnite shows.
- Kids Block: During GSN's heyday, "Kids Zone", a block of kids/teen episodes of adult game shows (e.g., "Teen Week" of Wheel of Fortune), kids versions of adult game shows (e.g., Joker! Joker! Joker!, Jep! and Wheel 2000) and kids-only programs (Juvenile Jury, The Quiz Kids Challenge) was aired on Saturday mornings.
- After the "Dark Period" ended in 1998, these programs often included commentary cut in by a "Junior GSN Ball" and adult host Adrian R'Mante (usually when an announcer would stumble over copy, host-contestant interaction, the kids were being themselves, etc.), which most viewers found very annoying instead of cute or humorous.
- The Remake: Done often to obscurities. The Woolery-hosted revival of Lingo was by far the best received, while Catch 21 is considered a worthy Gambit revamp with minimal changes to what had been a winning format (along with being heralded as Merrill Heatter's return to TV after nearly 20 years). Whammy was considered a worthy successor to the original Press Your Luck despite needless format changes such as Double Whammies and the ill-conceived Big Bank round, and though he didn't hold a candle to Peter Tomarken, Todd Newton was still seen as a competent, enjoyable host. The Dylan Lane-hosted Chain Reaction returned the mental agility that was the Instant Reaction bonus game, but was tempered by clueless contestants and Lane's generally sucky hosting (Mike Catherwood's version is generally well received, with Catherwood being more genial). Extreme Gong and Bill Engvall's Lingo, on the other hand...