Is GSN done with poker?
I'll be the first to agree that at some point after Chris Moneymaker's World Series win, poker on TV got a little bit out of hand. For a while it seemed that you couldn't turn on the TV without stumbling over some new poker-based show. Things have settled down somewhat lately, with a few survivors remaining. For my poker watching vote, there remains a big three. The World Series, despite ESPN's screwed up scheduling, World Poker Tour, and the newcomer, High Stakes Poker.
Now it looks like two of the three could be in trouble. It seems that the expected dates for the renewals of WPT and High Stakes over at GSN have come and gone. The speculation is that the new CEO at GSN, David Goldhill, wants to move away from the interest in poker that the former CEO, Rich Cronin, brought to the network. Goldhill would instead like to get back to more traditional game shows.
The move is somewhat surprising because the shows both do very well in the Adults 18-49 demo. For the network, High Stakes is number one, while the recently relocated WPT comes in at number six. They do both take a hit when you look at total viewers though, with WPT moving to seventh and High Stakes falling to twenty-eighth. That twenty-eighth place number is troubling, but with so much attention paid to the A18-49 number these days, it's still odd to see a network actively trying to get older.
Should both shows fail to be picked up, all is not lost for fans of High Stakes. The show is produced by Poker Prods., who also do Poker After Dark for NBC. They've said that they have plans to do a High Stakes-style cash game in July. No word yet on what other options there might be for the WPT. I hope that both of them can find a spot somewhere in the vastness of cable television.