WPT and High Stakes Poker Shows Facing the Axe
Two of the highest grossing poker shows of all time could be facing the axe in the States. World Poker Tour was one of the shows that had a significant influence in the origins of the poker boom, but now looks like it could cease broadcasting. GSN granted an extension on the decision to pick up season 7 of the International poker tour. Now the deadline has passed and it doesn't look good for the poker show hosted by Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten.
A few years ago, WPT was worth more than half a billion dollars but now the publicly traded company has a valuation of $23.77 million. Now Steve Lipscomb could be looking for a new TV deal for the poker tour if the news isn't good this week. Why the sudden drop in interest is unsure, although it could well have something to do with the rise in popularity of televised poker and the saturation of the market. It is also reported that GSN want to concentrate more on traditional game show format programming.
It also looks like the cash game show High Stakes Poker will not be getting picked up for another season. The cash game show reached something of a peak last year with the infamous $500,000 buy-in show, where some of the biggest pots ever seen were contested with over $5 million on the table. The loss of High Stakes Poker would be a big blow not just in the States, but in the UK and Europe too, as the show was a big ratings puller on YouTube and PokerTube and considered 'the poker players show'.
GSN will make their decision made later on this week, but hopefully they will give shows like WPT and High Stakes Poker another shot and, if not, let's hope the producers find a new home for them sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, poker on TV in the UK and Europe appears to be going from strength to strength – with regular PartyPoker tournaments on terrestrial television, the rise and rise of Sky Poker and the Poker Channel expanding across Europe.