Buzzr

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Buzzr
Buzzr logo.svg
TypeDigital broadcast television network
(classic game shows)
CountryUnited States
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Ownership
OwnerRTL Group
ParentFremantle
Key peopleMark Deetjen (general manager)[1]
History
FoundedJanuary 20, 2015; 7 years ago (2015-01-20)
LaunchedJune 1, 2015; 7 years ago (2015-06-01)
FounderThom Beers
Links
WebcastWatch live
Websitewww.buzzrtv.com
Availability
Terrestrial
See list of affiliates[2]
Streaming media
Service(s)Distro TV, Pluto TV, Roku Channel, Samsung TV Plus, Sling TV, Stirr

Buzzr is an American digital broadcast television network owned by Fremantle North America, a unit of the Fremantle subsidiary of RTL Group. The network serves as an outlet for the extensive library of classic game shows owned by Fremantle.[3][4][5] Buzzr marks Fremantle's entry into North American television broadcasting;[6] parent company RTL currently operates numerous TV channels in Europe.

Buzzr's digital subchannel is seen in 62 U.S. television markets, cable television and is available as a channel on streaming services Pluto TV, Stirr, IMDb and Sling TV. The network is also available nationwide on free-to-air C-band satellite via Galaxy 19 in the DVB-S2 format.

The brand is named after the game show buzzer, which contestants use on certain game shows to signal their readiness to give an answer.

History[edit]

The original Buzzr logo, used from June 1, 2015 to June 7, 2021

The Buzzr brand was first used by Fremantle for a YouTube channel created and produced by its digital content studio Tiny Riot, which debuted in late 2014. The Buzzr YouTube channel features classic clips, and short-form adaptations of its game show properties (such as Family Feud and Password), with internet celebrities as contestants, primarily aimed towards millennials.[4][7][8]

On January 20, 2015, FremantleMedia (as it was known then) announced that it would launch Buzzr, a digital multicast network that would serve as an extension of the brand; the network, with the Fox Television Stations as its charter station group. Buzzr features classic game shows from the company's programming library.[9][10][11] Thom Beers, former CEO of FremantleMedia North America, stated his interest in launching a network centered on its game show content after he joined the company in 2012, calling such a project a "top priority" for Fremantle as a way to help monetize the value of its library. The company intended to focus Buzzr toward older adults, with Beers citing that the "old-format game shows are really, really hard [for the younger viewership that the Buzzr YouTube channel targets] to watch."[4]

The Buzzr television network debuted on June 1, 2015, with the launch preceded by a preview reel outlining its initial programming that aired in an eight-hour continuous loop, starting at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time Zone. The network formally launched that evening at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time with the 1963 pilot episode of Let's Make a Deal as the first show to be broadcast.[6][12][13][14]

In 2016, to celebrate the upcoming 75th year of the genre,[15] the network created a story arc of the game show with new episodes of favorable classics, along with additional promotions and special marathons all year long. Additionally, that fall, FremantleMedia began leasing select episodes of Card Sharks with Bill Rafferty and Family Feud with Louie Anderson for weekend airings on their affiliates' main channels, though this practice ended after a single season.

In October 2016, FremantleMedia and Canadian video game company Ludia teamed up to create a slot machine app based on Buzzr's programming. The name of the app is called the "Buzzr Casino"[16] based on their former prime-time programming block.

On March 27, 2017, Buzzr began airing paid and religious programming from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, and from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on weekends. On January 1, 2018, paid and religious programming was also added to the 5:00 a.m. hour for both weekdays and weekends. However, Buzzr went back to airing game shows in the 5:00 a.m. hour on June 26, 2018.

In June 2018, Buzzr launched a live stream hosted on their website, which mirrors the network broadcast.[17]

On November 15, 2021, Buzzr began airing and promoting The Newlywed Game for over the air and cable broadcast only; this was possibly due to licensing issues with Sony Pictures Television, the owners of The Newlywed Game and the rest of the Chuck Barris library, that prohibited Buzzr from streaming it. The online stream instead broadcast Family Feud with Richard Dawson in its place.[18][19][20] This arrangement continued until January 9, 2022 when The Newlywed Game was finally made available for all Buzzr viewers over the air, cable, and streaming.

