NEW YORK — VH1 is off to a promising start in the Nielsen ratings for its “Name That Video” gameshow, one of the most ambitious firstrun series in the network’s history.
At a total outlay of about $800,000 for the 10 weeks’ worth of production that VH1 has committed to, “Name That Video” is costing the network more, on average, than most of its firstrun programs in the past.
During its premiere week on the network from March 12 to 16, when it runs twice a day, “Video” elevated VH1’s household ratings by 22% at 7:30 p.m. and by 11% at 11 p.m., compared to the same week in 2000. The growth is even more impressive among adults 18 to 49, with the curve shooting up by 27% at 7:30 and by 35% at 11, according to VH1 researchers.
Todd Schwartz, VH1’s executive in charge of production of “Videos,” says he’s going heavy on the high-tech bells and whistles, including a giant electronic game board, four large plasma screens for the video replays, and a set that allows the Q&A to flow freely, without the usual podium that anchors the host to one spot. Schwartz boasts that the lighting designer of “Video” also designed ABC’s “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?”
Woman in charge
Also significant is that the host of “Video” is a woman, Karyn Bryant, who calls herself “the Rosa Parks of gameshows.” Bryant was a radio disc jockey who shifted over to MTV. She’s also hosted the music show “Sound FX” on the FX cable network. On “Video,” Bryant says, “I’m channeling my inner Alex Trebek.”
Previous female gameshow hosts have included Betty White on “Just Men,” which ran for three months on NBC daytime in 1980; Jenny McCarthy and Carmen Electra on MTV’s “Singled Out”; the Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders on the Nickelodeon shows “Figure It Out” and “Sandblasters”; Idalis DeLeon on Fox Family’s “Outrageous,” and two Lifetime hosts: Louise DuArt on “Rodeo Drive” and Gina St. John on “Who Knows You Best.”
“Name That Video” is produced by VH1, Broadway Video and Sandy Frank Entertainment. The executive producers are Frank, David Lang and Lauren Zalaznick.