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August 31, 2015

Is a new Match Game on the way?

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 31st 2008 9:31AM
Match Game DVDInteresting story in The Hollywood Reporter today: Fremantle Media, who owns American Idol, The Price is Right, and a number of popular game shows, is looking to revive Match Game.

That's right folks: in this era where no section of TV history is left unscathed, everyone's favorite shag-carpeted, wokka-wokka game show from the seventies might be coming to a TV near you soon. Fremantle is currently talking with cable networks about a revival of the show and is also looking for an executive producer, and will hire talent after the EP is brought on board.

The last attempt at a revival of Match Game was done in 1998, and, well... let's just say that it wasn't a success. In fact it was such a disaster that many markets didn't air it until the wee hours of the morning. It had five guest panelists instead of six, and the best regulars they could come up with were Vicki Lawrence, Nell Carter and Judy Tenuta.

Will this new incarnation be as good as the classic version from the seventies and early eighties? Probably not, mainly because Gene Rayburn, Brett Somers, and Charles Nelson Reilly are no longer with us, and Richard Dawson is retired. The chemistry among the four of them is what made the show so good. And, to be honest, the impact of the word "boobs" isn't quite the same as it was back then. But if they do it right, and pick the right celebrities, a Match Game revival might at least be decently entertaining.

I say they should make comedian Jeffrey Ross a regular, given his skill at even the lamest of roasts. Who do you think would work well on a Match Game panel these days? Let me know in the comments.

[via Pop Candy]

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I would love to see this "Match Game" done right.I agree with Kathy Griffin in Brett's old seat.But I would love to see Jon Lovtiz in Charles' third chair,and Seth Green ("Family Guy") in the 5th seat (Richard Dawson's old chair).I would like to see Joey Lauren Adams ("Chasing Amy") every so often because she reminds me of Joyce Buiffuant,don't ask me why.

But they need to get a good host to make the chemestry gel.So Michael Burger is automatically OUT!

March 28 2008 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No one can ever duplicate what original host Gene Rayburn and panelists Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers brought to Match Game, but why bother doing that- it would be a waste of time to duplicate what they've done. Match Game can become a hit again, but with a different array of available talent, provided they can interract well with each other. For instance, there's Bruce Vilanch and the outrageous Kathy Griffin-they could very well hold the key to reviving Match Game. Bruce and Kathy aren't Charles and Brett, but they don't need to be- they can just be themselves. For the next host of Match Game, I've got one host in mind who is as flamboyant as both Bruce and Kathy, and has also appeared with them on Hollywood Squares in the late 90's. I'm talking about Craig Shoemaker(BTW, during that time, he hosted VH1's short-lived game show My Generation). Craig isn't Gene Rayburn, but he doesn't have to be- he can host the show his way, create his own characters, develop his own monologue and he knows how to interract with Bruce Vilanch and Kathy Griffin. If he can interract with them, he can interract with the contestants as well as the panelists. I can definitely see Shoe as MG's next host, but I can also see him hosting while sporting his mustache and goatee, which could attract female viewers. At the same time, he also has a nice fan base with younger fans. Imagine Match Game with Craig Shoemaker as host and both Bruce Vilanch and Kathy Griffin as regular panelists. Since MG still needs an exec. producer, why don't Fremantle Media North America consult Syd Vinnedge and bring back Dick DeBartolo as lead writer for the show. Case and point, no one can ever replace the greatness of Gene Rayburn, Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers- it's impossible. You don't replace them, you succeed them, if you know what I mean, and based on what I've seen so far, Craig Shoemaker, Bruce Vilanch and Kathy Griffin are as flamboyant as they come and I can definitely see them possibly carrying Match Game in the future. Something to think about.

February 15 2008 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Kathy Griffen would be great, but not as a regular. I love the old show and I doubt there is anyways it could be half as good as the old one.

January 31 2008 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

I would personally boycott any show that would attempt to replace the brilliantly witty Charles Nelson Reilly with (ugh) Bruce Villanch.

Just as important as the personalities are the questions. The show had actually been canceled so one of the guys who wrote questions decided to come up with the most absurd and double entendre filled questions possible. That's when the audience started to build up again. If this show has a chance of success they need that writer, Dick DeBartolo ("Mad's maddest writer" - he holds the record for the greatest number of appearances in Mad Magazine) back.

January 31 2008 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric J.

I'm looking forward to a Match Game revival like I'm looking forward to BLANK...

January 31 2008 at 2:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

The reason the 1970's version of the show worked so well was the Chemistry between the host (Gene Rayburn) and the Celebrity Panel. So the make up of those people would make or break the show.

January 31 2008 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd love to see a WHAT'S MY LINE revival. Bring a little class back to the game show arena!

January 31 2008 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Kathy Griffin! She'd be a great sub for Brett. Bruce Vilanch could be the Charles surrogate. Kathy and Bruce know each other so they could play off of each other terrifically. Hmmm, how do I apply for the Executive Producer position????

January 31 2008 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That is one of the better games shows, I hope they can make it work. I still watch the original and it's definitely a classic

January 31 2008 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Technically, the Match Game was revived a year or two ago for that big multi-week game show event, where they ran versions of 5 or 6 different shows, one each week, in prime time on one of the networks. I don't remember any of the details--the only one I watched was Match Game.

I think a revival could work. It requires a minimum of effort from the contestants, which seems to be the trend these days. Of course, a large part of the success of the old show were the personalities, and the fact that they were usually half-drunk for the shows later in the week, taped after a multi-martini lunch during the day of shooting. But a revival could be done, if the right people are picked, they keep the rules pretty much the same, and they keep that great theme music. I'd certainly check it out.

Another possibility: go the "I've Got a Secret" revival route, and pick an all-gay or mostly gay panel. The gay celebrities were usually the most entertaining ones, anyway (Charles Nelson Reilly, Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares, etc.).

January 31 2008 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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