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November 26, 2014

Best Game Shows of All Time

by Kim Potts, posted Aug 18th 2008 5:50AM
The Price is Right ... Hollywood Squares ... Family Feud ... see where they rank on our list.

Come on down ... you're the next reader of AOL TV's Top 20 Game Show countdown, our list of the finest tube efforts to have contestants name that tune, make a love connection and guess if the price is right.

Did your favorite game show make the cut?

Survey says: Keep reading to find out.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

Come on down ... you're the next reader of AOL TV's Top 20 Game Show countdown, our list of the finest tube efforts to have contestants name that tune, make a love connection and guess if the price is right. Did your favorite game show make the cut? Survey says: Keep reading to find out. -- By Kimberly Potts

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

20. 'Deal or No Deal'

(2005-Current)

A clever use of TV as an example of game theory? Or simply a fun show where contestants joke with host Howie Mandel while gawking at hot models holding suitcases that may (or may not) contain a million bucks? The show's a little of both, which explains why its deceptively simple concept is so addictive to players and viewers.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

19. 'Name That Tune'

(1953-1985)

Knowledge of popular music would net players prize money in this game, which featured a then-unknown Kathie Lee Gifford crooning the mystery. 'Tune' sparked a memorable catchphrase with its "I can name that tune in three notes" bid-a-note segment , and was even spun-off for a more modern take in VH1's 'Name That Video.'

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

18. 'Queen for a Day'

(1956-1970)

A show that had a lot in common with today's trainwreck reality TV, 'Queen' rewarded women who convinced the studio audience that they were more down on their luck than the next gal. Contestants who induced tears were almost guaranteed to be anointed 'Queen,' which meant trips, a crown and a red velvet cape.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

17. 'Win Ben Stein's Money'

(1997-2002)

The maximum prize -- $5,000 -- was relatively small, but who could resist the chance to outsmart nerdy "Bueller? ... Bueller?" teacher Stein in a trivia match? And yes, the winners' money was actually deducted from Stein's salary. No wonder the show earned multiple Daytime Emmys for Stein and sidekick Jimmy Kimmel.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

16. '$25,000 Pyramid'

(1973-1992)

TV mogul Dick Clark was the first host of 'Pyramid' (initially offering a $10,000 prize), which paired a celeb with a contestant and made them race against the clock to match word clues with categories. The ultimate goal: The "Winner's Circle," a round so pressure-filled that an angry William Shatner once threw his chair after losing.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

15. 'Truth or Consequences'

(1950-1988)

The show that launched Bob Barker's career as game show host extraordinaire punished players who answered trivia incorrectly (setting off "Beulah the Buzzer") by forcing them to perform an embarrassing stunt. But the silliness was balanced with a touching segment in which players were surprised with a reunion with a loved one.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

14. 'Love Connection'

(1983-1999)

'Dating Game' knock-off? Sure. But host Chuck Woolery made the 'Connection' his own, from his "two and two" catchphrase (signifying a two-minute, two-second commercial break) to his ability to wring humor out of even the most disastrous dates. Rumor has it the show sparked more than two dozen marriages.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

13. 'Password'

(1961-Current)

Regis Philbin hosts the newest incarnation of the series that won the first Daytime Emmy for best game show in 1974, but celeb guest Betty White and host Allen Ludden were the stars most identified with the show in its '60 & '70s heyday. White was a clever player and Ludden a charming host, and the show actually led to their marriage.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

12. 'Family Feud'

(1976-Current)

Off-camera, host Richard Dawson would've been slapped for all the kisses he planted on contestants, but on 'Feud'? Survey says: They loved it. Sadly, another 'Feud' legacy involved a tragedy. Host Ray Combss (1988-94) was fired when ratings slid. Depressed about his career, marriage and money woes, he committed suicide in 1996.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

11. 'The Dating Game'

(1965-2000)

Jim Lange and Chuck Woolery are the most famous hosts of this granddaddy of dating game shows and reality series, but the line-up of pre-fame celebs who tried to make a love connection is even more impressive. Oprah, Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, Tom Selleck and Arnold Schwarzenegger were all singles on the show.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

10. 'Hollywood Squares'

(1966-2004)

Prizes were doled out and hosts like Peter Marshall and John Davidson tried to keep the game flowing. But like 'Match Game' before it, 'Squares' was really an excuse for funny celebs like snarky center squares Paul Lynde, Joan Rivers and Whoopi Goldberg to dole out quips while helping the contestants win a fancy game of tic-tac-toe.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

9. 'Twenty One'

(1956-2001)

The original version ran only two seasons, because even as it ushered in a love of game shows, it also nearly brought the genre down. The movie 'Quiz Show' was based on the 'Twenty One' scandal, in which Herb Stempel claimed the show fed answers to his rival, Charles Van Doren. NBC cancelled the series when the charges proved to be true.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

8. 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'

(1999-Current)

The phenomenon propelled Regis Philbin to the A-list, made his monochromatic tie-and-shirt combos a fashion trend and inspired a revival of the game show genre in primetime. Why? Final answer: The uncomplicated 15-question game (complete with lifelines) made everyone think they had a legitimate shot at the big $1 million prize.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

7. 'The Newlywed Game'

(1966-2000)

Host Bob Eubanks helped new marrieds prove how much they did (and didn't) know about each other in the name of winning appliances and furniture, but the questions always seemed to lead to one topic: Making whoopee. In fact, one contestant got a little too honest with the infamous "in the butt" response to a question about nookie locale.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

6. 'Match Game'

(1962-1999)

Charles Nelson Reilly ... Brett Somers ... host Gene Rayburn. They were all so funny they made us want to ____ in our _____. The celebs' humor was the highlight of the game show, in which goofy questions were posed and contestants hoped their answers matched those of the famous guests. Hilarity, and sexual innuendo, often ensued.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

5. 'Let's Make a Deal'

(1963-2003)

You just never knew whether or not the good stuff was behind curtain number one, two or three, but some things were certain: Fun and prizes would abound, as it became standard practice for the entire studio audience full of potential players to dress in crazy costumes in hopes of catching the attention of host Monty Hall.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

4. 'What's My Line?'

(1950-1975)

Panelists like Steve Allen and Bennet Cerf, plus a simple, engaging premise, made the show feel like a game viewers could play in their own living rooms. Panelists asked questions to help them guess the contestants' occupation, with one of Allen's queries -- 'Is it bigger than a breadbox?' -- becoming part of the pop culture lexicon.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

3. 'Wheel of Fortune'

(1975-Current)

Created by Merv Griffin, 'Wheel's' appeal was the combination of luck (spinning the big wheel) and skill (solving those puzzles after iconic Vanna White turned the letters). The show also made stars of endearing host Pat Sajak and -- to the delight of English teachers everywhere -- vowels, so valuable they had to be purchased.

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

2. 'Jeopardy'

(1964-Current)

That smarty Ken Jennings won a cool $2.5 million, but 'Jeopardy's' allure isn't big prize money; it's the chance to show off your fancy book learnin' and try to impress the smug host Alex Trebek. The ultimate trivia show, 'Jeopardy' has also earned pop culture immortality thanks to spoofs by 'Cheers,' Weird Al Yankovic and 'Saturday Night Live.'

TV's Greatest Tests of Brains, Skills and Luck

1. 'The Price is Right'

(1956-Current)

Come on down for the show that rewards players for what they do every day: shop! 'TPIR' and legendary host Bob Barker (and now Drew Carey) have passed out millions in cash, prizes and Showcase Showdown trips to Contestant's Row players who knew the prices of Rice-a-Roni, cars and furniture. And who could strategically plop those Plinko chips.

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