Match Game (found ABC revival of Goodson-Todman game show; 1990-1991)

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The show's logo.

Status: Found

Date found: 17 Jun 2021

Found by: MatchGameProductions

Match Game is an American game show that was created by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman and premiered on NBC on the final day of 1962. The show has gone through a large variety of different formats across the versions it has produced but has mostly been the same "fill-in-the-blank" format. The most recognizable version of the show aired in the 1970s and future versions of the show would be modelled on this version, including a short-lived version that aired on ABC in 1990. This version (which would be hosted by Almost Live! cast member Ross Shaffer) would be the first version of the show to air following the crossover program "Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour" that aired from 1983 to 1984 and a couple of failed attempts to resurrect the show in the mid to late 1980s [1][2].


Two players face off in trying to match celebrities' answers to various fill-in-the-blank questions. After two rounds, a new round called "Match Up" is played. It starts when the leading contestant chooses one of the six celebrities to match with and they have 30 seconds to get as many matches as possible. Unlike the main game, the contestant chooses one of two answers to a fill-in-the-blank phrase and the chosen celebrity has to choose which answer they think the contestant chose with the correct answer scoring the player $50. The player behind goes next and they chose another celebrity to match with. After the second "Match Up", a new round of fill-in-the-blank questions are played and Match Up is played again after that and this time a correct match scores the player $100. The winner is determined by the amount of money won in the main game. If the game ends in a tie, a tie-breaking "Match Up" question is played with three choices to a fill-in-the-blank phrase. The players selected their answers and this time the celebrity is notified which answers have been taken but the identity of which player who got their respective answer isn't revealed until the celebrity picks one of the chosen answers selected by the players. A selected answer wins the respective player $100 and the chance to play the Super Match.

In the Super Match, a fill-in-the-blank phrase is shown and three answers to the phrase have been covered. The winning contestant has the choice of three answers given by three celebrities (of their choice) or they have the option to use one of their own answers. If the player's chosen answer is one of the hidden top three answers on the Super Match, they win the amount of money that answer represents (third most popular is $200, second most popular is $300 and the most popular answer is $500). If their answer isn't one of the top three answers, they win $100. After that, they play the Star Wheel (the wheel of which has the names of the show's six celebrities) and have a chance to play for 10 to 20 times the amount they won in the Super Match. If the wheel lands on a celebrity, they play the final audience match with that celebrity and play for 10 times the amount of money they won, if the wheel also lands on a dot on the celebrity's name, the contestant would play for 20 times the amount of money they won. A correct match wins the contestant the amount of money determined by the Star Wheel[3].


Problems for the show began when it premiered in the noon timeslot, the time at which most ABC stations would air news. As a result of the bad timeslot, many ABC stations didn't air the show[4], which impacted the show's ratings. In the end, the show was cancelled after airing only one season of 242 episodes. Shaffer hinted in the finale that the show would move to another network, but that didn't happen. ABC ended up reviving the show again in 2016[5] and lasted five seasons before ending in 2021.


After the show's short-lived run, it was later picked up by the then-new Game Show Network for reruns upon the channel's December 1994 launch and would remain on the schedule until October 1997. Four years later in 2001, it returned to the network, which would regularly rerun the show (even after its rebranding as GSN) until 2004. The show would briefly reappear a couple of times in 2005 and 2015 before vanishing from circulation once again, and the only time it aired on Buzzr was on January 8th, 2022, as a tribute to panellist Betty White[6]. Because of the show's limited and brief run on television (both during its original broadcast and in reruns), some episodes of the show have become really hard to find with home recordings of some of the show's run having resurfaced in varying quality and given that the 1970s version of the show has had a number of episodes skipped over on GSN, it was unconfirmed if GSN aired every episode of the revival. On November 30th, 2020, YouTuber MatchGameProductions began uploading the series on their channel with the episodes coming from its time on Game Show Network. As of June 17th, 2021, all 242 episodes of the revival can be viewed online.

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