Cancellations and Second Lives in Reruns
Originally posted: March 25, 2011

Text by: Cyndi Seidelman

It has been recently reported by various sources that both Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader and Don't Forget The Lyrics have been cancelled and won't be returning in September. After that news was reported, The Hub recently picked up over 300 episodes of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, which is pretty much the entire Syndicated run, save for shows made specifically for CMT. While it may seem weird for a cancelled game show to automatically jump to another network in reruns, it's a practice that's been used by cable networks for decades.

I mean, let's face it. Everybody remembers the game show blocks that both USA and the Family Channel had in the late 80s-early 90s. Classics such as The All-New Let's Make A Deal, The Gong Show, Win, Lose, or Draw, Tic Tac Dough, The Joker's Wild, Face The Music, Split Second, Bullseye, Hollywood Squares, Press Your Luck, Scrabble, Sale of the Century and countless others filled out the mid-day timeslots for those networks in an attempt to bring in viewers. Overall, they were successes and brought in new viewers to those shows and are fondly remembered by many a game show fan and a non-game show fan, especially in the form of Press Your Luck.

While all of those shows would either vanish off the airwaves completely or move on to another network, the practice would continue when the game show renaissance happened in 2000 with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. All the networks wanted a piece of the pie and it made for more programming to be available. The biggest notice of this was Greed. When it got cancelled by FOX, for reasons that still bewilder everyone, it was immediately picked up by GSN and brought in more viewers to that network, because it was a hit for FOX. When Twenty-One got cancelled, PAX immediately snapped it up and aired all the episodes, plus shows that NBC didn't air. They would follow suit with Weakest Link when it went off the air due to oversaturation of Celebrity shows. Not only that, they would also get the syndicated Weakest Link after the show was canned because of low ratings thanks to a changed format. It should also be noted that PAX also brought in reruns of Supermarket Sweep and Shop 'til You Drop for a year or two before making new episodes of both, getting a return on those investments.

More recently, GSN has done this more often than not with picking up of cancelled Network shows and Syndicated shows such as Deal or No Deal, 1 Vs. 100, Who Wants to be a Millionaire (Primetime version and for a short-while, the first two seasons of syndie Millionaire), The Mole, and The Amazing Race. Not to mention The American Life Network or ALN, which used to be GoodlifeTV aired Let's Go Back (a future GSG induction hosted by Scott Sternberg) and more recently, Merv Griffin's Crosswords (another future GSG induction hosted by Ty Treadway).

Not only is it a good sense of business to pick up these shows on the cheap, they also can use the profit they use on these shows to make new programming or pick up more classic programming to make sure that their schedules remain full. It's an old, but good practice that keeps viewers happy and makes money for the networks and production companies. So, there's a little history lesson, and I hope you all watch The Hub when they re-air 5th grader and when they debut the 2nd season of Family Game Night.

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