Updated: Late Summer/Early Fall Game Show Premiere Dates and Preview Guide
That exciting time of the year is almost upon us – the start of the fall season! There’s a lot of extra excitement in this season that I’ll outline for you below. You might want to bookmark this article for future reference, as this will cover many of the questions that are sent our way this time of year: “When does x premiere?” You will find a schedule of times and dates for the season premiere of every major game show in syndication, on network and on cable. Also included are previews of what to expect in each show and, for existing programs, what’s going to change and when you should expect to see it. This is a wide-covering experience that I hope will pump you up for the interesting set of shows coming our way in just a couple of weeks. Here they are, listed in order of premiere date.
Thursday, August 23rd
The American Bible Challenge (GSN, 8PM ET)
Probably the most controversial entrant to the new TV season is GSN’s American Bible Challenge. Jeff Foxworthy leads a tournament of 18 teams, 3 playing per each show to win money for their favorite faith-based charity. Press releases and interviews have made it clear that the program is only going to be testing the factual items included in the book, not the interpretations of them. I honestly don’t have a prediction for this program’s success because it could truly go either way. If you’re interested, tune in to the premiere date or DVR one of the ten repeats that are sure to occur in the following week.
Beat the Chefs (GSN, 9PM ET)
Beat the Chefs, straddling the boundary between reality competition and game show, premieres immediately after Bible. A “home-based” team of amateur cooks will pit their best dish against what a team of professional cooks can conjure up. If the panel of judges finds the homestyle meal more appetizing, that team will split the $20,000 grand prize. Two different challenges may be featured per hour-long episode. This, like Bible, will likely be seen again and again on GSN’s schedule if you miss it the first time.
Monday, September 3rd
The Pyramid (GSN, 6PM ET)
Potentiallyy the most highly anticipated new entrant into the game show market in years is the first new series of Pyramid in eight years. Hosted by Mike Richards, most signs point to this being highly faithful to the most fondly remembered version of the classic word game. This could be a make or break show as far as GSN’s revivals and remakes of programs go. Get a look at the game’s format and a list of celebrities who will be appearing. If you want to show your support early, a special sneak preview will air at 10PM ET on Thursday, August 30th immediately after Beat the Chefs.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Syndicated, check local listings)
Nothing completely new looks to be happening to Meredith’s million dollar game. The shuffle format will be in tact with occasional Double Your Money Weeks, the traditional Movie Week and this season, a previously used specialty event in College Week will return. They’re taping in a beautiful new studio, however and you can get a sneak preview of some gameplay on it here.
Monday, September 10th
Family Feud (Syndicated, check local listings)
Steve Harvey enters his third season hosting the Feud, which is overall this version’s 14th season. If available in your area, this will be the show’s first year in high-definition. No gameplay changes will be prevalent, but there are some updates to the set which you can see in this preview. In many markets, time slots will be changing for the better and some station changes will occur. Make sure you find out what time the program will air as the airdate gets closer.
Monday, September 17th
Baggage (Syndicated, check local listings)
You may have forgotten about this one, but with around 200 episodes produced for GSN, Baggage is being put into the syndicated market with these seasons. NBCUniversal tested this in limited markets last year and will now be syndicating this package to local stations which, to some people, may seem like an entirely new series. To our knowledge no new episodes will be produced for this but if you missed some of them on GSN the first time around, catch them on a broadcaster near you.
Jeopardy! (Syndicated, check local listings)
This season will feature the debut of the highly-anticipated Triple Jeopardy triple or nothing bonus round. …No, I’m just kidding. As it’s been since 1984, virtually nothing will change about the show. There is a new background design for the logo with a new opening video, Alex Trebek will return to hosting from his minor heart scare in June and that will be that.
Let’s Ask America (Syndicated in limited markets, check local listings)
Let’s Ask America, the Skype-based game show created by Scripps to replace Wheel of Fortune and/or Jeopardy! on their stations, begins airing in seven markets: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Phoenix, Tampa and Tulsa. Later in the season, after previous deals expire, the shows will be seen in the Bakersfield, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, San Diego and West Palm Beach markets. If these are successes, the Kevin Pereira show will be syndicated nationally next year. It’s a simple format with a new concept being brought to the big forefront for the first time and I hope it works out.
Wheel of Fortune (Syndicated, check local listings)
Wheel is one show that you can usually expect changes from every season and this year, celebrating its 30th anniversary in syndication, is no different. The rounds and the round order introduced last season will be staying the same. The permanently added ½ Car tags will be sticking around but they will not always feature Kia automobiles. As has been common in recent years by adding $500 to landing on special spaces like the Jackpot or the car pieces, that award will now be applied to the Wild Card. And, for the first time in nearly 15 years, the configuration of the spaces on the wheel will be getting a major makeover. User “MarioGS” created a wheel graphic representing the layout which you can view here. A fun fact: The “$650″ value on this wheel hasn’t been used on the program since Chuck Woolery was host. A minor set upgrade is the expansion of the video screens used to display scores, visible here from the Wheel Facebook page’s sneak peek at “Bed & Breakfast” week. They now make up the entirety of the portion below the protective padded railing.
Sunday, September 23rd
Family Game Night (The Hub, 7 PM ET)
With an all new Price is Right-style format, Family Game Night returns to the Hub for its third season with newly-minted Emmy winner Todd Newton. There are new games in store along with some old favorites, but the biggest change is different families are playing in each game to earn cash and prizes, instead of the same team all hour like previously. The show was reportedly on and off the cancellation block for a time, so hopefully these changes will manage to keep it around a little while longer.
Monday, September 24th
Let’s Make a Deal (CBS, 10AM or 3PM ET)
A show some people didn’t think would last past its first season, Wayne Brady’s Let’s Make a Deal enters season four this fall. Not much to write home about cosmetically or format-wise but later in the season, like its sister show Price did last year, one week of programming will feature a promotion with Publisher’s Clearing House offering a $20,000 cash prize each day. Unfortunately, this show will still be broadcast in standard definition, one of the very few programs on broadcast TV to still be in that format.
The Price Is Right (CBS, 11AM ET/10AM PT)
The hour-long pricing game bash, as it has since 1975, won’t change how its games are played. But as happens every few years, its set will be touched up. The big doors have been changed to include “shiny” silver borders in its square design. A really neat feature is that the logos in the middle of the door now protrude in a three-dimensional fashion and are able to illuminate. You can expect to see more playings of the game that premiered at the tail end of last year, Double Cross. Be prepared for the premiere of male models coming early in the season. Also of note, in the grey area between season 40 and 41 is the Price 40th Anniversary Special airing in daytime on September 4th, 40 years to the day the first episode aired in 1972. The audience will be comprised of former contestants from the show’s history so expect a lot of reminiscing and flashbacks throughout.
And there you have it! I hope this help give you a sense of what to expect from this new season of exciting games and I hope it will make it easier to track what is going to happen when. Which of these are you looking forward to? And what is “must watch” versus “maybe DVR” for you?