On January 24, 2022, Mark Deetjen, executive producer of global channels at Fremantle and the general manager of Buzzr, died at the age of 50.[21]

Programming[edit]

Fremantle's library of game shows spanned 154 series and an estimated 40,000 episodes overall at the time of its launch, from which Buzzr draws its programming.[22] The network's regular lineup – with series produced from the 1950s to 2000 – includes such programs as To Tell the Truth, Password, Family Feud (encompassing episodes beginning with Richard Dawson as host and dating up to John O'Hurley's tenure), What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret, Beat the Clock, Card Sharks, Body Language, Match Game[3][4][5] (including, beginning in 2019, the Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, which, up until then, had never been shown in reruns)[23] and the original 1950s & 1960s version of The Price Is Right hosted by Bill Cullen.[24] In addition to the Mark Goodson-Bill Todman programs mentioned above, Buzzr's library includes the Al Howard Productions (Supermarket Sweep), Bill Carruthers (Press Your Luck), Reg Grundy (Sale of the Century) and Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall (Let's Make a Deal and Split Second) catalogs. It occasionally licenses games from other sources, including a syndication deal with Burt Sugarman to carry Whew! beginning in September 2021.[25]

As of 2018, almost all of Buzzr's lineup consists of game shows that originally had aired between 1973 and 1993 (Match Game, Password, Family Feud and Supermarket Sweep, in particular, air multiple episodes each day), with select blocks of 1950s and 1960s panel shows also being featured. Celebrity Name Game and Temptation are the only recent game shows the network has aired. More obscure programs occasionally air as special program blocks, including the anthology series Lost and Found, featuring rare episodes, unsold pilots, and forgotten shows. On October 20, 2017, Buzzr debuted its first original program Game Changers. This documentary reviewed the history of the game show genre and featured interviews with game show personalities such as Alex Trebek, Wink Martindale and Drew Carey.[26]

Buzzr airs one hour of educational children's programming (cut from three hours shortly after the FCC eliminated rules requiring digital subchannels to carry such programs in late 2019), leading out of its weekend morning infomercial blocks to minimize interruption; Chicken Soup for the Soul's Hidden Heroes and Marty Stouffer's Wild America air one episode each week. The channel carries two hours of infomercials each morning, a block that includes the televangelism series Through the Bible with Les Feldick (some of the online simulcasts of Buzzr do not carry the infomercials or Through the Bible due to restrictions on paid programming on those platforms). Other than these, the only non-game show related programming on Buzzr thus far was between September 14, 2017 and October 6, 2017, when episodes of Richard Simmons Dream Maker briefly appeared on the schedule, and a marathon of The Great Christmas Light Fight in November 2018 and on November 28, 2019.

Streaming[edit]

In 2017, Buzzr began streaming its programming to Amazon Prime Video and Twitch; the Prime Video offering provides video on demand, while Twitch offered a linear feed separate from the over-the-air telecast. The Twitch stream would be discontinued on April 22, 2019.[27][28][29][30] Buzzr also provided some game show programming to Nosey, a site offering video-on-demand of daytime television in the United States reruns. The local Buzzr affiliate sub-channel is carried in some areas on the streaming services LocalBTV, Locast and iGoCast (the streaming platform of KCKS-LD) as well.

In 2018, as part of their third birthday celebration, Buzzr[31] launched a livestream of the over-the-air telecast on their website. Later that year, Buzzr was added to Pluto TV.[32][33][34]

In 2019, Stirr, a free over-the-top service launched by Sinclair Broadcast Group, included Buzzr among its offerings.[35] In a preliminary assessment released July 2019, Stirr stated that Buzzr was the most-watched national channel on the service and the second-most-watched overall (second only to the combined viewership of its Stirr City local channels).[36]

On March 18, 2020, Sling TV added Buzzr to their service and made available to all its subscribers.[37]

On December 1, 2020, Buzzr launched a spin-off channel, The Price Is Right: The Barker Era, a 24/7 channel on Pluto TV exclusively carrying episodes of The Price Is Right from Bob Barker's hosting run. The episodes started with Season 11 in 1982, the first year where animal-based products (such as fur coats) were no longer offered on the show at Barker's request.[38] In a statement on Buzzr's FAQ page, the company stated that this was the only way to distribute the reruns because of an exclusivity agreement with CBS that prohibits any network or outlet not owned by CBS or parent company Paramount (Pluto TV is a Paramount subsidiary) from televising The Price Is Right episodes from 1972 onward, meaning Buzzr could not carry the show over-the-air.[39] However, Bill Cullen-era episodes of Price were exempt from this limitation as they originally aired on NBC/ABC, and thus were allowed to air on Buzzr. Currently, episodes airing on the channel range from September 13, 1982 through March 7, 1985.

