CBS has ordered six episodes of an updated version of the classic game show Password — but it’s certainly not the game’s first revival.
Password originally aired in daytime starting on October 2, 1961 and was hosted by Allen Ludden. The game consisted of two teams, each made up of a celebrity and a contestant. A secret word was given to one player from each team and they tried to get their partner to guess the word via single word clues. The first team to reach 25 points won the game and were allowed to move on to a lightning round worth up to $250. The game show ran until 1967 in daytime and had two runs in primetime.
The game was revived in 1979 first as Password ’79 and was later renamed Password Plus. The cash prizes got bigger and the game was a little different but it was essentially the same show. Ludden returned as the host but became to ill to continue in October 1980. Password Plus folded in March 1982 after 800 episodes. Password was revived once again as Super Password on September 24, 1984. Affable Bert Convy was the host and this version ran for almost 1,200 episodes. It ended on March 24, 1989.
Now, almost 20 years later, CBS has decided to revive the venerable game show once again as Million Dollar Password. This new version will be hosted by Who Wants to be a Millionaire and daytime talk show veteran Regis Philbin. It’ll be filmed in New York and will be produced by FremantleMedia North America (American Idol).
FremantleMedia’s CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz said, “We’re very excited to re-introduce one of the greatest game shows in the history of American television to a whole new audience. With new twists, higher stakes, a one million dollar grand prize and the one and only Regis Philbin at the helm, we’re confident viewers will tune in to re-discover the format that helped to define the game show genre as we know it.”
The new version will follow the same basic formula of the previous incarnations, albeit with a few twists and higher cash prizes. One part of the original show that I hope they don’t lose is actress Betty White.
White met Ludden on the show and the two were married for 18 years before his death from stomach cancer. As an incredible player, White was a frequent guest on all versions of the game show. She closed out the final episode (see the video below) of Super Password by joking, “This is the fifth ‘last Password‘ that I’ve done. So, the phoenix shall rise again. Get out of the way, we’ll be back in a minute.” It’s taken a bit longer than that but wouldn’t it be nice if the new producers were sensible enough to ask White to a guest on the first show?