Move over Gene Rayburn, Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers — a new Match Game is coming to town! An updated version of the classic fill-in-the-blank game show is being prepared for the TBS network.
Match Game debuted back in 1962 and ran for seven years with genial Rayburn as host. A slightly different version of the game show started in 1973 with Rayburn returning as host. The revival wasn’t very popular with viewers until the usually dull questions were replaced with those that suggested double-entendre humor.
While some star panelists changed week to week, regulars included outrageous Nelson Reilly, caustic Somers, and debonair Richard Dawson (Hogan’s Heroes). Recurring panelists included Orson Bean (Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman), Fannie Flagg, Vicki Lawrence (The Carol Burnett Show), Nipsey Russell, McLean Stevenson (M*A*S*H), and Betty White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show). This popular version ran until 1979 and is currently a mainstay of the GSN schedule in reruns. Match Game has been resurrected several times in later years but didn’t reach the popularity of the 1970s version.
An updated Match Game is currently being prepared courtesy of FremantleMedia North America and veteran producer Robert Smigel.
Six stars took part in the pair of pilot episodes that were filmed on Thursday of last week; Norm MacDonald (Saturday Night Live), Bob Einstein (aka Super Dave Osborne), Niecy Jones (Reno 911!), Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program), Rashida Jones (The Office), and Kids in the Hall alumni Scott Thompson. Depending on how well the pilots are received, some of these celebrities may become regulars if the show indeed becomes a series.
Hosted by Andrew Daly (MADtv), the new show would likely begin airing this September in a late-night timeslot on TBS. The series is expected to echo the tone of the 1998 version of Match Game and will rely on often raunchy material. The set and music cues will match those of the popular version from the 1970s.
With MacDonald poised to take up the smooth-talking Dawson’s torch, just how much risque chat will TBS allow? Will this new version go too far or is the timing right for a saucier Match Game? Stay tuned!