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NBC game for daytime

Quizzers, reality skeins may replace sinking sudsers

The gameshow fever that’s infected primetime could hit NBC’s daytime lineup as early as next January.

With ratings for most sudsers still trending downward, Peacock web is seriously weighing a return to quizzers in the morning or early afternoon hours. While it’s still too early to tell if NBC will actually make the plunge back into gameshows, NBC Entertainment senior veep for nonfiction Linda Finnell has begun taking meetings with agents and producers about possible formats and concepts.

Last gameshow to air on NBC’s daytime lineup was “Classic Concentration,” which ended a 6-1/2-year run in January 1994. ABC has also been without quizzers for nearly a decade, while CBS has just one, the long-running “Price Is Right.”

Peacock execs are also looking at various reality-based concepts for daytime as NBC looks to shore up its traditionally weak lineup. Both gameshows and reality skeins are seen as attractive alternatives to the sudsers and talkers that now dominate the webs’ daytime lineups.

It’s unlikely anything would bow before this coming January. Peacock would roll out new programming on its owned stations, then seek to syndicate it to the rest of the country.

In an interview with Daily Variety late Wednesday, Finnell emphasized that NBC execs are still far from deciding whether to launch a game or reality show in daytime next year, or whether to launch any new programming at all.

“We’re looking at everything,” she said.

However, Finnell also noted that, with the exception of “Price Is Right” on CBS, “Gameshows aren’t on (in daytime) right now,” thus making the format particularly attractive.

“They’ve worked in primetime. There’s no reason they couldn’t work in daytime,” she said.

Finnell also said NBC is looking at both classic formats it already owns the rights to as well as at new ideas from producers. Though any gameshow would have to appeal to “the audience that’s out there in daytime” — read: women 25-54 — Peacock would also want to ensure that any chosen quizzers would have some younger demo appeal, a la “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

One obvious candidate for revival would be “Concentration,” which NBC already owns the rights to. Before its 1987-94 run as “Classic Concentration,” quizzer was a staple of the Peacock’s daytime lineup for 15 years.

If NBC chooses to get back into the daytime game biz, the net would have to choose between one hourlong show or a block of two half-hours. Industry insiders expect Peacock would opt for the latter.

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