Davies, cabler revive 'Reaction'

Quizshow maven Michael Davies is reviving popular ’80s gameshow “Chain Reaction” for cable network GSN.

“Chain” is the first project to come out of Sony-based Davies’ three-series production pact at the cabler. Half-hour, which will be taped in New York, will join the schedule in midsummer.

Greenlight for “Chain,” however, signals a larger change at GSN, which has quietly returned to a gameshow-filled primetime sked. Cabler had reversed course two years ago (Daily Variety, Jan. 12, 2004) in an attempt to expand into a broader range of formats including original reality, relationship, comedy and game-related documentary.

But the repositioning failed to ignite ratings in younger demos, and the only remnant of the overhaul are the casino games that anchor Mondays and Fridays. Tonight, the network bows new seasons of “High Stakes Poker” and “World Series of Blackjack.”

GSN on the whole has reverted to a version of its former self (previously Game Show Network), with more conventional studio-based quizzers dominating primetime.

“Chain” will air at 9, Tuesday-Thursday and on weekends, a timeslot following Davies-produced “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” which airs at 8, seven days a week. “That’s a lead-in I won’t be able to complain about,” Davies joked.

Cronin said the network is working on a 9:30 p.m. companion show for “Chain” — also a studio-based quizzer — which could be announced as early as this month.

Cronin said the move toward more traditional gameshows this summer is a response to the format’s resurgence on the broadcast webs thanks to shows like “Deal or No Deal” and similar upcoming gambles on Fox, ABC and CBS (Daily Variety, May 2).

Original NBC version of “Chain Reaction” involved completing chains of words after the first and last words of the chain are revealed, similar to the Before & After round of “Wheel of Fortune.”

Davies says the look and format will be updated: Game will be played in boys-vs.-girls teams with an additional gambling element and a bonus speed-chain round.

Show also will be interactive, Davies said, “driving people to GSN.com and wireless applications.”

In May, GSN reached carriage deals that put the network in 60 million homes.

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