Game Show Network - Bringing Entertainment to Your Living Room
With the rise of home entertainment media and demand for more interactive and new, fresh experiences, an idea arose for game shows, where viewers could call the host and play games on live television. From puzzle games to quizzes, card, and poker games, people found ways to make basic cable channels into something more than what you could watch. Enter Game Show Network - an American channel owned by Sony Pictures Television that brought entertainment to every living room across America.
With availability to more than 70 million households in The United States and around the world via its cable network, with regular viewers from up to 400,000 people, it became a stable household channel, one where you could sit back, watch and play all from the comfort of your home. The Game Show Network also has its own website from which you can view all the newest updates.
Find out the story about the rocky start of a TV network and how it reached every American Household.
The History Behind GSN and Their Reach
On May 7th, 1992, Sony Pictures made a deal and joined a partnership with United Video Satellite Group to launch the Game Show Channel, with headquarters in Santa Monica, California, and was set to begin airing in 1993.
In the following months, Sony Pictures made deals to purchase the Barry and Enright game show library and get a license agreement to have the rights to air the Mark Goodson game show library; however, with Mark Goodson’s passing, the first airing got delayed. This halted the launch of the network for the following two years when Mark Goodson Production stepped away from the network, which had an equity stake in GSN.
Game Show Network finally aired on December 1st, 1994, with its first game show being What’s My Line?, which piqued everyone's interest to see what all the fuss was about. As GSN gained popularity, it started airing different shows to bring even more life and interest into the channel, more prominent and fun games like Match Game, Family Feud, and Wheel of Fortune, where viewers won prizes when they spun that wheel and started producing their own original game shows such as Lingo, Whammy!, Extreme Gong and more.
In the following years it started airing many of its original programs to other TV channels, which is why some of the games and shows are aired on other services such as Bounce TV and IMDB TV. GSN also has apps on SmartTV sets, including big brands like Samsung, Vizio, and on streaming services like Pluto TV. GSN also had a “GSN on Demand” channel where people could select what show to watch at whatever time they saw fit.
During 2001, a huge change was made in leadership and in programming when Liberty Media purchased a 50% stake in the company, with then-president Michael Fleming and vice president Jake Tauber departing from the network.
On March 15th, 2004, Game Show Network started using the abbrev GSN, coupled with a tagline “The Network for Games'', whose goal was to broaden the viewership base and expand their horizon. He wanted to reach new people and expand their library of what's being aired, like reality TV games and various competitive-based games and programs. The most notable acquisitions in the game genre were Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and Steve Harvey’s Family Feud, which would bring lots of viewers to the network and solidify their place as the go-to channel for games.
During 2007, Game Show Network started expanding into the online world, acquiring the popular online tournament game WorldWinner as a GSN service.
WorldWinner is a cross-platform community that manages and creates online tournaments for cash, available on your PC and mobile platforms. GSN also launched its own social media platforms and social gaming apps on Facebook, one of which was called Wheel of Fortune, known for its well-made casino games, featuring a wide range of immersive casino games with competitive tournaments. GSN also published mobile casino apps featuring slot machines and bingo games. One of them, called GSN Casino, was the 10th highest-grossing app on the app store. All of these power moves by the ownership proved to be quite rewarding - by October 2010, GSN Casino had over 8 million active players.
In April 2017, David Goldhill stepped down after 10 years as activating GSN president, his replacement being Mark Feldman, who would start using the original Game Show Network name as a permanent placeholder.
As of 2022, the current active president of Game Show Network is John Zaccario; he's been in the company since 2008 as Executive Vice President of GSN Advertising sales. As a result of his past experience within the company, GSN experienced massive growth in revenue and viewers when he was selected as the leading president. There are no signs of it stopping anytime soon.
Financial Acquisitions, Sales and Online Gaming
In 2007, Liberty Media, who had a stake in the company, acquired FUN Technologies, who were the owners and operators of the famously popular tournament casual game website called WorldWinner.
In March 2011, DirectTV took over Liberty Media's stake in the network and sold a 5% stake back to Sony Pictures Entertainment. Although DirectTv technically remained as the majority owner, it gave control of the network back to Sony and forced them to increase their stake in GSN to 58% to counter DirectTV’s stake. In November 2012, DirectTV sold 18% of their shares of GSN back to Sony.
In January 2015, GSN acquired Bitrhymes Inc., developers of the famous social and mobile games called Bingo Bash and Slots Bash, though it's worth noting that GSN sued Bitrhymes due to allegations that they’re attempting to back out of GSN’s offer during the exclusive negotiation period.
The following years, DirectTV’s stake in Game Show Network would transfer to AT&T when they purchased the service in 201. Several years later, in November 2019, it was announced in a conference that Sony Pictures Entertainment had purchased all of AT&T's stake in GSN, giving Sony full ownership of GSN.
In October 2021, Sony sold a subsidiary of GSN, GSN games, to mobile game monolith Scopely in a whopping 1 billion dollar cash and stock deal.
Present and Future of Game Show Network
GSN has a very relaxed and honest approach when it comes to its employees or during the interview process. It currently has over 250 employees who are well satisfied with the workplace culture and management; they also enjoy discounts on food and beverages, which lift up morale and bring more positivity and productivity. It is a company whose core values are to treat everyone with respect and dignity, be very open to people of all races, values, and cultures, and who do not base the abilities on people based on their skin color or sex. Employees feel free to be who they truly are without judgment or inappropriate conduct.
They are committed to doing better and listening to communities who’ve been denied basic human rights, to be an example to others and their viewers, and always strive to do good and make a positive impact on society. With the current president, Game Show Network has been having a stable revenue income and has a bright future ahead. With new hit TV shows being made like America Says, People Puzzler, Master Minds, and many more, it's sure to keep the hearts of older and new fans alike.