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Match Game (1973)

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Match Game (1973)
Premiere July 2, 1973
Finale April 20, 1979
Creator Frank Wayne (original format)
Ira Skutch (revival)
Host Gene Rayburn
Network/Provider CBS
Style 30-minute game show
Company Goodson-Todman Productions
(Celebrity Productions, The Match Game Company)
Episodes 1455 (10 unaired)
Origin USA

Match Game is a game show that aired on CBS. The show was initially called Match Game '73 and was renamed each year appropriately. It was the second version of Match Game, which sometime late in the run panelist Paul Williams called "the Algonquin Round Table of game shows."

This version employed two regular contestants predicting how a panel of six celebrities answered questions. The questions started off along the lines of the original 1960s show but quickly and successfully evolved into a bawdy, raucous comedy. A question, as selected by the contestant in round 1, is posed to the celebrities, who write their answers down. Afterwards, the contestant gives a verbal response. Matching answers score a point for the contestant with a possible maximum of six. The other player's question is played the same way.

In round 2, all celebrities who matched in the first round are out of play. The top scoring player wins the game and $100. (In case of a tie, the scores are erased and tie-breaker questions are used in the same manner except if it goes to a second tie, the scores are erased again.)

The winner plays the Super-Match, a volumized version of the original's Audience Match. A fill-in-the-blank was posed to a previous studio audience with their top 3 answers hidden. The player gets verbal responses from three chosen celebrities. The player may take a celebrity's answer or think up one of his/her own. If the player's chosen answer is revealed as the third most popular, it wins $100. The second most popular wins $250, and the top answer wins $500. Whatever is won is multiplied by 10 and becomes the potential jackpot to be won by matching one chosen celebrity and predicting the answer that celebrity has written to a fill-in-the-blank.

In 1978, the show employed a Star Wheel to determine which celebrity would play the head-to-head match. If the wheel lands on a starred area above the celebrity's name, the potential jackpot is doubled.

Two weeks (ten shows) were left unaired after its cancellation on April 20, 1979. Those shows were eventually screened on Game Show Network.

A nighttime edition, Match Game PM was launched in weekly first-run syndication in 1975, running six seasons. After CBS canceled the daily daytime show, it returned in syndication and ran to 1982. NBC brought it back under the hybrid The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour, running from Halloween 1983 to July 1984. ABC brought Match Game back in 1990 with Ross Shafer as host, running one year. Michael Burger hosted a new syndicated version in 1998, barely making a dent in the ratings (Charlene Tilton hosted a pilot for this in 1996 named MG2). Cable's TBS network had a new version for late night planned for 2008 but it obviously failed to sell. A new edition for ABC primetime in the summer of 2016 most recently aired, acting as a summer replacement series for several seasons until its cancellation in 2021.

The show's original debut date was June 25, 1973 but was delayed a week due to all three networks covering the Watergate hearings. The original pilot was simply billed as Match Game (Johnny Olson's opening spiel called it "The 1973 edition of Match Game") and the Super Match was called "Jackpot Match."


Panelist   Duration
Brett Somers 1973-79
Charles Nelson Reilly 1973-79
Richard Dawson 1973-78


DVD Releases

Title Release Discs
'Best Of' Collections  (Region 1)
The Best of Match Game November 21, 2006 purchase 4
The Best of Match Game, Volume 2 August 1, 2008 4