Re: Downsizing the WPT

by , Feb 12, 2008 | 3:08 pm

From the looks of the press release that just came in, all is well in WPTville. At first glance I thought I was gonna have to do an, “Oops, we were wrong!” post … but then I realized this is simply announcing the TV schedule for Season 6 — on GSN instead of the Travel Channel — and not anything about upcoming events for Season 7.

Will be interesting to see what effect the move to GSN has on WPT ratings and revenues … and can only guess that the bosses at WPT are thinking the same thing. At a minimum they have made it easy to compare, as last year’s sked seems rather robust:

GSN, THE NEW NETWORK HOME OF THE WORLD POKER TOUR®,
ANNOUNCES SEASON VI TELECAST SCHEDULE

New Hostess Layla Kayleigh Will Make Her Debut Joining WPT Commentators Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten

(Los Angeles, CA) – Tuesday, February 12, 2008 – WPT Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: WPTE) and its new network partner, GSN, announced today the sixth season television schedule featuring 23 two-hour World Poker Tour® (WPT) episodes. The season premieres in its new timeslot on GSN Monday, March 24 at 9 PM ET/PT kicking off with the Mirage Poker Showdown.

The new season features three new tour stops, more than 20 new WPT Poker-Made Millionaires and new hostess, Layla Kayleigh. Making Monday nights the ultimate destination for poker entertainment, the WPT will follow GSN’s popular HIGH STAKES POKER “cash game” series.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have GSN as our partner and the new home of WPT,” said WPTE President, Founder and CEO, Steve Lipscomb. “GSN and WPT are dedicated to collectively broadening the poker experience for fans and viewers and cannot wait to kick off our best season yet.”

“The WPT is one of the strongest brands on television, and poker fans will enjoy the action every Monday night on GSN,” said Jamie Roberts, Senior Vice President of Programming, GSN. “With the popularity of our original cash game HIGH STAKES POKER and the WORLD POKER TOUR, there is no better place to watch poker on television.”

As the new home of the WPT, GSN will televise tournaments from the most prestigious casinos and locations around the world including Barcelona, Spain; Turks and Caicos Islands in the British West Indies; and Niagara Falls, Canada. The WPT schedule begins with two events from Las Vegas and continues to feature popular stops at The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, Bellagio in Las Vegas, Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, Foxwoods Casino Resort in Mashantucket, Conn. and many others.

Returning for their sixth season is the popular announcing team of Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten. Joining them this season is new hostess, Layla Kayleigh, who is making her poker debut and will be reporting from the sidelines with updates and player interviews. Layla has previously appeared on G4 and Fox Sports Net. WPT live update online hostess, Kimberly Lansing, will also make her debut on GSN providing a behind-the-scenes look at the tournament action that led up to the final tables.

Other highlights from the WPT on GSN this season include Barry Greenstein and contender for WPT Season VI Player of the Year, Jonathan Little, colliding at the final table of the North American Poker Classic, WPT Ladies Night following Mother’s Day in May, the Foxwoods World Poker Finals in June, the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic at the Bellagio, the popular WPT Celebrity Invitational at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles and the season ending WPT World Championship airing August 25.

The WPT on GSN will feature encore showings Monday nights at Midnight ET/PT and the following Sunday nights from 7 to 9 PM.

The WPT created a global phenomenon by making poker a televised spectator sport. To date, the WPT has aired over 100 episodes, awarded over $300 million in cash prizes and crowned over 80 WPT Poker-Made Millionairesâ„¢. Steve Lipscomb and Joseph Grimm are the Executive Producers of the World Poker Tour. Robyn Moder is the Executive Vice President of WPT Studios.

*** The complete WPT on GSN schedule is on the next page.

About WPTE
WPT Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: WPTE) is a company engaged in the creation of internationally branded entertainment and consumer products driven by the development, production, and marketing of televised programming based on gaming themes. WPTE is the creator of the World Poker Tour®, a television show based on a series of high-stakes poker tournaments that will begin broadcasting in the United States on its new network home, GSN, in March 2008. WPT is licensed for broadcast globally. WPTE also offers a real-money online gaming website which prohibits wagers from players in the U.S. and other restricted jurisdictions. WPTE currently licenses its brand to companies in the business of poker equipment and instruction, apparel, publishing, electronic and wireless entertainment, DVD/home entertainment, casino games, and giftware. The company is also engaged in the sale of corporate sponsorships. For show information, tools for improving poker play, and other WPT news, fans may log on to www.worldpokertour.com. WPT Enterprises, Inc. is a majority owned subsidiary of Lakes Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: LACO).

About GSN

GSN is an industry-leading, game content provider distributing competition programming through its 66-million subscriber cable television network and its casual and skill-based online games site, GSN.com. As the premier television network for games, GSN produces some of the most popular original casino and game show series on TV today. GSN.com features all types of game play: flash games for fun, skill cash game tournaments and free downloadable games. GSN is distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada by all major cable operators, satellite providers and telcos. The company is jointly owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Liberty Media Corporation. For further information, visit GSN’s press website at corp.gsn.com.

THE WPT ON GSN SEASON VI SCHEDULE
Monday Nights at 9 PM ET/PT

DATE WPT TOURNAMENT CASINO/LOCATION

March 24 Mirage Poker Showdown, The Mirage, Las Vegas
March 31 Bellagio Cup III part 1 Bellagio, Las Vegas
April 7 Bellagio Cup III part 2 Bellagio, Las Vegas
April 14 Legends of Poker The Bicycle Casino, Los Angeles
April 21 North American Poker Classic Fallsview Casino Resort, Niagara Falls, Canada
April 28 Mandalay Bay Poker Championship Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
May 5 Borgata Poker Open Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City
May 12 WPT Ladies Night V The Bicycle Casino, Los Angeles
May 19 Turks and Caicos Poker Classic The Players Club, Turks and Caicos, British West Indies
May 26 Gulf Coast Poker Championship Beau Rivage, Biloxi, MS
June 2 WPT Spanish Championship Casino Barcelona, Spain
June 9 Foxwoods World Poker Finals Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT
June 16 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic Bellagio, Las Vegas
June 23 World Poker Open Part 1 Gold Strike, Tunica, MS
June 30 World Poker Open Part 2 Gold Strike, Tunica, MS
July 7 Borgata Poker Classic Borgata, Atlantic City, NJ
July 14 L.A. Poker Classic Commerce Casino, Los Angeles
July 21 WPT Celebrity Invitational Commerce Casino, Los Angeles
July 28 Bay 101 Shooting Star Bay 101, San Jose, CA
August 4 World Poker Challenge Grand Sierra Resort, Reno
August 11 Foxwoods Poker Classic Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT
August 18 WPT Ladies Championship Bellagio, Las Vegas
August 25 WPT World Championship Bellagio, Las Vegas

*** All WPT on GSN events will be replayed Monday nights at Midnight ET/PT and the following Sunday evenings at 7-9 PM ET/PT.

(Schedule is subject to change.)


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