Published on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 22:22
WCIU-TV -- best known as Channel 26, "The U" -- is helping out NBC Universal Television Distribution by being a test station for the TV game show, "Baggage." The show began on the air for WCIU-TV this week and will run for a total of ten weeks. If reaction to the show is positive -- and more importantly, if the ratings are positive -- then NBCU will look to syndicate the show nationwide, beginning with the 2011 Fall season.
"Baggage" is a 30 minute game show hosted by Jerry Springer, that acts as a twisted version of the old "Dating Game." One contestant asks questions of three other contestants of the opposite gender and tries to pick one they would like to go out on a date with. The contestants each have a large suitcase with them that contains a deep, dark secret about themselves printed out on cardboard. Once a winner is picked, their "baggage" is revealed. The person who picked the winner also reveals his/her "baggage." The two then decide if they can look past the deep, dark secret and go out together. If not, one of them must say the show's tagline: "I'm sorry, but you have too much baggage."
The show premiered on the Game Show Network on April 19, 2010. After a short, but successful season on GSN, the show was quickly renewed for a full second season. "Baggage" is now GSN's highest rated weekday show in its history. NBCU is now trying to determine if the show that works so well on that cable/satellite network will work with a larger audience in syndication.
The initial buzz for the show's syndication prospects is good. "Baggage's" highly risque, but not too objectionable content could make it appealing for many stations to sign on with, replacing older syndicated game shows that have seen their audience shrink in recent years.
Nationwide, overnight Neilsen ratings for the first two days of airings have seen decreases in averaged ratings, but it is still much too soon to know if the show will catch on just yet.
The ten week experiment by NBCU has the show airing in ten different markets of varying sizes and at different times throughout the day. Nine of the television stations are owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, with television stations in some large, but mostly medium-sized markets. The tenth station is Chicago's Weigel Broadcasting, who is airing the program on WCIU-TV. Chicago is the largest market the show is being tested in.
WCIU-TV is airing the show at Noon each weekday. "Baggage" can still be seen on the Game Show Network weeknights at 5:30pm and 8:30pm (Central), with repeats at varying times on weekends.
"Baggage" is produced by Comcast Entertainment Studios, the production arm of Comcast International Media Group.
In addition to the "Baggage" game show, Jerry Springer, who turns 67 next month, continues to also host the syndicated shock-talk program "The Jerry Springer Show," which is produced and distributed by NBC Universal Television.