The Next Great Idea Netflix Hasn't Thought Of Yet

By Michael Avery in Entertainment On 1st October 2015


Television staples like The Price Is Right and Jeopardy! are such TV classics that when the host of the latter shaved his trademark mustache, we just about had a national moment of silence. Game shows are the original interactive television. People love to play along at home, shouting out the answers and imagining their chance at winning a Showcase Showdown full of exercise equipment and a trip to Fiji. It's not even hard to come up with game shows. Remember Card Sharks? That was literally a drinking game where you guess whether the next card is going to be higher or lower than the one already showing. That was on the air for a total of 13 years and is barely even a game.

Here you go Netflix, this one's on us: Head Games. Players submit a series of increasingly embarrassing facts about themselves prior to the game. The game is single elimination pop culture triviaone wrong answer and you lose, but the twist is that if a player feels they don't know the answer, they can save themselves by letting the host reveal one of their facts. Tagline: How much is your dirty laundry worth? You're welcome.


Drew Carey, Wayne Brady, and Steve Harvey have all stepped into iconic host roles on classic game shows. With a whole new wave of young comics performing regularly at clubs, it's time some proven funny men and women get a shot at a lucrative, stable gig. Imagine Dave Attell hosting some sort of drinking olympics show, where rival fraternities or NASCAR fans compete against each other. Or Jim Gaffigan hosting an eating competition show called Hot Pockets where blindfolded contestants have to reach into a steaming mystery bag of food and guess what it is. If they're wrong, they have to eat the whole thing, and whoever has the shortest time wins. The possibilities are endless! Now we're hungry.

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America could finally rival Japan in terms of game show craziness if it was let off the chain on a sponsorless network like Netflix. There are no shortage of desperate potential contestants out there who are willing to do virtually anything for a huge payout. And how crazy would America's Funniest Home Videos get if they weren't worried about something like Tide's corporate image? All of a sudden, YouTube and LiveLeak contributors would be competing for actual cash instead of just viral fame and a chance to meet Matt Lauer. Even existing game shows could get in on the uncensored angle with spin-off versions of themselves...but with the simple addition of the word "Naked" tacked onto their show title. It could work for just about every show! Okay, maybe not Family Feud.


With over 60 million streaming subscribers paying eight bucks a month, Netflix is bringing in about half a billion dollars every 30 days. Remember when the first-ever million dollar prize was a big deal for a TV game show? Netflix makes that off of the population of a city like Flint, Michigan in one month. They could rival the biggest Powerball and Mega Millions prizes combined and nobody would have to wait in line at a gas station to win it. They could even make a new subscriber event out of it, assigning raffle numbers for each new subscription (and giving ones to existing customers to make it fair) and they could watch their numbers skyrocket. People would probably buy Netflix accessible devices just to get in on something like that. Then, once they've subscribed, they can experience the joy of watching every Leprechaun sequel over and over, a scenario that undeniably creates a customer for life.

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When Netflix drops an entire season of House of Cards or Orange Is The New Black, servers everywhere issue a collective groan. Most diehard viewers knock those shows out in a weekend marathon that results in a red-eyed Monday devoid of any productivity. Then they have to wait an excruciating year for the next season and go back to that awful, endless scroll through everything they've already watched or don't care about. Game shows rely on formulaic repetition of the same concept, just with different contestants. There is no end to the amount of episodes Netflix could produce, but even just a steady, daily show, like Wheel of Fortune or Let's Make A Deal could help relieve some of the pressure from viewers craving new content.


Embraced by millennials and gen-Xers, Netflix still has yet to fully separate baby boomers and senior citizens from their cable remotes. Part of this, of course, is due to a resistance or inexperience with new technology, but part of it has to do with programming. The '70s and '80s were arguably the heyday of game shows, so mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa are probably still nostalgic for the days when the entire family plopped down in front of a floor set and yelled "No Whammies!" together. Netflix could easily tap into that nostalgia then start front-loading their trademark "Recommended For You" category with nothing but Matlock, Murder She Wrote, and Masterpiece Theatre. In the same way that smartphone technologies like texting and convenient apps lured reluctant older users into adoption, game shows can make them see the value in plunking down eight bucks a month to recapture a sentimental TV watching experience.