A second Pluto spin-off channel featuring the current Wayne Brady era of Let's Make a Deal was launched in July 2022, with episodes from the Monty Hall era continuing to air on Buzzr.[40]

They are also a part of the live stream section of the IMDb and The Roku Channel apps.[41]

Affiliates[edit]

As of February 2016, Buzzr has current subchannel affiliation agreements with television stations in 53 media markets encompassing 26 states and the District of Columbia, covering over 60% of media markets in the United States.[42]

Fox Television Stations was announced as the network's initial affiliate group, airing Buzzr on 12 Fox owned-and-operated stations (including a satellite station of Orlando, Florida O&O WOFL, whose sister station WRBW serves as that market's affiliate) and five MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated stations. Buzzr has affiliates in all 10 of the largest and 15 of the 20 largest U.S. television markets (including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston-Manchester, New Hampshire and DallasFort Worth, Texas), with an initial reach of 37% of U.S. television homes.[3][9][24] In four of the network's launch markets (New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas–Fort Worth, and Phoenix, Arizona), Buzzr is affiliated with stations whose subchannels the network occupies were previously affiliated with Bounce TV; as a result of a March 2014 agreement with Univision Communications, Bounce TV moved its affiliations in those markets to Univision-owned stations in late May 2015, shortly before Buzzr launched.[43]

Debmar-Mercury (which serves as the distribution partner for the current syndicated run of the Fremantle-produced Family Feud) was hired by Fremantle to handle responsibility for the recruitment of affiliates through agreements with other broadcasting companies.[3][5][24][44] The network hopes to expand its charter affiliate footprint to reach markets covering 50 million U.S. households with at least one television set.[4]

In September 2016, Yes TV, a small Canadian television system with stations in Ontario and Alberta, began airing a Buzzr-branded block programming of classic game shows called "Buzzr After Hours" overnight Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 3:30 a.m. (formerly 1-4 a.m.) local time.[45] When the block first aired, the schedule were episodes of To Tell the Truth, What's My Line? and I've Got a Secret followed by two episodes of either Card Sharks on Tuesday and Saturday, Double Dare on Wednesday, Beat the Clock on Thursday or Sale of the Century on Thursday nights. In April 2017, the block was reduced by a half hour following a schedule of two episodes of Match Game (78), episodes of Super Password and Tattletales followed by an episode of either Card Sharks, Double Dare, Beat the Clock or Sale of the Century. The third and last schedule adopted in October 2017 was Match Game (75), Super Password, Tattletales, Blockbusters (later replaced by Body Language) and Press Your Luck. Yes TV discontinued the block in September 2018.

In May 2017, Dish Network began carrying Buzzr on channel 245.

List of current affiliates[edit]

City of license/market Station[3][46] Virtual
channel
Owner Notes

Alabama[edit]

Birmingham WUOA-LD 46.2 DTV America
Huntsville W34EY-D 38.4 HC2 Holdings
Montgomery WDSF-LD 19.2 DTV America Replaced Dr. TV

Alaska[edit]

Anchorage KDMD 33.7 Ketchikan Television Launch date December 2020

Arizona[edit]

Phoenix KUTP 45.3 Fox Television Stations

Arkansas[edit]

Fayetteville KAJL-LD 16.4 DTV America

California[edit]

Bakersfield KCBT-LD 34.8 Cocola Broadcasting Launch date TBD
Los Angeles KCOP-TV 13.2 Fox Television Stations Replaced Bounce TV
Monterey KYMB-LD 27.4 Cocola Broadcasting
Oakland-San Francisco KTVU 2.4 Fox Television Stations
Reedley-Fresno KVBC-LP 13.7 Cocola Broadcasting
Sacramento KSAO-LD 49.3
San Diego KSKT-CD 43.4 HC2 Holdings
Santa Barbara KVMM-CD 41.4

Colorado[edit]

Denver KRDH-LD 5.6 HC2 Holdings

Connecticut[edit]

Hartford WRNT-LD 32.6 HC2 Holdings

District of Columbia[edit]

Washington, D.C. WTTG 5.2 Fox Television Stations

Florida[edit]

