Upfront Report

GSN Moves Into Reality TV With Shows on Auctions, Pawn Shops

But Calls Its New Series "Real-Life Games"

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GSN is branching out into reality TV. But the network dedicated to game shows isn't calling its new fare "reality."

Under the guise of "real-life games," GSN is developing four series that seemingly piggyback off the success of popular themes such as pawn shops, auctioning and pageants.

The move comes following the arrival of a new head of programming, Amy Introcaso-Davis, last November.

The network wants to shake its image as a "museum for game shows," according to John Zaccario, exec vp of advertising sales, who spoke to media buyers Wednesday morning during the network's upfront pitch.

"We are dropping the four walls of the studio and looking at people deal with real risks and high-stake rewards every day," Mr. Zaccario said.

In the increasingly crowded pawn/auction category, GSN is developing "Pure Gold," which follows a family-run business that buys gold; "Family Trade," a family-run car dealership that will trade a car for practically anything it thinks it can resell; "War of the Rose Sisters," about two sisters who are competitors in the auction business; and "I Do, Now I Don't," about a shop that buys and sells second-hand engagement rings.

But GSN doesn't view this move as an attempt to snag a piece of the plethora of themed reality programming. "We think we have an original take on these real-life transactional games," a spokeswoman for the network said later by email. "Ours will be much more female-skewing than, say, 'Pawn Stars.' We also look at these as games, which is a different filter."

The network has broken up its content into three categories: "Shiny Floor Games," which are the traditional, in-studio formats; "Iconic Game Reinvented," updating classic franchises like "The $100,000 Pyramid"; and "Real-Life Games," which take place in a real-life setting with real winners and losers.

"The flexibility and openness of game formats are now coupled with the possibilities of endemic and organic brand placements, as we expand to include real-life game and celebrate the lives of interesting people," Mr. Zaccario said.

GSN will also continue to develop traditional game shows, such as "The American Bible Challenge," which will begin this summer.

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