Buzzr

Buzzr is an American digital multicast television network that is 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.[5][6][7] Buzzr marks Fremantle's entry into North American television broadcasting;[4] parent company RTL currently operates numerous TV channels in Europe.

Buzzr
TypeDigital broadcast television network
(game shows)
Country
AvailabilityNationwide via OTA digital TV (U.S. coverage: 65%)[1]
Dish Network (channel 245)
C-band satellite (Galaxy 19 transponder 12)[2]
Comcast (channel 246)
Pluto TV
Stirr
FoundedJanuary 20, 2015 (2015-01-20)
SloganLet's Play
Parent
Key people
  • Mark Deetjen (general manager)[3]
Launch date
June 1, 2015 (2015-06-01)[4]
Picture format
480i (SDTV)
AffiliatesList of affiliates
Official website
www.buzzrtv.com

Buzzr's subchannel is seen in 62 U.S. television markets. The network is also available nationwide on free-to-air C-band satellite via Galaxy 19 in the DVB-S2 format.

History

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.[6][8][9]

On January 20, 2015, FremantleMedia 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.[10][11][12] 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."[6]

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. 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.[4][13][14][15]

In February 2016, Fremantle was sued by Codename Enterprises, a New York-based web development firm, for trademark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition, as it has done business under the name "Buzzr" since 2009. The suit argued that Fremantle's use of the brand on its YouTube channel had associated it with objectionable content, and alleged that Fremantle had displaced its own YouTube channel URL to point towards it.[16]

In 2016, to celebrate the upcoming 75th year of the genre,[17] 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"[18] based on their former prime-time programming block.

On March 27, 2017, Buzzr began airing paid programming from 6 to 8 AM on weekdays, and from 6 to 10 AM on weekends. On January 1, 2018, paid programming was also added to the 5 AM hour for both weekdays and weekends.

In June 2018, Buzzr launched a live stream hosted on their website, which mirrors the network broadcast.[19]

Programming

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.[20] 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[5][6][7] (including, beginning in 2019, the Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, which, up until then, had never been shown in reruns)[21] and the original 1950s & 1960s version of The Price Is Right hosted by Bill Cullen.[22] In addition to the Mark Goodson-Bill Todman programs mentioned above, Buzzr's library includes the Al Howard Productions (Sale of the Century and Supermarket Sweep), Bill Carruthers (Press Your Luck) and Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall (Let's Make a Deal and Split Second) catalogs.

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.[23]

Buzzr airs the core minimum educational children's programming requirements, leading out of its weekend morning infomercial blocks to minimize interruption; DragonflyTV, Aqua Kids and Wild at the San Diego Zoo each air twice weekly. 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

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.[24][25][26][27] Buzzr also provided some game show programming to Nosey, a site offering video-on-demand of daytime television reruns. The local Buzzr affiliate sub-channel is carried in some areas on the streaming services LocalBTV, Locast and iGoCast as well.

In 2018, as part of their third birthday celebration, Buzzr[28] launched a livestream of the over-the-air telecast on their website. Later that year, Buzzr was added to Pluto TV.[29][30][31]

In 2019, Stirr, a free over-the-top service launched by Sinclair Broadcast Group, included Buzzr among its offerings.[32] 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).[33]

Affiliates

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.[34]

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 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 and DallasFort Worth), with an initial reach of 37% of U.S. television homes.[5][10][22] In four of the network's launch markets (New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas–Fort Worth, and Phoenix), 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.[35]

Debmar-Mercury (which serves as the distribution partner for the current syndicated run of the Fremantle-produced Family Feud) was hired by FremantleMedia to handle responsibility for the recruitment of affiliates through agreements with other broadcasting companies.[5][7][22][36] The network hopes to expand its charter affiliate footprint to reach markets covering 50 million U.S. households with at least one television set.[6]

In September 2016, Yes TV, a small Canadian television system with stations in Ontario and Alberta, began airing a Buzzr-branded programming block 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.[37] 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

