Regardless of how many series get canceled on a seasonal basis, there are some you can always count on seeing year after year: non-primetime game shows. Proving that the “ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rule is one to stick to, CBS Television Distribution has renewed both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune for two more seasons. So keep on learning things, people.
Both shows will run through the 2017-2018 season, which means Jeopardy! will make it to at least Season 34, while Wheel of Fortune will hit Season 35. Each show averages more than 10 million viewers on a daily basis, and Wheel of Fortune has reigned supreme as the #1 syndicated game show since it began, back when letters had to actually be turned. Those were the days. Get off my lawn!
There’s a pretty interesting reasoning behind the contract extensions beyond just “a lot of people watch this show,” and it has to do with a particular brand of advertising. Here’s how it was put by CBS Television Distribution’s President of Sales Joe DiSalvo put it.
They are two of the most sought-after shows by political advertisers, so our station partners will benefit from locking up these shows through the upcoming 2016 presidential election season.
I guess I never really thought about the timing of ad campaigns being integral to the renewal process. It makes total sense that political campaigns would buy into these shows, since the age demographic presumably skews a little higher than most shows. One thing’s for sure, though. All those political ads are definitely going to make me need some Aleve, which also happens to be one of Jeopardy!’s sponsors. Is that how synergy works?
This renewal should come as no surprise to anyone who read last month that Pat Sajak and Vanna White’s hosting contracts were renewed for two years, as was Trebek’s, despite his previous quasi-threats that he might want to quit. (Not to mention the questions that arose after his heart attack some years back.) I can’t imagine what would have happened had all three of their contracts stood and both shows had been canceled. Maybe Trebek would have just waited around for someone to share a banal life story, while Sajak and White might have started up an alphabet-based casino with the slowest roulette wheel on the planet.
Jeopardy!, the #2 syndicated game show, has been around in its current form since 1984, which was the first year that Trebek signed on. It holds the Guinness World Record for the most Emmys awarded to a game show, with the last one won in 2014. Wheel of Fortune’s current form has been around since 1983, and it hasn’t been quite as lucky on the Emmy front. Guess that whole being #1 thing works, though.