02Dec2012
Author
Chad Mosher
Category
GSN, Video
Game Show Network Launches 18 Years Ago This Weekend Thumbnail

Game Show Network Launches 18 Years Ago This Weekend

As we like to acknowledge each year, the only American TV outlet dedicated strictly to serving the needs of game show fans has turned another year older. As early as May, 1992, the press was reporting that Sony Pictures Entertainment would produce a new cable network, then called The Game Show Channel.  On December 1st, 1994, at 7PM Eastern Time, Game Show Network (now, for the most part, known simply as GSN) launched on cable and satellite services across the country. Kicking it off with, in this author’s opinion, the coolest launch to a network ever, a 6-minute montage of almost everything the network had in their library at the time. Since then, the network has evolved from purely a network showing reruns of game shows, to trying many different things in its existence, including interactive break games, comedy game-related programming, original concepts, overnight phone-in programs, casino-based shows, documentaries and even reality shows with their hosts. Probably the most traditionally-loved thing the network has done is reviving game show concepts. Some have been good, some have been bad, but the list includes remakes of 3′s a Crowd1 vs. 100, Chain Reaction, The Gong Show, I’ve Got a Secret, Lingo, The Newlywed Game, Press Your Luck and The Pyramid series.

The look of the network has evolved too, from using the mascot “Winnie” (pictured above) from launch until 1997, followed by the Wheel of Fortune-inspired tile logo for another six years. In 2004 came the network’s rebranding to GSN, The Network for Games, ushering in a colder, dark green and black scheme. Since 2008, the current logo has been in use, a more fun and inviting rounded rectangle logo. However, no matter what changes have been experimented with, the core of the network has stayed solid: a place to tune in and catch a game – new, old or somewhere in the middle. Some of us may not always agree with what the network does, but the fact that it is still around and is in fine shape is enough to be thankful for. Below are some of the more defining aspects of the branding of the network over its last 18 years. Feel free to share with us some of your favorite GSN memories and moments, too. Happy birthday, GSN!

Game Show Network Launches, Dec. 1, 1994

“Pitch Video” for GSN, featuring Pat Sajak and Peter Tomarken

Extended Commercial Bumper, 1994-1997

Register for Interactive Games, Second Logo Bumper, 1997

“Bouncing Ball” Bumper, 1999-2004

Game Show Network Becomes GSN, March 15, 2004

“Catch a Game and You Know You’re at GSN,” Summer 2008

Hosts Bumper, 2009

Author
Chad Mosher

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Discussion

20 responses to "Game Show Network Launches 18 Years Ago This Weekend"

  • Jason M. says:

    I can disagree here and there about the direction of the network, but I can’t deny the opportunity it has provided. The opening years of the network were an excellent window into the past and the network still is an excellent place to play along and have fun. I thank the folks who came up with the idea and the folks who continue to run it. It has been a pleasure.

  • Brian says:

    When I first got GSN, they were doing their “Game Show Saturday Nights” each week. I still remember lots of rare sows/eps. I saw then…$20K Pyramid, Joker’s Wild $1,000,000 tourney, etc. Also saw some $100K Pyramid tournament marathons in there…and I am still hooked! Still my favorite game show ever.

  • Scott says:

    I wish GSN would bring back Greed, and add more programs to their schedule.

    Other than that, at least it’s good to have a channel still…somewhat… dedicated to game shows.

  • Robert says:

    Ah, the good ol’ days. Although I started watching GSN in 2006. I discovered GSN while at my grandmother’s house, she had Regis Millionaire on while it was still famous on GSN, and I fell in love with the game shows, I practically watched all day long back then, from the classics, to the originals, to the modern shows. And the modern shows GSN had on at the time were awesome. I mainly was interested in Greed, Millionaire, and Weakest Link out of those modern shows. And Dog Eat Dog aired at the time to. I don’t see how that was ever famous on GSN, if at all.

    GSN aired classic game shows until 5pm when I started watching, and then on weekends it was a combo of classics and newer programming.

    In a way, I did like Catch a Game in 2008 and the promos in 2008/2009. Catch a Game could get annoying, people would say, and I agree kind of. But look at now.

    Now, I barely watch GSN. GSN shoves classic Feud and Match Game to 8am and there’s no way I’m recording it. I like Steve Harvey as host of the Feud, but how the writers write the questions is unacceptable. Sex after sex. As they say, sex sells. But I say, Feud would still succeed without it. And if not, the fans are just filthy, I’m sorry. No offense. It’s a game show., the fans wouldn’t notice any difference, unless Steve was less funny somehow.

    I will say, I’m happy classics are on until 1pm again. I still watch GSN for classics, but I barely watch GSN like I used to all day. As I say, there are other things on TV to watch.

    Happy 18 years GSN. I hope you can succeed for 18 more years. And you will thanks to online gaming. LOL

    I must say, I miss the interactive aspects of GSN. That’s what kept me tuned in all day up until 2011.

  • mat says:

    oh boy i miss gsn due to me haveing cable vision

  • Bob Porrazzo says:

    My cable company added GSN/Game Show Network in 1997 in the midst of the “dark period.” Last year the network became part of a games/sports premium package.

    With GSN now airing Press Your Luck from the first episode and The Pyramid, not to mention reruns of Match Game and Card Sharks, I am mad to have to pay for it.