City of license/market Station[5][38] Virtual
channel
Owner Notes

Alabama

BirminghamWUOA-LD46.2DTV America
MontgomeryWDSF-LD19.2Replaced Dr. TV

Arizona

PhoenixKUTP45.3Fox Television Stations

Arkansas

FayettevilleKAJL-LD16.4DTV America

California

BakersfieldKCBT-LD34.8Cocola BroadcastingLaunch date TBD
Los AngelesKCOP-TV13.2Fox Television StationsReplaced Bounce TV
MontereyKYMB-LD27.4Cocola Broadcasting
Oakland-San FranciscoKTVU2.4Fox Television Stations
Reedley-FresnoKVBC-LP13.7Cocola Broadcasting
SacramentoKSAO-LD49.3

Colorado

DenverKSBS-CD3.3Denver Digital Television, LLC
SterlingKCDO-TV3.3Newsweb CorporationReplaced HSN

District of Columbia

WashingtonWTTG5.2Fox Television Stations

Florida

Fort MyersWGPS-LP22.4DTV America
Jacksonville-Live OakWKBJ-LD20.1
Key West - MiamiWGEN-TV8.3Liberman Broadcasting
OrlandoWRBW65.4Fox Television Stations
Tampa-St. PetersburgWTVT13.3
West Palm BeachWXOD-LD33.1DTV America

Georgia

AtlantaWAGA-TV5.3Fox Television Stations

Idaho

BoiseKKJB39.4Cocola Broadcasting

Illinois

ChicagoWFLD32.3Fox Television StationsRelocated from WPWR-TV 50.4

Indiana

IndianapolisWUDZ-LD28.1DTV America

Iowa

Des MoinesKAJR-LD36.5DTV America

Kansas

SubletteKDGL-LD23.2High Plains Broadcasting, LLC.
Dodge CityKDDC-LD
Garden CityKGCE-LD
LiberalKSWE-LD
UlyssesKDGU-LD
Kansas CityKCKS-LD25.1Heartland Broadcasting, LLC.
Kansas CityKMJC-LD
TopekaWROB-LD
WichitaKGPT-CD26.9Great Plains TV

Kentucky

Bowling GreenWCZU-LD39.2DTV America
LouisvilleW50CI-D50.1South Central Communications
East BernstadtWBON-LD9.1

Louisiana

LafayetteK18JF-D20.2HC2 HoldingsLaunch Date TBD
New OrleansWQDT-LD34.1HC2 Holdings
ShreveportKBXS-CD14.1L4 Media Group

Massachusetts

BostonWLVI-TV56.2Sunbeam TelevisionReplaced ZUUS Country

Michigan

DetroitWJBK2.3Fox Television Stations
Lake City-CadillacWMNN-LD26.6Freelancer Television Broadcasting

Minnesota

Minneapolis-St. PaulKMSP-TV9.4Fox Television StationsReplaced Bounce TV

Missouri

Joplin-PittsburgKPJO-LD49.4DTV America
Kansas CityKCKS-LD25.1
St. LouisKBGU-LP33.1Replaced MundoMax

Nevada

Las VegasKGNG-LD26.4King Kong Broadcasting
New Jersey
Secaucus/New York City WWOR-TV 9.3 Fox Television Stations Replaced Bounce TV

New York

AlbanyWYBN-LD14.1Cable Ad Net New York Inc.Replaced Youtoo America
BuffaloWBXZ-LP56.8Steven Ritchie

New Mexico

AlbuquerqueKRTN-LD39.2Ramar Communications

North Carolina

Fayetteville-RaleighWNCB-LD16.2DTV America
CharlotteWJZY-TV46.7Fox Television Stations

North Dakota

Valley City-FargoKRDK-TV4.10Major Market Broadcasting

Ohio

Cleveland-Canton-AkronWUEK-LD26.2DTV America
Columbus-MarionWOCB-CD39.2Cen. Ohio Assoc. of Christian Broadcasters
PortsmouthWTZP-LD50.3Eagle Broadcasting Group, Inc.Replaced Laff

Oklahoma

Oklahoma CityKBZC-LD42.3DTV America Corporation
TulsaKUOC-LD48.1

Pennsylvania

PhiladelphiaWTXF-TV29.4Fox Television Stations
PittsburghWOSC-CD61.3The Video House
State College-JohnstownWHVL-LP29.2Channel Communications, LLCReplaced YouToo America

Tennessee

White House-NashvilleWKUW-LD40.1DTV AmericaReplacing Dr. TV
MemphisKPMF-LD26.4DTV America

