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Game Show Network (also known as GSN) is an American basic cable channel owned by Sony Pictures Television. The channel's programming is primarily dedicated to game shows, including reruns of acquired game shows, along with new, first-run original and revived game shows. The network has also previously aired reality competition series and televised poker. As of October 2019, Game Show Network claimed that it was available to "nearly 75 million" households in America, primarily through traditional cable and satellite services. The network and its original programming is also available on streaming and Internet television services, including Philo, fuboTV, Sling TV, Plex, and Pluto TV.

History



1994–2004: As "Game Show Network"

On May 7, 1992, Sony Pictures Entertainment joined forces with the United Video Satellite Group to launch Game Show Channel, which was set to begin in 1993. The announcement of the channel was made by SPE president Mel Harris. Sony Pictures' holdings included those by Merv Griffin Enterprises and Barris Industries, Inc. SPE was in competition with The Family Channel in launching a game show-oriented channel when The Family Channel announced the launch of its own service called Game Channel. On December 2, 1992, Sony Pictures Entertainment made a deal to acquire the Barry & Enright game show library, and in a separate deal, struck a 10-year licensing agreement for the rights to the Mark Goodson game show library of more than 20,000 episodes including among others, ''What's My Line?'', ''Family Feud'', and ''To Tell the Truth''. Upon the deal, Sony said it would sell an equity stake in the network to Mark Goodson Productions, including the production of new original series by Jonathan Goodson Productions. Both deals were completed on December 7, 1992, eleven days before Mark Goodson's death. On June 6, 1994, Mark Goodson Productions pulled out of the venture. Game Show Network launched at 7:00 p.m. on December 1, 1994. The first aired game show was ''What's My Line?''. By the launch date the network had secured rights to over 40,000 episodes from the libraries of several game show production companies and corporate parent Sony. The initial lineup was exclusively acquired programming such as ''Match Game'', ''Family Feud'', ''Newlywed Game'', ''Jeopardy!'' and ''Wheel of Fortune''. The network eventually began producing original game shows such as ''Lingo'', ''Whammy!'', ''Inquizition'', and ''Extreme Gong''. In 2001, a massive change in both leadership and programming at the network took place when Liberty Media acquired a 50% stake. Both president Michael Fleming and vice president Jake Tauber departed and former ABC Family/Fox Family Channel president Rich Cronin was hired to head the network.

2004–2017: As "GSN"

On March 15, 2004, Game Show Network began using the abbreviation "GSN" online (but kept the words Game Show Network legally) and introduced the tagline "The Network for Games." A key acquisition for the network was the ABC game show ''Who Wants to Be a Millionaire''. The show proved to be a ratings hit for GSN and anchored its prime time programming for several years. GSN began expanding its programming to include reality television games and various competition-based programs. The network introduced non-traditional originals such as ''World Series of Blackjack'', ''Extreme Dodgeball'', and ''High Stakes Poker''. GSN would also air reruns of reality competitions such as ''The Mole'' and ''Spy TV''. Along with its new format, GSN would continue to produce traditional game shows, including new seasons of ''Lingo'' and a revival of ''Chain Reaction''. David Goldhill succeeded Rich Cronin as GSN president on August 1, 2007. A high definition simulcast feed of the network was launched on September 15, 2010 During this period GSN made an important acquisition of Steve Harvey's version of ''Family Feud'' and rapidly expanded its use on the network. The show became a critical part of the network's schedule and continues to anchor its prime time lineup. Another notable acquisition was Fox show ''Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader''. GSN also debuted original game shows such as ''Catch 21'', ''Baggage'', and a new version of British game show ''The Chase''. GSN scored its greatest ratings success to date with the 2012 debut of ''American Bible Challenge'', which drew an audience of nearly two million viewers. A notable non-traditional original was ''Skin Wars'', a body-painting competition that debuted in August, 2014. The network produced interactive program blocks during this period, including ''GSN Live'' and ''Playmania''. In March 2011, DirecTV (which by this point had taken over Liberty Media's then-65% stake in the network) sold a 5% stake in the network back to Sony Pictures Entertainment. Although DirecTV nominally remained the majority owner, it had ceded control of the network to Sony, and had the right to force Sony to increase its stake in GSN to 58%. On November 8, 2012, DirecTV sold an 18% interest in GSN to Sony. GSN partnered with Vubiquity to launch "GSN On Demand" on August 15, 2013.


