Television game shows are a popular form of family friendly entertainment that have stood the test of time. Adults and kids alike enjoy playing along at home as contestants race to select the correct answer, spin the wheel or solve the puzzle. Most of America's favorites still air today, according to TV Guide. This includes shows like Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud and The Price is Right. Former favorites include Match Game, Hollywood Squares, Password, What's My Line? and The Newlywed Game.
Social scientists have studied who watches these game shows and the reasons why. Enjoyment of competition combined with the mental challenge of the games keeps audiences wanting more. Fun, rather than greed and desire for wealth, was given as the primary factor that attracts viewers of these shows. Research from the Center for Media Literacy has also given us new insights into television-watching habits of various groups. Elderly women are most likely to spend time watching game show programming to fill their entertainment needs. Younger women with children may consume more of this genre as well, since they primarily watch television shows that are educational and family friendly.
Meanwhile, males with children tend to prefer viewing religious or news and sports programs, as their activities take up more time than they have available for television watching. Older males prefer current news, business and financial programs for their viewing. Older adults (those who are 65 years old and older) tend to spend the largest number of hours on TV per week, with an average of 51 hours and 32 minutes.
In comparison, teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 watch the least amount at only 15 hours and 29 minutes a week. Younger adults were less likely to watch traditional live TV, preferring free or paid subscription streaming services such as Netflix. Older adults have increased the amount of traditional television they watch by almost five percent over the last five years. With the advent of cable networking, entire channels devoted to airing game shows have been created.
These networks include GSN, Discovery Family and Buzzr. GSN and Buzzr airs episodes of former game shows that no longer exist except in their nostalgic reruns. Buzzr debuted last September and focuses on rerunning vintage game shows plus its own original programming. GSN invites players at home to submit at-home prizes and play online versions of favorite game shows like Wheel of Fortune. Discovery Family, as the name implies, is aimed at family friendly programming for children and their parents. Past shows on this channel have included life-sized versions of board games like Battleship, Monopoly and Sorry.
American game shows are here to stay and thankfully so. They are the great American television pastime where anyone can be a winner, something we all would love to be on. Game show viewing audiences vary but still generate ratings and buzz even in the digital age. People watch and challenge themselves, bond with families and more as they air. One can only wonder what the future of game shows will look like.