November 27, 2023


In a significant shift, the Primetime Emmys have introduced a dedicated category for game shows, merging both daytime and primetime programs. This move comes at a time when game shows are experiencing a renaissance and gaining popularity in primetime, particularly during the summer months. With the writers’ strike causing delays in scripted programming, game shows will play a prominent role on television this fall, especially on ABC. This blog post will delve into the implications of this change and the excitement it has generated among game show producers and enthusiasts.

Game Shows’ Journey to Primetime:

Previously, game shows that aired before 8 p.m. had their own category at the Daytime Emmys, while those that aired after 8 p.m. were grouped with competition reality series at the Primetime Emmys. However, the recent realignment of genres and categories across the Emmy shows has led to the inclusion of game shows in the Primetime Emmys. This move allows popular primetime game shows like “Press Your Luck” to have a genuine chance at an Emmy nomination.

Anticipation and Speculation:

The decision to consolidate the outstanding game show and outstanding game show host categories in primetime has created buzz within the game show industry. Questions arise as to which shows will be nominated and whether long-standing favorites like “Jeopardy!” and “Price Is Right” will dominate or if newer primetime game shows can secure a spot. The excitement surrounding this change reflects the anticipation and curiosity of industry insiders and fans alike.

Clarifying Game Show Criteria:

To determine what qualifies as a game show, the Academy has outlined specific criteria. The show must be primarily studio-based, focusing on mental challenges rather than physical ones. It should be self-contained, with only a returning champion carrying over from episode to episode. This distinction excludes shows like “Wipeout” and “Survivor,” which don’t fit the criteria. However, some grey areas still remain, such as the case of Netflix’s “Is It Cake?”—a show that straddles the line between a game show and a baking competition.

Implications and Adjustments:

While the inclusion of game shows in the Primetime Emmys provides an opportunity for recognition, it also presents challenges. The difference in budgets and production schedules between primetime and daytime shows raises questions about fairness. Additionally, the cap on the number of winners per show at the Primetime Emmys may require adjustment for daytime production teams accustomed to everyone receiving recognition.

Looking Ahead:

The impact and success of this new system will only be fully realized when the nominations are announced and the winners are revealed. The game show industry eagerly awaits this moment to see how the changes will reshape the landscape. Regardless of the outcome, the acknowledgment of game shows at the Primetime Emmys marks a significant milestone for the genre, with producers like John Quinn feeling honored to be part of the “big kids table.”

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