Fleming's Back in the Game

Michael Fleming will become a returning contestant to cable's game scene this week.

Almost eight years after turning on Game Show Network, as founder and president, and a year after leaving the latter role, Fleming will resurface as chairman of interactive-game provider Buzztime Entertainment.

Buzztime, a subsidiary of interactive-TV programmer NTN Communications Inc., two months ago launched its first project, Buzztime Trivia Channel, on several cable systems owned by Susquehanna Communications.

Early reaction to the service from both Susquehanna management and subscribers has been positive, Fleming said.

"Everyone agrees that interactive games is an essential no-brainer," Fleming said. "But no one has put a suitable enterprise together to make it so. This company has as good a chance as anybody to make it happen. That's why, after thinking about a variety of things to do after leaving Game Show Network, I'm here."

Fleming left GSN last spring after Sony sold half of its ownership position to Liberty Media. Liberty then brought in former Nick at Nite and Fox Family Channel president Rich Cronin to head the service.

Given their set-top and content participation in Cablevision Systems Corp.'s ITV rollout in the New York City metro area, Fleming doesn't discount working with Sony again. "If there's a relationship to be crafted that benefits both of us, we'll make something work with them," he said.