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Prof says game shows are signs of the times

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–The sudden phenomenon of TV game shows is not a simple accident, said Steve Beverly, but a loud statement from society for a return to family values.

Beverly is a columnist for the Game Show Network; host of his own game show website, The Game Show Convention Center; and a professor at Union University, a Baptist-affiliated college in Jackson, Tenn.

“America as a whole is looking for something different in their entertainment choices,” Beverly said.

“The 1990s were the decade of the ‘sex-com.’ Every comedy shown on the air had some measure or element of sex, which when you think about it, is really a symbol of the breakdown of values in America,” he said. “I think the audience has seen enough. The shock value is wearing down and even the news magazines are starting to lose speed.”

As proof, Beverly pointed to the eroding ratings of such shows as ABC’s “20/20” and NBC’s “Dateline.”

Times are changing, however, and Beverly said the ratings reflect that reality.

“Look at [‘Who Wants to Be a] Millionaire.’ For the last two weeks it’s been new programming showing three times a week, and it has been the number one show on the air, beating out every network, hands down,” Beverly said. “And it’s a G-rated show.

“The game show comeback is proof-positive evidence that more Americans are looking for family friendly entertainment — television shows that parents can sit down with their kids and watch together.

“People like to have an experience that doesn’t involve diluting their value system,” Beverly said.

A local public television game show host and 30-year veteran of news broadcasting, Beverly started his website in July (http://fullspeed.to/gameshows) primarily “to fill a niche for game show junkies like myself.” He had no idea where it would lead.

Beverly’s site is unique because he features interviews with actual contestants of the current hit shows such as Millionaire and “Twenty-One,” and he also keeps track of ratings and developments in what is currently the hottest trend in television.

“Right now I’m averaging about 10,000 hits a night,” Beverly said, “and the nights when the game shows are on, it’s higher.”

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  • Sara Horn