Along with computers, video games, toy cars, NBA basketball and casino floor ambiance/music for the most part, TV game shows defined my childhood. The bright lights, colorful sets and cool technological hardware to present the show, a lot has changed and evolved in the game show universe. And while you'd expect me to write more frequently about it, which will be the plan if you're an occasional visitor here on the network, it seems the Fremantle Media-owned channel BUZZR came to the rescue—in a time being told to stay at home, and personally overall.
I first discovered BUZZR at one of my former jobs as early as 2018. I used to work for a client company partnered with a major film studio in Burbank, California, working there for more than three years. During my break time in the break room, occasionally someone would tune the TV to BUZZR and I noticed the seventies version of Family Feud. I said to myself, "man, I remember watching Richard Dawson during the time we first had digital cable on 'another channel that used to air older game shows,' as well as seeing him on Match Game 74—the second Match Game I ever sat and watched (the first being Match Game PM)." Before I continue, some of you are probably asking my age given why I enjoy older shows like these: Early thirties. Nope, no joke, I'm quite an old soul and proud; I'm someone who dwells on nostalgia to generate my inner child and true happiness—the times when things were simple and no one complained. Nowadays, everyone is bitter, angry and insecure constantly blaming other people for their problems, but I believe Life has a purpose and one of them is the joy of watching classic game shows. Growing up, it was more than just catching The Price Is Right every weekday morning on CBS.
Getting caught up on game shows, and having my first exposure to the global network called the Internet via computer, I discovered a now-defunct fan website dedicated to The Price Is Right. I had no clue how the old set design looked and I quickly became fascinated. The website owner shared the funny moments, the classic moments and epic wins from contestants on the show; I never stopped visiting and streaming the clips he shared. It was then I expanded my tastes and glanced at shows I thought I remembered seeing as a child, including the short-lived game shows, game show pilots and many more. I knew Heaven existed on Earth.
Then I learned of fan websites showing off their VHS collections of recorded game shows. Those were the days when trading and purchasing things online still made people squeamish, let alone not having high-quality security software implemented to protect transactions. I was only in seventh grade that time, so making an online trade was risky, and I thought I'd just build my own collection, given I did exactly that: Recording tons of broadcasts on 'the other game show channel,' which unfortunately today, just airs hours upon hours of Steve Harvey's version of Family Feud. I don't mind his version, but it's wearing out on me. However, I do love America Says, Catch 21 (both Mikki and Witney are gorgeous and beautiful), Winsanity and Deal Or No Deal; My least favorite, of all-time I may add, is Divided.
Anyway, I've built up my personal collection for years and have piled up to 35+ VHS tapes. Embarrassed to say, my recordings were recorded in SLP/EP mode to conserve space (again, I was only in elementary school so I wasn't able to work and earn my own cash to buy more VHS tapes). Luckily, thanks to modern hardware, I'm currently in the process to digitize AND upscale my game show recordings in HD for easier viewing (720p60 for now). Granted, we have no rights to stream here on KCU Network, so personally speaking, I'm doing this for myself. (I'm not sure how many game shows I've recorded but I have an impressive bunch, and will happily share my collection in a future article.)
Speaking of game show collecting, I've read in some people's collections that they have a full studio copy of game shows with slate ("studio masters" as they call it). How did they obtain these copies? Is it legal to request for a studio copy like that? How does one ask for such thing? I've watched some of those copies on YouTube, are the studios okay with that? That mystified me, and today, it still does (leave a comment and let me know). As a network, we want to make sure we abide by any property rights attached to any game show without any infringement, unless the company who owns full rights of such game show libraries grants us permission to acquire copies for personal viewing (contact us for discussion).
Just like any other network, it may have its perks, but so far as streaming their live broadcasts as recent as mid-May, BUZZR uplifted my spirits despite my disposition was already in balance. Now I'm happier than ever: Classic Concentration! This, Ray Combs' Family Feud, which BUZZR is not airing anymore at the moment, and Ross Shafer's Match Game, were all responsible for making me admire game shows. Discovering rare game shows like Play The Percentages, Headline Chasers, Trivia Trap and even Pass The Buck were also a treat during my game show fanaticism, and would like to see BUZZR tackle more of these oddball game shows (I'm sure they have in the past, I just didn't catch it that time, though I doubt they're interested in airing Chuck Barris-produced shows, let alone any shows from other producers). Oh, and airing Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour is a real treat! I've personally never seen one full episode until recently, and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
No network is perfect, but in terms of game shows, I feel BUZZR has a good thing going and I approve it so much that I wrote this article to talk about it. Along with sharing my personal history in enjoying game shows, given that I've watched game shows more than movies, I hope BUZZR continues to run through their whole library. Yes, I even signed up for their email updates (if a new game show will be added to the line-up, let us know a week in advance so I can record it!). Fremantle Media claims they've got 40,000 game show episodes in their portfolio, which is awesome. Just for comparison, game show collector Chuck Donegan has accumulated over 20,000 game shows, which include international ones as well. Truly amazing.
It's been a happy time for me as of current. While shows like Password, Family Feud, Match Game and The Price Is Right made its way to DVD, I'm hoping we see more game shows on home video, though the demand seems rather low. That's where a great network like BUZZR comes in!
Keep up the great work, BUZZR! After years of taking a break and focusing on Life, you got me excited again, and you're now helping me continue to build my game show collection.
(To reiterate: My collection is for personal use and personal viewing. In no such way are we looking to stream the game shows we've acquired here on our network, nor sell the shows we've obtained. We hope BUZZR sticks around for a substantial amount of time.)