2017–present: Return to "Game Show Network"


In April 2017, David Goldhill stepped down after nearly 10 years as GSN president, the longest tenure for any president to date. He was succeeded by Mark Feldman in August 2017. Beginning in November 2017, the network would refer to itself in promos by its full name. This was an indication that the network was abandoning non-traditional programming such as ''Skin Wars'' and ''Window Warriors'' in favor of more traditional game shows like ''Winsanity'', ''Emogenius'' and ''Divided''. On October 1, 2018 the network officially returned to using its full name and introduced a new logo to coincide with the return to its original branding. New original shows introduced during this period included ''America Says'', ''Common Knowledge'', ''People Puzzler'' and a new version of ''Catch 21''. In April 2020, Game Show Network debuted ''Master Minds'', a retooled version of the previous ''Best Ever Trivia Show'', notable for the starring role of ''Jeopardy!'' champion Ken Jennings. DirecTV's stake in Game Show Network would move to AT&T when it acquired the service in 2015. On November 18, 2019, it was announced that Sony had acquired AT&T's 42% stake. A list of 2020 Nielsen ratings published by ''Variety'' indicated that Game Show Network averaged 432,000 viewers in prime time, up 6% from the 2019 average.

Programming



Current originals and acquisitions

Current original programming on Game Show Network as of February 2021 includes ''Master Minds'', ''America Says'', ''Common Knowledge'', ''Catch 21'', ''People Puzzler'', ''Chain Reaction'' and ''Get a Clue''. The network says that it currently programs more hours of original shows than at any time in its previous history. The most important acquired program on the network as of December 2020 is Steve Harvey's ''Family Feud''. Other current acquisitions include ''Cash Cab'', ''Match Game'', and ''Deal or No Deal''.

Syndication and digital streaming

GSN began syndicating some of its original programming to other channels in the early 2010s. On June 24, 2013, the channel entered into an agreement with Bounce TV, giving it the broadcast rights to ''The Newlywed Game'', ''Catch 21'', and ''The American Bible Challenge''. ''The American Bible Challenge'' aired in reruns on UP in fall 2013 and again in spring 2015. ''Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza'' aired on Laff in 2015. Reruns of ''America Says'' aired in syndication during the 2019-20 season. In March 2020, the network launched Game Show Central, a digital streaming channel broadcasting archived original programming. The network is currently available on Samsung and Vizio smart television sets and ViacomCBS-owned AVOD platform Pluto TV (which also carries rival network Buzzr). Game Show Central features both current GSN originals like ''America Says'' and older shows such as ''Cram'', ''Friend or Foe?'', ''Minute To Win It'', and ''Baggage''. The Roku Channel picked up the service (with a somewhat different schedule and roster of shows compared to the Pluto TV stream) later in 2020. The service was made available globally via Plex in late July 2020.

Online gaming

In 2007, Liberty Media acquired the Toronto-based FUN Technologies, operator of the popular online tournament casual game website WorldWinner. Following the acquisition, Liberty began to extend the GSN brand into online gaming by re-branding WorldWinner as a GSN service. GSN also launched a social gaming app on Facebook, now known as GSN Casino, featuring skill and casino games along with competitive tournaments. By October 2010, GSN Casino had over 8 million active users. GSN also developed a ''Wheel of Fortune'' app for Facebook, released in 2010. GSN also published GSN Casino mobile apps, featuring various slot machine and bingo games in 2013, ''GSN Casino'' was the 10th highest grossing app for iPad on the App Store. In January 2014, GSN acquired Bitrhymes Inc., developers of the social and mobile games ''Bingo Bash'' and ''Slots Bash'', for an undisclosed amount. GSN had sued Bitrhymes in November 2013 following its prior offer to acquire the company, arguing that it had attempted to back out of its offer and accept a different one during GSN's exclusive negotiation period. In November 2014, the network announced that a show based on ''Bingo Bash'' was in development for Game Show Network's 2015 slate of original programming.

See also

* Buzzr - a digital multicast network showcasing vintage game shows. * Challenge - a British channel devoted to airing game shows and competition-based programs. * GameTV - a Canadian channel that airs game shows and general entertainment programming. * Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids - a now-defunct channel that aired Nickelodeon-produced game shows. * Questions and Answers - a Russian channel devoted to game shows. * The Game Channel - a Philippine channel focused on family game shows and reality shows.

References



External links

* {{Sony Corp Category:Television networks in the United States Category:Sony Pictures Television Category:Television channels and stations established in 1994 Category:English-language television stations in the United States Category:Game shows Category:1994 establishments in California