Another year, another Upfront press conference from the executives at GSN.
Venue : Sony Club, the classy complex of rooms near the top of Sony's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. Solid breakfast menu for all to chow through, from bagels to citrus tea, and GSN splashed its logo and show titles all over the room, windows included. Grade: 4.5 Jacks
Presentation : Divided evenly between what the channel accomplished last year (30-40 percent ratings growth among various demographics, over 100 new advertisers and its most successful original primetime series inThe American Bible Challenge) and expectations for 2013-14. "There's a lot more of that coming this year," promised GSN chief executive David Goldhill. Tomake both an exclamation point on the accomplishments while looking forward, GSN brought noted Frank N. Magid Associates, media analyst Mike Vorhaus up to showcase new research among 1,500 people. Vorhaus points out the average GSN viewers watch the channel 11 hours a week, and plan to watch more this year. Almost 30 percent of viewership is in the 18-34 age bracket. "It's a very involved environment," he goes on. Going forward, GSN will up the involvement by developing more game shows with family or relationship elements, while continuing the "real-life game" direction in reality shows launched two months ago with Family Trade, noted GSN programming executive Amy Introcaso-Davis FYI: First 2013 Upfront presentation involving an outside research contribution. Grade:4.5 Jacks
News : Plenty of series under development, but only one has the greenlight to premiere during 2013--The Chase, an eight-episode quiz based on a British hit pitting four contestants against a genius for big money. No premiere date set. Of six series announced for development, the more promising appear to be Dance Rivals (ballroom dance studio reality profile set in Orem, Utah), You Don't Know What You're Missing (family heirloom game from comedian Caroline Rhea), It Takes A Church (dating series involving local churches and charities) and Mind Of A Man (celebrity relationship game). Announced earlier: new Minute To Win It episodes hosted by Apollo Anton Ohno, beginning June 25. Grade: 3.5 Jacks
Host : Split among Goldhill, Introcaso-Davis and GSN ad sales chief John Zaccario, all cutting to the chase with their main points. Grade: 4 Jacks
Special note : GSN, like Participant Media's Pivot service two weeks earlier, did not make time for reporter questions during its presentation, although the event was billed as a press conference.
Overall Grade: 4 Jacks A concise, well-balanced presentation with extra credit for Vorhaus' research remarks. The problem: just one new series ready to debut by year's end.
5 Jacks - Excellent
4 Jacks - Very Good
3 Jacks - Good
2 Jacks - Fair
1 Jack - Poor
0 Jacks -Worse than bad
Next up: Syfy and IFC
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!
Simon Applebaum is producer/host of Tomorrow Will Be Televised, the radio program all about TV. Tomorrow runs live Mondays and Fridays at 3 p.m. Eastern time, noon Pacific Time onwww.blogtalkradio.com, with replays available atwww.blogtalkradio.com/simonapple04. A weekly TV series edition will soon premiere on the new UBC-TV network.
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