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The Game Show Convention Center
December 12, 1999

CDT




Does Fox Still Feel the Need???

        In answer to dozens of e-mails: I don't know what Fox is waiting on. Period! Greed is not going to ever have the mania of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Not close. However, by every standard Fox and other networks judge a program, Greed should have already had a full-season renewal.
       Here's a show which was thrown into the wolfpack in 17 days after the agreement was made with Fox. The show has some flaws, sure. It's not the warm game Millionaire is and unless you have someone with guts like Dan Avila or hair like Curtis Warren, you won't get to know these people well.
       Yet, in the race to get into the quiz show sweepstakes, Greed has performed respectably. Take a look at the sheer stats. Greed has virtually tripled the rating of its predecessor Action, which was one of Fox's most-touted comedies of the fall. Twice, the show has finished second in its time period. Friday night, Greed came within six-tenths of a point of winning its time slot. The demographics are good. Thursday night's episode increased its lead-in audience by nearly 25 per cent. A week ago, the second half-hour of Greed was Fox's fourth highest-rated show.
       The ratings have leveled off at around the 7 level and that's better than a lot of the current hapless Fox lineup. If anything, this network has relied far too long on Simpsons-clone animation and is looking too hard for the next 90210. When a network has to take its top hit, Ally McBeal and carve a second half-hour "retrospective" of that series every week, you know its development is sorely lacking.
       What does Fox expect? When Good Game Show Contestants Go Bad? When Terminators Destroy Terminatees? World's Wildest Greed Terminators?
       Is Fox worried about being hit for a potential $2 million payout. Perish the thought. This game's questions are too based on opinion and the numbers of choices are too against the percentages for that jackpot to be broken. Dan Avila may have come as close as anyone is ever going to approach. Besides, if Rupert Murdoch's people are worried about that price tag---consider this: this is the same network which two years ago offered $11 million per week to Warner Bros. in an effort to spirit away ER from NBC.
       Is Fox worried about no potential rerun value in these shows? There's a network owned by Sony which appears to be backing away from anything regarded as "classic." Keep Greed on for 50-75 weeks and I'm sure the Game Show Network folks would make at least a low-end offer to show this one again, even as just a weekend offering. Then, again, never let me second-guess GSN. I'm not sure what those people will do.
       Candidly, this show was rushed so quickly, the network and Dick Clark Productions haven't been prepared enough to do enough ancillary licensing and merchandising to reinforce this show. The official Fox website pales in comparison to ABC's and ITV's for Millionaire. No evidence is around the corner of any CD game, board game or T-shirt/sweatshirt/baseball cap vendors for Greed. Those are intangibles which help build the identity of a series and reinforce its name value with young people. I've had readers clamoring for me to find out where they can get a Greed logo item of clothing and I have to tell them I don't have a clue because it hasn't been created. The Millionaire websites offer you screensavers, desktop wallpaper and cuts of the show's music. Go to greedtv.com and you have an outlet to vent your feelings about the show but little else.
       Is Fox worried about being lost in the shuffle when CBS and NBC bring on their quiz show artillery in January and February? If that's the confidence level of the network, logic suggests Greed should never have gone on the air at all.
       I honestly don't know what's going to happen. I have no more of a crystal ball than any of you. However, with only one more firm go week of the series (next Thursday) on the schedule, Fox is either going to announce an extended pickup this week, or The Terminator may be about to eliminate Greed itself. Still, look around the entire climate of the Fox schedule and find much doing demonstrably better. You can't.
       Yet, no one has ever made a living overestimating the perceptiveness of television network executives. For a network which gave us When Animals Attack with such pride, Fox is exhibiting far more hold-your-nose cautiousness with Greed.
       Maybe Fox has one better up its sleeve: perhaps a revival of You're in the Picture?

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Copyright 1999 Steve Beverly. This page last updated July 27, 1999.