Fort Myers WGPS-LD 22.4 DTV America
Jacksonville-Live Oak WKBJ-LD 20.1
Miami-Fort Lauderdale WSVN 7.6 Sunbeam Television
Orlando WOFL 35.2 Fox Television Stations
Tampa-St. Petersburg WTVT 13.3
West Palm Beach WXOD-LD 24.1 DTV America

Georgia[edit]

Atlanta WAGA-TV 5.3 Fox Television Stations

Idaho[edit]

Boise KKJB 39.4 Cocola Broadcasting

Illinois[edit]

Chicago WFLD 32.3 Fox Television Stations Relocated from WPWR-TV 50.4

Indiana[edit]

Indianapolis WUDZ-LD 28.1 DTV America

Iowa[edit]

Cedar Falls KFKZ-LD 35.3
Des Moines KAJR-LD 36.5 DTV America

Kansas[edit]

Sublette KDGL-LD 23.2 High Plains Broadcasting, LLC.
Dodge City KDDC-LD
Garden City KGCE-LD
Liberal KSWE-LD
Ulysses KDGU-LD
Kansas City KCKS-LD 25.1 Heartland Broadcasting, LLC.
Louisburg KMJC-LD
Topeka WROB-LD
Wichita KAGW-CD 26.9 Great Plains TV

Kentucky[edit]

Bowling Green WCZU-LD 39.2 DTV America
Louisville WBNM 50.1 South Central Communications [47]
Richmond WBON-LD 9.1

Louisiana[edit]

Lafayette KDCG-CD 22.3 Wilderness Communications Launched January 21, 2022
Monroe KMLU 11.7 Legacy Broadcasting, LLC
New Orleans WQDT-LD 34.1 HC2 Holdings
Shreveport KTSH-CD 20.1 L4 Media Group

Maryland[edit]

Baltimore WQAW-LD 69.8 HC2 Holdings

Massachusetts[edit]

Boston WLVI-TV 56.2 Sunbeam Television Replaced ZUUS Country

Michigan[edit]

Detroit WJBK 2.3 Fox Television Stations
Flint-Saginaw-Bay City-Midland WFFC-LD 17.5 DTV America
Lake City-Cadillac WMNN-LD 26.6 Freelancer Television Broadcasting

Minnesota[edit]

Minneapolis-St. Paul KMSP-TV 9.4 Fox Television Stations Replaced Bounce TV

Missouri[edit]

Joplin-Pittsburg KPJO-LD 49.4 DTV America
Kansas City KCKS-LD 25.1
Springfield KRFT-LD 8.9 Craft Broadcasting
St. Louis KBGU-LD 33.1 HC2 Holdings Replaced MundoMax

Nevada[edit]

Las Vegas KGNG-LD 26.4 King Kong Broadcasting
Reno KGLR-LD 35.9 New Line Media Communications

New Jersey[edit]

Secaucus (New York, New York) WWOR-TV 9.3 Fox Television Stations Replaced Bounce TV

New Mexico[edit]

Albuquerque KRTN-LD 39.2 Ramar Communications

New York[edit]

Albany WYBN-LD 14.1 Cable Ad Net New York Inc. Replaced Youtoo America
Buffalo WBXZ-LD 56.5 Steven Ritchie
Syracuse WMJQ-CD 40.2 Rennard Comm. Corp. Replaced HSN

North Carolina[edit]

Fayetteville-Raleigh WNCB-LD 16.2 DTV America
Asheville-Hendersonville & Greenville, SC WDKT-LD 31.7 GEB America
Lumberton-Charlotte WHEH-LD 41.4 DTV America

Ohio[edit]

Cleveland-Canton-Akron WBNX-TV 55.2 Winston Broadcasting Largely replaced the independently owned & operated channel consisting of in-house produced religious programming on 1/1/2022.
Columbus-Marion WOCB-CD 39.2 Cen. Ohio Assoc. of Christian Broadcasters
Portsmouth WTZP-LD 50.3 Eagle Broadcasting Group, Inc. Replaced Laff

Oklahoma[edit]

Oklahoma City KBZC-LD 42.3 DTV America Corporation
Tulsa KGEB 53.3 Oral Roberts University

Oregon[edit]

Portland KOXI-CD 20.3 HC2 Holdings

Pennsylvania[edit]

Philadelphia WTXF-TV 29.4 Fox Television Stations
Pittsburgh WOSC-CD 61.3 The Video House
State College-Johnstown WHVL-LP 29.2 Channel Communications, LLC Replaced YouToo America

