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Test Your Syndicated Programming Knowledge 

Let's See How Many of the 10 Questions You Get Correct

Since we all know what comes after Christmas and New Year’s Day – the annual National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) conference – let’s prepare ourselves with this brief quiz on current, and past, first-run syndicated series entries. I included stripped talk, court, game and magazine, and weekly scripted sitcoms and action/adventure hours. And this comes on the heels of the next set of new first-run syndicated programs joining the marketplace, beginning with the return of Judge Joe Brown in weekly half-hour “Hot Topics with Judge Joe Brown” in January.

Scroll down for the answer to each question.

1. Oprah Winfrey has a secret she does not want you to know…Daytime talk show “Oprah” was actually not the top-rated series in the category in one of its 25 seasons. What show beat her and what season was that?

2. Remember “USA Today: The Television Show,” based on the newspaper of the same name? What year did it begin in? Bonus question: Who were the four original hosts?

3. “Judge Joe Brown,” a staple in daytime court, ran for 15 seasons…from 1998 to 2013. Previously, Judge Joe was the first African-American prosecutor in a U.S. city in Tennessee. What city was that?

a) Chattanooga
b) Gatlinburg
c) Knoxville
d) Memphis
e) Nashville

< 4. Syndicated entertainment newsmagazine “The Insider,” a spin-off from “Entertainment Tonight,” had its title briefly changed (before morphing back to “The Insider”). What title was that? Bonus: What season was that?

5. Which one of the following five first-run weekly scripted action hours actually began on a broadcast network?

a) “Baywatch”
b) “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”
c) “Renegade”
d) “V.I.P.”
e) “Xena: Warrior Princess.”

6. Remember that cult classic sitcom about a robotics engineer who secretly creates a robot modeled after a human girl, then tries to pass it off as their adopted daughter? What was the name of the show? Bonus: How many seasons did it run for?

7. “Wheel of Fortune” from CBS Television Distribution, now in season 35 and hosted by Pat Sajak, actually began on NBC in daytime in January of 1975. Who was the original host?

8. How many individuals, to-date, have hosted syndicated versions of game show “Family Feud” and who are they?

9. Which one of the following five sitcoms began in first-run syndication and then moved to network television?

a) “Charles in Charge”
b) “Mama’s Family”
c) “Mister Ed”
d) “Punky Brewster”
e) “We Got it Made”


10. Which one of the following personalities has yet to attempt to host a syndicated daytime talk show?

a) Roseanne Barr
b) Harry Connick, Jr.
c) Howie Mandel
d) Robin Quivers
e) Suzanne Somers
f) they have all hosted talk shows


1. “The Jerry Springer Show,” which inched past “Oprah” (7.8 to 7.7 household rating) in the 1997-98 season.

2. 1998…September 12, 1988, to be exact. The expectations were particularly high, and a 10.8 household rating for “USA Today: The Television Show” in the first week, according to Nielsen, was below the 12-rating guarantee. The original hosts were Edie Magnus, Robin Young, Bill Macatee and Kenneth Walker. Midway through the first (of two) seasons, Young and Walker exited, and the hosting chores went to Edie Magnus and Bill Macatee. Magnus departed next and was replaced with correspondent Beth Ruyak. Once Macatee and Ruyak took over, the title was changed to “USA Today on TV.”

3. d) Memphis. Joe Brown later opened his own law practice before becoming a judge on the State Criminal Court of Shelby County, Tennessee. His court strip, “Judge Joe Brown,” was the No. 2 rated show at the time in syndicated court (behind “Judge Judy”). He returns in January as host of “Hot Topics with Judge Joe,” featuring Judge Joe and his guests debating the hottest issues (including pop culture, sex, health and breaking news).

For more on “Hot Topics with Judge Joe,” click here.

4. “omg! Insider,” which surfaced on January 7, 2013 and had that title until January 6, 2014. Earlier, CBS Television Distribution reached a brand licensing and content agreement with Yahoo! to pool content, which resulted in the temporary name change.

5. a) “Baywatch,” which produced 22 hour-long episodes for NBC in the 1989-90 TV season. After the network prematurely canceled it, “Baywatch” lived on for another 10 seasons (from 1991 to 2001) in first-run syndication (with a name change to “Baywatch: Hawaii” in the final two seasons). The original production company was GTG (Grant Tinker/Gannett), which also produced “USA Today: The Television Show”)

6. “Small Wonder,” which produced 96 episodes from 1985 to 1989. Shades of “Bewitched”: The Lawson family on “Small Wonder” tries to keep the robot’s existence (“Vicki”) a secret, but their nosy neighbors, the Brindles, keep on popping up at the most unexpected moments. That includes obnoxious little girl Harriet, whose father happens to be Ted Lawson’s co-worker.

7. Chuck Woolery, who hosted the original version of “Wheel of Fortune” from its 1975 premiere until December 25, 1981.

8. Six: Richard Dawson (1976-85; 1994-95); Ray Combs (1988-94), Louie Anderson (1999-2002), Richard Karn (2002-06), John O’Hurley (2006-10) and, at present, Steve Harvey. Al Roker also briefly hosted “Celebrity Family Feud” on NBC in 2008, while Steve Harvey handles the hosting chores on the recent ABC primetime version.

9. c) “Mister Ed,” which first aired in syndication from January 5 to July 2, 1961 and then on CBS from October 1, 1961 to February 6, 1966. All together now…

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He’ll give you the answer that you’ll endorse.
He’s always on a steady course.
Talk to Mr. Ed.

People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mister Ed will never speak unless he has something to say.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one’ll talk ’til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well listen to this.
I am Mister Ed.

10. d) Robin Quivers. Howard Stern’s radio sidekick was in talks to host a show from Sony Pictures Television. It would have debuted in 2005, but there was not enough interest from stations to move forward. The most recent was Harry Connick, Jr.

The moral of that story: Never take on hosting chores unless you bring something both proven and unique (a la Judge Joe Brown) to the table.

Wishing You All a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2019!