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Pilot for a new revival of Match Game commissioned by BLANK.

by Richard Keller, posted Mar 16th 2008 2:04PM

A revival of Match Game may be coming to TBSBack in January we reported that the still popular 70's game show Match Game was ready to be revived once again by Fremantle Media, which pretty much owns rights to every single game show on the planet. In that report we mentioned that Fremantle was talking to a number of cable networks about this project, but no permanent home was established yet.

That problem may have rectified itself in the last few days, though, as a pilot has been commissioned by...Ah, you thought I was going to say GSN, didn't you? That would seem the most logical place since reruns of the 1973-82 version of Match Game have had a successful run for years on that network. Unfortunately, that is not the case. This time around the cable network requesting the pilot is TBS (as Bob mentioned earlier this month in a post about Turner's new shows).

No, your eyesight is not failing you. I actually wrote TBS. Should the pilot become a series it will be the network's first foray into original game show territory. The show would be slated for a late-night slot on the network and would be more edgy in adult material than previous incarnations. Since the original was pretty risque for daytime television I'm not too sure how much more risque they could be. Maybe they would all play naked during the Super Match.

Stay tuned, true believers. This should be an interesting ride.

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Charlie Zimmerman

Really hope for better celebs that the D-listers who tend to populate the VH-1 shows. (I Love the 80s, etc.) They just don't have the mass appeal/credibility that the 70s pannelists had.

Does anyone have a tape/DVD of "The Real Match Game Story: Behind The Blank" that aired on GSN in November of 2006? I never saw it, but would love to get/borrow a copy. Please reply here or to zimmecl (at) yahoo com - thanks!

May 16 2008 at 1:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Now that it's confirmed that Fremantle is pitching Match Game 2008 for TBS, with plans to televise it in either Prime Time or Late Night, whichever the network decides, I still think the original 70's format should be used, but with an increased jackpot in the bonus game(I'd like to see 2 Super Matches with each answer being worth $1000, $500 & $250, with the head to head match being worth as much as $20,000, and I'd also like to see each winning contestant stay on as long as 5 broadcasts). As for my idea of celebrity panelists for the first Match Game 2008 telecast on TBS, here they are:

Bruce Vilanch, Kathy Griffin, Phil LaMarr, Sherri Shepherd, Gary Valentine and Amy Yasbeck, with Craig Shoemaker hosting and either Burton Richardson or Rich Fields announcing.

Original host Gene Rayburn and panelists Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers established their legend and legacy on the 70's Match Game, so no talent should even attempt to duplicate what they've done, YOU SUCCEED THEM, with the talent available. Bruce Vilanch and Kathy Griffin always feed off each other, but Craig Shoemaker, whom by the way like Bruce and Kathy, appeared on Hollywood Squares during the late 90's-early 2000's, I can definitely see hosting. Shoe can act like he's a member of the panel, especially with Bruce and Kathy on there, and he can interract well with them as well as other panelists. In my opinion, if Fremantle selected Craig Shoemakerr to host Match Game 2008, he would make the show his own and basically turn the show into a live improv with the studio audience. Definitely something to think about.

March 21 2008 at 12:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Drew Barrymore (when was the last time she made a movie)"

I think the more accurate question is when was the last time she made a decent movie worth paying to see?
According to imdb her latest film project is currently (2008) in production, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua." Oh yeah, has "Oscar" written all over it, doesn't it? :-|

March 17 2008 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OK, here's my six, anyone else want to add to the list?
Kathy Griffin
Bruce Vilanch
Drew Barrymore (when was the last time she made a movie)
Ted Allen (from Queer Eye)
Joy Behar
Adam Carolla

March 17 2008 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was the original version, not the 70s version, that had not been renewed. According to "Behind the Blank," a GSN documentary on the show, DeBartolo approached Mark Goodson about switching to "silly questions" when the original had not been renewed.

Goodson said the show was cancelled, and since they can't cancel it twice, he could go ahead and do what he wanted.

It was during the remaining six weeks or so of the production cycle that the silly questions appeared, and with them, higher ratings, prompting the show to continue.

March 16 2008 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Patrick's comment

We aren't talking about the 60s version. The original version ended in 1969. The one everyone knows and loves takes place in 1973, and the first year didn't have the risque questions, they had the boring like questions from the 60s.

March 17 2008 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope they go back to the six celeb format, rather than the awful five star remake they did a few years back. That was just an odd take on the show. They have to find really good personalities for the regular seats. I think Ross Matthews would be a good replacement for Charles Nelson Reilly. I really hope they don't screw it up, and are able to bring back some of the stars who appeared on the 70s version - Betty White, Fannie Flagg, Joyce Bulifant, Marcia Wallace, etc.

March 16 2008 at 8:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Damn. I forgot to say that I also haven't heard of the cancellation part. However it wasn't a massive hit right away, and did wonders better after the risque questions were added more.

March 16 2008 at 5:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah there is a 60s version and that did well, but was different and not as "dirty". Then the 70s version came out and they did bad until the writer threw in a "risque" question and it was the wave of the future.

I don't see this version doing any better than the other redoes of it in the last 15-20 years. More so because all the good people are dead.

March 16 2008 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I talked to someone at Fremantle 7 years ago about reviving this show, and I was told it was in the works already. I sure hope they don't screw it up. I'd hate to wait another 30 to see it again.

March 16 2008 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

More importantly, will Dick DeBartolo - MAD's maddest writer - once more be creating the questions?

For those of you who don't know, Match Game had actually been asking straight questions and the show stank so much that it was canceled. DeBartolo, who was a writer for the show, was then told that he could basically go wild with the questions since the show was going to be canceled anyway, and he did. When the episodes with the crazy questions started hitting the air the ratings suddenly skyrocketed.

March 16 2008 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Brent McKee's comment
Joel Keller

Brent, I've heard the story about how they changed from the straight questions to the more bawdy questions in the first year of the '70s MG; watch the reruns on GSN and you'll notice how they got gradually longer and bawdier by even the end of the first season. But the part about the show being near cancellation is not accurate, as far as I know. From what I've read, MG '73 was an immediate hit. Can you tell us where you read about it being almost canceled?

March 16 2008 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

I didn't read about it Joel, I've heard Dick himself tell the story a number of times. He has a weekly piece on Leo Laporte's "Tech Guy" radio show in which he discusses various gadgets (he has a website called the Giz Wiz). At one point he was selling question card that he had done for "Match Game" and he told the story a number of times.

March 17 2008 at 2:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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