In a rather unusual move, Tribune-owned WGN-TV has slotted Craig Ferguson’s new game show, Celebrity Name Game from Debmar-Mercury at 10 p.m., starting September 22.
As first reported by Robert Feder, Name Game would replace the failed revival of The Arsenio Hall Show, which was canceled in May. While other stations have downgraded Arsenio since its cancellation was announced, WGN is still running repeats of the show at 10 p.m., which are earning only a 1.0 household rating and a 0.4 rating among adults 25-54.
What makes the slotting of Name Game unusual is generally, game shows are usually scheduled for either prime access (6:30-8 p.m.), early fringe (afternoon), or daytime slots. But WGN decided to air the show in late fringe – not exactly the ideal slot for such fare (in 1990, the failed revivals of The Joker’s Wild and Tic Tac Tough did air in late fringe, but were slotted at 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. respectively by NBC-owned WMAQ-TV and received similar treatment by WNBC-TV in New York.)
The last time a game show aired at 10 p.m. in Chicago was in the early 1990’s when the Ray Combs-hosted edition of Family Feud, which aired on WGBO and later WPWR. On WPWR, Feud often averaged a 4.5 household rating in the time slot (the latest incarnation of Feud, now hosted by Steve Harvey, airs at 5 p.m. on WPWR and is also syndicated by Debmar-Mercury.)
WGN aired syndicated game show (Street Smarts) at 11 p.m. in the late 1990’s, but that program was targeted to late fringe.
Currently, WLS-TV dominated the 10 p.m. slot, as it has for decades, with Eyewitness News in households and key demos.
Created by Courtney Cox and her ex-husband David Arquette and based on the board game Identity Crisis, Celebrity Name Game features contestants who try to identify celebrities and fictional characters. The WGN clearance is part of a larger deal made with Tribune Broadcasting, whose major-market stations are also carrying the show, in addition to those owned by CBS, Gannett, and Sinclair.
So far, no other local station has revealed their plans for fall, though WCIU has already begun airing promos for reruns of Mike & Molly, which debuts in off-network this September.
– Meanwhile, Twentieth Television quietly began testing two first-run strips that up until Monday, yours truly (and no one else) has never heard of – and unlike past tests, both are airing in the Chicagoland area.
According to B&C, both Hollywood Daily Live and The Daily Helpline have faltered at the starting line: Airing in nine markets HDL has notched a 0.4/1 household rating/share, while Helpline earned a 0.1/0.
Hollywood Daily Live airs at 1 p.m. on WFLD-TV; Daily Helpline airs at Noon on WPWR. Both stations are owned by Fox. This marks the first time both Chicago stations have been used in tests; generally, Chicago is skipped in favor of smaller markets in the Midwest. Last year’s Kris (with Kris Jenner) and this winter’s Serch (tested on Tribune stations) never aired in the Chicago area.
Judging by the promos for HDL and Daily Line (which you could watch here), Viewers here and in eight other markets can easily “skip” these programs.