The new syndicated game show with a tie-in to state lotteries launches this weekend on stations from groups including Sinclair, Hearst and many others.
After a delay of a few weeks, the syndicated game show Monopoly Millionaires’ Club is debuting this weekend on stations including Tribune Media’s CW affiliates WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles and WGN Chicago; 41 stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, plus stations owned by Hearst and many other groups.
The all-barter show (7.5 local minutes and 7.5 national minutes) has been cleared in 96% of television homes in states with a lottery game.
“It will air in prime access on the Big Four affiliates; in primetime on CW affiliates, MNT affiliates and independents; and after late news in the Central time zone,” says Barry Wallach, who’s handling syndication sales for Scientific Games Distribution. Wallach is the former president of NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution.
“We have original episodes from late March through April, May and into June. We’ll go into repeats for the summer. Then we’ll be back with originals in the fall.”
Monopoly is a one-hour weekend show from Scientific Games Productions in association with Hasbro Studios. Deal Or No Deal’s Scott St. John and Hasbro Studios’ Kevin Belinkoff are executive producers. Mike & Molly’s Billy Gardell hosts.
The show tapes just off the Las Vegas Strip in front of a studio audience consisting of people who won a trip to the show by playing the Monopoly Millionaire’s Club lottery game.
On the show, contestants first play mini games like “Advance to Boardwalk,” where they can win money. They can move on to the “Go or No” round, where they can advance to “Monopoly Go” for a chance to win $1 million.
“The show moves along and it has very high production values,” says Bill Carroll, VP and director of content strategy at Katz Television Group. “It holds up as a game show. This has the potential to generate audience interest at a time when it won’t be competing the way a show would in September.”
Each episode will also include a one-minute segment where stations can highlight local contestants playing the game. Each state lottery participating will have a player from their state in every episode.
“This has never been done before, as far as we know,” says Wallach.
The show has a highly polished look that reflects what some sources say is a $1 million per episode budget. A spokesperson for Scientific Games wouldn’t comment on the show’s budget.
“It looks amazing,” says Sean Compton, president of strategic programming and acquisitions at Tribune Media. “It’s probably the biggest unscripted weekend show I’ve seen in syndication. The set and the prizes are fantastic. We were excited about the concept. We’re more excited now that we’ve seen the execution.”
Still, the show has had a bumpy entry into broadcast syndication since October when Scientific Games announced the show was almost fully cleared for a February debut.
Since then the lottery game Monopoly Millionaires’ Club, which funds the TV production, stumbled. Scientific Games scrapped the game in December due to weak sales.
The current version of the game is a simpler-to-play scratch-off card that has begun to roll out in participating states.
“I’m not worried about that,” says Compton. “It’s like anything else. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I feel good about it.”
If the lottery game and the show do well, Wallach says he’ll start talking to stations about second-season renewals.
“If the show debuts and it’s getting ratings and the lottery is selling tickets, I’d guess we’ll be back out by the fall,” he says. “Retail sales are a big part of this.”