    On the other hand with some of their originals/remakes like Newlywed Game, Baggage, I’m kind of glad i don’t have to see that tripe

    So mixed blessings from me on this the 18th birthday of GSN.

  • The Dragon says:

    This brings back memories of when GSN was actually good, when I demanded my cable provider give me any package as long as it had GSN, I almost think I never changed the channel. I hope the next time the execs try to make a change in programming they look back at that pitch tape and realize the direction they pitched back then and see how terrible it is going to get if they continue on the same path now. I will give them credit for some of their changes including PYL, Password Plus, but they need to bring back the interaction that was highly discussed in the pitch segment, Game Show Saturday nights, black and whites, etc. Just stay away from reality TV and stick with the genre that has been pitched since day 1…game shows.

  • Michael Hetrick says:

    Glad to see that my uploads of Game Show Network stuff made it to this article!
    Thanks Chad, keep up the great work!

  • Andrew L. Budny says:

    Happy 18th Birthday GSN!!!!

  • Ken in Hong Kong says:

    Needless to say, some good, some very bad over the past 18 years. I realize the name of the game is ratings, but I think GSN needs a rethink now. It’s called Game Show Network. That says it all. No one should be surprised by what the programming is. This is a channel for people who love game shows. So, now, what can GSN do that it’s not currently doing?

    To me, a 59-year-old man who loves the quiz format, the best of GSN is the classic reruns — Password, Jeopardy, Split Second, even What’s My Line — and the attempts to revive GOOD games. The best of GSN was the Whammy/Russian Roulette/Friend or Foe/Cram era. I didn’t like all the shows, but I applauded the effort to produce new shows — even 1 vs. 100, Chain Reaction and The Pyramid.

    So, my suggestion would be to poll the real game-show fanatics who watch and ask them what shows might be worth bringing back with new editions. (The top of my list would be Russian Roulette, Million Dollar Mind Game and Card Sharks.) But here’s a new thought: Would it be possible to bring something new to the lineup in the form of buying packages of the better British game shows of the past and present (The Chase, The Cube, etc.) and/or produce American versions of those shows (The Bank Job and Tipping Point, for example)?

    It seems to me that the network executives are so worried about what will sell. Put quality programming on, and people will watch. The only thing they have to do is find the right balance between old reruns, newer reruns and freshly produced shows. I’m not a fan of reality shows, but I know people do watch them, so make room on the schedule for them. And how about a viewer-interactive version of a quiz show? If the latest version of 1 vs. 100 can have a mob playing by webcam, you can surely do a show that way in which, say, 100 players start the show and play down to one winner.

    The well of ideas isn’t dry. What GSN needs in its 19th year is to rethink its model.

  • GSNFan says:

    Nice logo.

    I’ve been impressed with GSN very much in 2012. From American Bible Challenge, The Pyramid, new classics and many acquisitions, we’ve had a very successful network this year

    • GSNFan says:

      Also to add that some of my favorite all time programs that have been on the network are/were Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Family Feud, The $25,000/$100,000 Pyramid, Super Password, Lingo, The Newlywed Game, Baggage, Minute to Win It, 5th Grader, Russian Roulette, Camouflage, Chain Reaction, The Pyramid amongst many others

  • DENo1MatchGameFan says:

    One bit of advice to the network – QUIT LEASING EPISODES! How many more times must we watch “Match Game” turn from 1974 to 1975? The show DID run for nine years after all! The same for Richard Dawson’s version of “Family Feud”, as he was the man who put the show on the map WAY before Steve Harvey came around!

    • GSNFan says:

      Those are just common complaints that will always be with GSN. Classics are not a priority for them, and probably never will be again. I’m just glad this year we have classic programming back until 1pm (with 7 different shows, plus Jeopardy!)

  • Donny Boy says:

    Stop repeating the same episodes of the same shows, over and over and over.

    Restore the closing credit sequences of classic game shows.

    • Anthony says:

      agreed with you on that. i can dream that GSN would may split into 2 channels(GSN Classic and GSN Modern) at some point in the future.

    • DENo1MatchGameFan says:

      I’ve been on that bandwagon for years – if networks like Antenna TV and MeTV can show the credits, why can’t GSN (which is a FAR bigger network?) Also the speed-ups need to stop, as the shows sound like rabid rats at times when they are replayed!

    • DENo1MatchGameFan says:

      Another thing that is funny about this is that recently, Canada aired classic episodes of “Match Game ’73″ with the credits and departing contestant plugs in full, as well as no speed-ups – go figure!

  • William A. Padron says:

    A little side trivia note…when the Game Show Channel was being developed in 1992, one of the main components long prior to its launch was getting at last the programming leasing agreements between Mark Goodson himself (d/b/a Mark Goodson Productions) and Sony Pictures Cable Ventures. It was all done by December 4, 1992, with the financial statement being filed with the NYC Department of Finance on that date (see link below).

    http://a836-acris.nyc.gov/Scripts/DocSearch.dll/ViewImage?Doc_ID=FT_1670003780567

    But two weeks after the initial filing, Mark Goodson passes away at age 77 on December 18, and thus did not live to see his company’s programming finally used starting two years later in 1994 for the launch of Game Show Network.

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