What’s old, but also new? Game shows!
Networks (especially ABC) are reaching back into TV history to give new life to classic game shows, rebooting “Match Game,” “Card Sharks” and “Press Your Luck,” among others, for successful summer runs. Nickelodeon also returned to the game-show game with its messy but entertaining “Double Dare.” “Jeopardy!” is still going strong at 35. Even rapper Snoop Dogg got into the game with a revival of “The Joker’s Wild” on TNT.
But there are still a few more we’d like to see dusted off. So, here’s our plea to start up one of these classic shows again so we can be a contestant on the reboot, or at least tune in.
Guest stars Carol Burnett and Peter Lawford, right, search for word clues and answers under the eye of host Allen Ludden, center, on "Password." (Photo: AP)
“The password is… give me this show!” This classic game show aired on CBS in the ’60s and ABC in the ’70s, in which two teams guessed the secret password. Partners gave them only a one-word clue. It could be a perfect pairing with ABC’s recent revival of “The $100,000 Pyramid,” which also matches a celebrity with a non-celebrity contestant. And it’s already had an occasional revival on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” with celebrity guests, although watching Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin struggle with the basic rules is hilarious, if a little frustrating.
Nothing quite captured ’80s pop culture like this quiz show. MTV featured “TV channels” as categories to test contestants’ knowledge of TV and pop culture, including “Dead or Canadian,” “Sing Along With Colin Quinn” and “Prime Time,” which often included questions about current series, such as “L.A. Law.” Bet you haven’t thought about that show in a long time. In addition to Quinn, “Remote Control” featured up-and-coming performers like Denis Leary and Adam Sandler, who could return for a revival we’d very much like to see. And really, we have a feeling it would be much better than the network’s recent reboot of “The Hills.”
It’s summer in the early ’90s. School’s out, but it’s too hot to ride your bike to a friend’s house. Smartphones haven’t arrived, and the internet is barely a thing. What to do? We tuned in to “Supermarket Sweep,” a “Price is Right”-style show that aired on ABC and Lifetime, in which contestants answer questions about food to win extra time running around a mock grocery store. Imagine moms decked out in their latest early-’90s fashion sprinting with a cart, tossing in turkeys and trying to find special items to get bonus points. The game show could easily be updated for a modern crowd, complete with a run through a Whole Foods and bonuses for finding avocado toast.
Anne Robinson hosted the NBC's game show "Weakest Link." (Photo: CHRIS HASTON, NBC)
‘The Weakest Link’
Surprisingly, this British import lasted for only one season on NBC (and a second in syndication), which could make it the perfect reboot. Contestants had to answer a series of trivia questions and then either bank the money they collected with correct answers or lose it all with wrong ones. After each round, someone would be voted out, with host Anne Robinson, in a clipped British voice, proclaiming, “You are the weakest link. Goodbye.” Robinson was not sweet by any means, and bringing back her acerbic streak to prime time could help a series like this stick out among other prime-time game shows delightfully hosted by the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Michael Strahan.
"What's My Line?" was hosted by John Daly (center) and featured a panel of celebrity guests including, from left, Dorothy Kilgallen, David Susskind, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf. (Photo: Getty Images, Getty Images)
‘What’s My Line?’
The “line” in the title isn’t the kind you use to pick up a guy on Tinder. It’s what a person does for a living – their line of work – and it’s not always easy to guess. The celebrity panel for this CBS hit had to guess what normal people did for a living using a series of questions until one of them guessed “the line” correctly. So could a game show about occupations finally help us understand what an “Instagram influencer” is? Probably not, but it would be a fun try.
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