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WPT Season Six moves to GSN

5 April 2007

The Game Show Network plans to couple their ratings giant High Stakes Poker (HSP) with the newly acquired World Poker Tour franchise as part of a Monday night "must-see-TV-type" package beginning early next year, GSN President Rich Cronin said.



"It's going to be right in prime time as part of our Casino Night," Cronin said. "I think it will prove to be great synergy to have our poker cash game coupled with great tournament poker play."



The WPT, hosted by the Travel Channel for five seasons, announced the move today. The season-six contract agrees to air 23-episodes, starting with the Mirage Poker Showdown, which will begin taping in May.



"The deal wasn't in the works for very long," WPT President Steve Lipscomb said. "We were able to work together with the Travel Channel to know we were going to move somewhere else. GSN is where we'll be able to do great things."



As part of the deal, the WPT will receive a little less than $200,000 of the amount they received per-episode from the Travel Channel, Lipscomb said. In exchange, Cronin said his channel will heavily promote the show - a situation Lipscomb believes is worth more than the monetary difference in the licensing fee.



Lipscomb said the lesser price was not the result of an over-saturated televised market.



"We do these things (show production) more efficiently than in the past so that's part of it," Lipscomb said. "We asked GSN to give us a specific commitment to promoting the show which is the bigger part. This is something we haven't had for quite some time and it's more important to us than a pure license fee in terms of growing our brand."



GSN viewer demographics were a key element in the decision. Although GSN is broadcast to more than 20,000,000 million less homes than the Travel Channel, Cronin said his viewers "are a natural fit" for the WPT.



HSP is GSN's top ranked show in the important 18-34 year old male and 25-54 year old adult demographics. Additionally, Casino-based programming, such as the World Series of Blackjack, which is in its fourth season with GSN, have always faired well. Lipscomb and Cronin said this is the same audience they hope to target with WPT broadcast advertising.



Cronin said he was unsure which show will serve as the lead-in.



"We always wanted to have the WPT on our network," Cronin said.



The fate of the Professional Poker Tour, an off-shoot of the WPT brand that aired for one season on the Travel Channel, remains unclear. Lipscomb said he plans to focus on growing the WPT brand, but did not rule out any future negotiations with GSN about the PPT. Casino City reported late last year that the WPT had contacted GSN as a possible home for the PPT, but nothing came from those discussions and the PPT remains in limbo.



Although the WPT broadcast-rights deal is for one season only, Cronin said it was "highly likely" that the contract would be extended.



"Most television deals are for one season," Cronin said. "You're always gambling when you air a brand new show, but that's not what we're getting with the WPT. This is a proven commodity and we're sure it will do well."








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Best of Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane

Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. He applied for this job thinking it was a joke, only to find it out that it's true, people will pay you to write about poker. His favorite word is ridiculous.

After receiving his BA in History from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, he somehow ended up freelance reporting for a couple years before being deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III with the Massachusetts National Guard. He's back now and is a strong advocate of the phrase "God Bless America."

Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news. Feature writing is his passion and there is no need to ask for his opinion, he'll probably offer it first - free of charge.
Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. He applied for this job thinking it was a joke, only to find it out that it's true, people will pay you to write about poker. His favorite word is ridiculous.

After receiving his BA in History from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, he somehow ended up freelance reporting for a couple years before being deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III with the Massachusetts National Guard. He's back now and is a strong advocate of the phrase "God Bless America."

Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news. Feature writing is his passion and there is no need to ask for his opinion, he'll probably offer it first - free of charge.