Tennessee[edit]

Nashville WCTZ-LD 35.1 HC2 Holdings
Knoxville WEZK-LD 28.5 Living Faith Ministries, Inc.
Memphis KPMF-LD 26.4 DTV America

Texas[edit]

Amarillo KLKW-LD 22.4 DTV America
Austin KTBC 7.3 Fox Television Stations
College Station-Bryan-Waco KZCZ-LD 34.5 DTV America
Dallas-Fort Worth KDFI 27.3 Fox Television Stations Replaced Bounce TV
Houston KTXH 20.4 Fox Television Stations
San Antonio KOBS-LD 19.2 DTV America Corporation
Tyler KPKN-LD 33.1

Utah[edit]

Salt Lake City KBTU-LD 23.3 DTV America Launched November 2016

Virginia[edit]

Richmond WUDW-LD 53.1 HC2 Holdings

Washington[edit]

Seattle KCPQ 13.4 Fox Television Stations Relocated from KUSE-LD 46.5

Wisconsin[edit]

Madison W23BW-D 23.2 HC2 Holdings
Milwaukee WTSJ-LD 38.2 DTV America

List of former affiliates[edit]

City of license/market Station Virtual
channel
Current ownership Dates of affiliation Notes

Colorado[edit]

Denver KSBS-CD 3.3 E. W. Scripps Company
(Was owned at the time by Denver Digital Television, LLC)
2015-August 28, 2020 Replaced by NewsNet
Sterling KCDO-TV 3.3 E. W. Scripps Company
(Was owned at the time by Newsweb Corporation)

Florida[edit]

Key West (Miami, Florida) WGEN-TV 8.3 Liberman Broadcasting

Indiana[edit]

Gary (Chicago, Illinois) WPWR-TV 50.4 Fox Television Stations February 2016 - June 10, 2018 Moved to WFLD 32.3

North Carolina[edit]

Charlotte WJZY-TV 46.7 Nexstar Media Group
(Was owned at the time by Fox Television Stations)
June 2015-September 2020

North Dakota[edit]

Valley City-Fargo KRDK-TV 4.10 Major Market Broadcasting 2015-2019 Replaced by GetTV

Ohio[edit]

Cincinnati WOTH-CD 20.3 Block Broadcasting July 2015 - January 23, 2018 Replaced Antenna TV
ceased broadcasting Jan. 2018

Oklahoma[edit]

Tulsa KUOC-LD 48.1 DTV America Corporation November 2016 - September 2021 Replaced by Infomercials

Utah[edit]

Ogden-Salt Lake City KUCW 30.3 Nexstar Media Group July 3, 2015 - September 2, 2016 Replaced ZUUS Country in 2015
Replaced by Escape in 2016

See also[edit]

  • Game Show Network – An American cable network launched in 1994 and was the original licensor of the Goodson–Todman television library.
  • GameTV – A Canadian general entertainment channel that primarily airs game shows and competition-related programming.
  • Challenge (TV channel) – A British channel that airs game shows and entertainment programming.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Game Show Net Buzzr Launches Live-Streaming". Broadcasting and Cable. May 31, 2018. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  2. ^ Buckman, Adam (July 26, 2016). "Diginets Keep Growing, Despite Auction Cloud". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
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  15. ^ BUZZRPlus (6 January 2016). "75th Anniversary of the TV Game Show" – via YouTube.
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  18. ^ Tweet of BUZZR's Twitter Publicly announcing The Newlywed Game https://twitter.com/BUZZRtv/status/1450492194809319424
  19. ^ The Newlywed Game Promo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkveyfLrPcE
  20. ^ A Video showing the online stream around the time while The Newlywed Game was airing on TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lu2kTNPToY
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  34. ^ "BUZZR on Pluto TV".
  35. ^ "TV broadcaster Sinclair launches STIRR, a free streaming service with local news and sports".
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  37. ^ Bouma, Luke (March 18, 2020). "Sling TV Adds The Classic Game Show Network Buzzr". Cord Cutters News. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
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  39. ^ FAQ | BUZZR, retrieved September 8, 2021
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  45. ^ Yes TV (Crossroads Christian Communications) (June 16, 2016). "yesTV Announces Fall Lineup (press release)". Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
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  47. ^ "RabbitEars.Info".

External links[edit]