Texas

AmarilloKLKW-LD22.4DTV America
AustinKTBC7.3Fox Television Stations
College Station-Bryan-WacoKZCZ-LD34.5DTV America
Dallas-Fort WorthKDFI27.3Fox Television StationsReplaced Bounce TV
HoustonKTXH20.4Fox Television Stations
San AntonioKOBS-LD19.2DTV America Corporation
TylerKPKN-LD33.1

Utah

Salt Lake CityKBTU-LP23.3DTV AmericaLaunched November 2016

Wisconsin

MilwaukeeWTSJ-LP38.2DTV America

List of former affiliates

City of license/market Station Virtual
channel
Owner Dates of affiliation Notes

Indiana

Gary (Chicago, Illinois)WPWR-TV50.4Fox Television StationsFebruary 2016 - June 10, 2018Moved to WFLD 32.3

Ohio

CincinnatiWOTH-CD20.3Block BroadcastingJuly 2015 - January 23, 2018Replaced Antenna TV
ceased broadcasting Jan. 2018

Utah

Ogden-Salt Lake CityKUCW30.3Nexstar Media GroupJuly 3, 2015 - September 2, 2016Replaced ZUUS Country in 2015
Replaced by Escape in 2016

See also

References

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  2. "Galaxy 19 at 97.0°W - LyngSat". www.lyngsat.com.
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  11. Cynthia Littleton (January 20, 2015). "Fox Stations to Launch Game Show Digital Channel From FremantleMedia". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  12. Michael Schneider. "Retro Game Shows Find a New Network Home". tvinsider. tvinsider.com. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  13. Clive Whittingham (April 14, 2015). "Fremantle builds up Buzzr team". C21 Media. C21 Media Limited.
  14. "Monty Hall makes 'Deal' for classic games". USA Today. Gannett Company. June 1, 2015.
  15. Kondolojy, Amanda (June 1, 2015). "New Digital Multicast Network Buzr Launches Today, June 1, 2015". TV by the Numbers (Press release). Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. Spangler, Todd (February 24, 2016). "FremantleMedia Sued Over 'Buzzr' Game Show TV Network Name". Variety. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  17. BUZZRPlus (6 January 2016). "75th Anniversary of the TV Game Show" via YouTube.
  18. "BUZZR Casino - Ludia". www.ludia.com.
  19. Bouma, Luke (2018-05-31). "The TV Network Buzzr is Launching a FREE Online Stream". Cord Cutters News. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  20. Megan Daley (January 20, 2015). "Fox Television Stations gets rights to classic game show library Buzzr TV". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  21. Adalian, Josef (2019-02-01). "Holy [Blank]: The Long-Lost Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour Returns to TV After 35-Year Absence". www.vulture.com. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  22. Alex Ben Block (January 20, 2015). "Fox TV Stations to Air Classic Game Shows From Buzzr TV's Massive Library". The Hollywood Reporter. Guggenheim Digital Media. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  23. "Sneak Peek: Game Changers & Hosting". Buzzr. September 11, 2017.
  24. "We're sad to announce we will not be returning to Twitch".
  25. "Buzzr by Nosey". nosey.
  26. "Amazon.com: Vintage Game Shows: Prime Video". www.amazon.com.
  27. "BUZZR - Twitch". Twitch.
  28. "BUZZR". www.buzzrtv.com.
  29. Prange, Stephanie (30 October 2018). "Pluto TV Launches Classic Game Show Channel Buzzr" via MediaPlayNews.
  30. "BUZZR Guide by Pluto TV".
  31. "BUZZR on Pluto TV".
  32. "TV broadcaster Sinclair launches STIRR, a free streaming service with local news and sports".
  33. Bouma, Luke (July 17, 2019). "Sinclair's Free Stirr Streaming Service Plans to Add 12 New Channels & Hits 1 Million Downloads". Cord Cutters News. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  34. "Stations for Network - Buzzr TV". RabbitEars. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  35. Jon Lafayette (March 4, 2014). "Exclusive: Bounce TV Extends Univision Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  36. Paige Albiniak (January 20, 2015). "Fox TV Stations Acquire Buzzr TV, New Multicast Net from FremantleMedia North America". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  37. Yes TV (Crossroads Christian Communications) (June 16, 2016). "yesTV Announces Fall Lineup (press release)". Retrieved August 25, 2016.
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