The Many Attempts To Revive Match Game
by Billy Ingram
Match Game was one of the most popular game shows off all time, a true 1970s TV touchstone.
The original series was a more sedate affair than the 1970s version, here's the pilot episode for Match Game in 1962, debuting on NBC afternoons on December 31, 1962.
Due to tepid ratings, NBC canceled Match Game the next year. With 6 weeks left to run, question writer Dick DeBartolo (MAD magazine) approached producer Mark Goodson with the idea of writing slightly risqué-sounding questions, this caused a huge boost in ratings. NBC "un-cancellated" the program and Match Game ran until 1969. Very few episodes of the 1960s The Match Game survive.
(1962) Gene Rayburn Match Game Pilot
With the massive success of a revival of The New Price Is Right on CBS, Goodson-Todman rebooted Match Game with a panel of 6 celebrities answering what were at first mundane questions. Once again, a move toward even more risqué questions caused Match Game to be a smash hit, quickly becoming the number 1 rated daytime show for years.
Match Game ended its run on CBS daytime in 1979 but the program continued in daily syndication from 1979-1982. A nighttime syndicated version, Match Game PM, aired from 1975 until 1982. The highest total ever won on Match Game was $32,600.
This 1973 pilot episode featured Bert Convy, Arlene Francis, Jack Klugman, Jo Ann Pflug, Richard Dawson, and Betty White.
Match Game 1973 Pilot
After the second version Match Game ended, there have been many failed attempts to revive the show. Why did they not succeed? Some cases, like the Match Game / Hollywood Squares debacle, are due to bad formating. In my opinion, the success of Match Game was due to the stars, host Gene Rayburn and panelists Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly.
Possibly the worst game show of all time might have sounded like a good idea but the execution was a mess.
The Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour was an hour long, the first half had contestants playing Match Game with host Gene Rayburn, the second half had Rayburn seated as one of The Hollywood Squares with Sha Na Na's Jon Bowser taking over as host. Was Peter Marshall not available?!?
The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour aired for one season, from October 31, 1983 until July 27, 1984
Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour Pilot
A week of pilot were filmed for a new version of Match Game with Bert Convy as host. Here is pilot #5. I like the high tech opening...
That next year another version of Match Game, this time with host Ross Schafer (due to Bert Convy being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor), was picked up by ABC in 1990. That version lasted one year but saw the return of Charles Nelson Reilly and occasionally Brett Somers as panelists. The opening intro of the celebrities was very weird...
Match Game taped 10/10/1989 (Pilot Episode) Pt. 1
In 1996, a pilot was produced for a new revival of the show as MG2: The Match Gamewith Charlene Tilton (Dallas) as host. That wasn't picked up so producers significantly retooled the format to be a more faithful remake of the 1970s program, which aired in syndication from from September 21, 1998 to May 1999 with host Michael Burger (who?) this time with 5 celebrity panelists instead of 6.
What The Blank was a Match Game pilot of sorts in 2004 with Fred Willard as host. Willard was very funny but the comedy segments weren't - with Martin Mull (Fernwood 2night) as a panelist, too bad it never made it to series.
A 2008 pilot for Match Game with panelists Super Dave Osborne (Bob Einstein), Sarah Silverman, Scott Thompson, Rashida Jones, Norm Macdonald, and Niecy Nash and host Andy Daly. The Executive Producer was Robert Smigel (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog).
Here is a rough cut of the proposed Match Game pilot that was done for TBS. Taped in 2008 and was to air in 2009.
ABC revived Match Game once again with host Alec Baldwin in 2016. The show's fifth season premiered on May 31, 2020.
The Many Attempts To Revive Match Game
Match Game (Last episode of the 1973-1982 version)
On November 26, 2006, GSN broadcast an hour-long documentary titled The Real Match Game Story: Behind The Blank narrated by Jamie Farr featuring rarely seen footage of the 1960s version, many odd or memorable moments from the main 1973–82 runs and interviews with Rayburn (his final interview before his death in 1999), Somers, Dawson, DeBartolo, producer Ira Skutch, and others involved in the show's production.
Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / Classic Christmas Specials / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog
|Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments|
Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Funniest SNL Skit Ever! / Prisoner: Cell Block H / Why John Amos Left Good Times / Reviving Match Game / TV Dads Talk Sex & Fatherhood / Angie Dickinson Blows Off This Is Your Life / Orson Welles' Last Interview / Writing For Fernwood 2 Night / Best Columbo Episodes / One of the Most Controversial Episodes of All In The Family / Outside Chance / Norman Mailer & Muhammad Ali / Charles Nelson Reilly Flops on Broadway / Dirty Sally / The Protectors / Chevy Chase Talks Hollywood Cocaine Parties / 1977 Season Show Openings / Love Boat's Oscar Winning Guest Stars / Tim Conway's 'The Dentist' Sketch / Henry Winkler on His Happy Days Audition / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Time Express / Wonder Woman Leaves Paradise Island / 1972-73 TV Season / George Burns on the Carson Tonight Show in 1989 / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / Ken Berry Interview / Why Barney Miller Ended / Vivian Vance Almost Joined the Cast of Rhoda / Marilu Henner Talks About Andy Kaufman / Cher on Mike Douglas 1979 / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / 1972 Jackie Robinson Interview / Dr. Strange 1978 TV Movie / Kathy Garver Interview / Space: 1999 / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / The Supremes - Mary Wilson vs Diana Ross / When Bruce Dern Killed John Wayne / 1974 Tom Snyder Our Gang Special / Remembering Ken Berry / Bruce / Caitllyn Jenner? / Billy Crash Craddock Interview / Melissa McCarthy Almost Quit Acting Days Before Landing Gilmore Girls / Bar Rescue's Wildest Customers! / TV HITS - By the Numbers / Alex Baldwin On His TV and Film Roles / Top Ten Sitcoms of the 1970s / James Cameron Made No Money for Titanic / Ed McMahon Drunk on the Air! / Lucy Interviewed by Barbara Walters / Valerie Harper Cancer / Jeff Bridges Breaks Down His Iconic Roles / Dallas vs Eight is Enough / 1974 MAD Magazine TV Special - Never Aired! / Iconic M*A*S*H Restaurant Coming To Kroger? / When Lucy Got Fired / Partridge Family and Brady Bunch at Kings Island theme park 1972-73 / Awkward Talk Show Moments / Allan Blye Interview / Jack Benny's Last Tonight Show 1974 / Patricia Heaton's Audition for Everybody Loves Raymond / Ed Asner Interview / Norm Macdonald vs OJ Simpson / Tony Kornheiser Interview / Freddy's Nightmares TV Series / Emmy Award Multiple Winners / Nathaniel Taylor aka Rollo Lawson / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Can You Identify These Stars? / Betty White vs Joan Rivers / Paul Lynde's Greatest Hollywood Squares Zingers / Sonny Comedy Revue / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Hal Linden Interview / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / The Night Stalker / One of the Funniest Carol Burnett Show Skits Ever / Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson / Johnny Carson interviews Lucille Ball / Dawn Wells / Betty White : An Appreciation / Bette Davis' 2 Best Interviews 1971 / Barbara Eden Interview / Gavin McLeod / Spider-Man 77 / The Next Step Beyond / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Connors Remembered / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / Woody Allen Hosts Tonight Show 1971 / Carson Tonight Show / Alan Alda Interview / Jackie Gleason Show / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / Post Modern Sitcoms / Elvis in Greensboro / Remembering Dick Van Patten / TV Dating Shows / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Actor Ed Nelson / Death of Archie / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Ron Palillo / Shirley Jones Interview / Tom Bosley / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Brady Bunch Sex Dungeon? / Love, Loss & What I Watched
|Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / Punk Book / / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / 2012 Emmy Awards / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / 1970s Commercial Jingles / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / 1980's Retro Gay T-Shirts / 1980's TV Wrestling / Fess Parker / Howdy Doody / TV Blog / Lost In Space / Pinky Lee / 1980's LA Punk Rock / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!|