As networks struggle with a balance of new and renewed content, lots of old and retired game shows are being tossed around as possible comebacks. With Million Dollar Password, which enjoyed healthy ratings, and GSN's version of The Newlywed Game, maybe it's time to try and revamp a few others!
Here are my choices for game shows that should be retooled and brought back to prime time. With the "everything old is new again" frame of mind, many of these games wouldn't even need to be changed up too much to bring in an audience. Check out my list, and then add your own!
Match Game was revamped and proposed to various networks for the 2007-2008 season, but no one picked it up. Still, there's a lot of promise in this old standby. Match Game asks contestants to fill in the blanks on questions asked of a panel of celebrity guests. The questions themselves were usually silly, cheeky, and funny, and the game provided endless giggles for the audience. It's a light-hearted game show that provides pure enjoyment for viewers.
Update: TBS went ahead and filmed a pilot episode for the new Match Game in mid-2008, but the series never came to fruition.
'Let's Make a Deal'
The sheer cheesiness of the show coupled with the crazy contestants made for such a fun hour of entertainment. Let's Make a Deal was revamped and brought back in 2003 for a very brief run on NBC, hosted by Access Hollywood alum Billy Bush. But now is the time to bring it back and put it on prime time, with a wacky host comparable to Monty Hall. Whether contestants make a good deal or end up getting zonked, Let's Make a Deal is the game show equivalent of comfort food; not necessarily good for you, but still a pleasure.
Update: This article was originally written in 2007. Since then, Let's Make a Deal has been revived and airs on CBS daytime, hosted by Wayne Brady.
'Press Your Luck'
Another old favorite, Press Your Luck is probably most famous for the phrase contestants would shout while playing the board: "Big money, no Whammies!" This is one show that could easily be updated, with new twists and an updated money board, and new, modernized Whammies. Just think of the possibilities!
'Rock & Roll Jeopardy'
Rock & Roll Jeopardy was a staple for many of us back in the late 90s. The show aired on VH1 (back when most of their programming was actually based on music), and hosted by Survivor star Jeff Probst. While you can still catch music-themed episodes occasionally on the regular version of Jeopardy!, it's still not quite the same. It's time to bring this show back for all of us music lovers, even if it's only for a short-run series.
'The Gong Show'
This one straddles the line between game show and talent show, but with the popularity of talent shows still soaring, The Gong Show could make a go at a return. It was labeled one of the worst television shows of all time back in the 70s, but now that we've experienced some reality shows that push the envelope even further, I think The Gong Show has a place in prime time network TV. It would be like a perpetual audition phase of America's Got Talent, which we all know is the most entertaining part of the show anyway!
'Win, Lose, or Draw'
Win, Lose, or Draw was based on the board game Pictionary. The highlight of the game was watching celebrities duke it out, drawing pictures to help their "civilian" teammates earn money by guessing clues. It's a simple format, and one in which the contestants and the game itself are the focus, rather than allowing the host to try and draw out each round for suspense. With the abundance of celebs from the B-list downwards appearing on game and reality shows lately, this one should be a no-brainer.
'The Weakest Link'
It hasn't been very long since The Weakest Link was removed from its cushy prime time spot, but that might be an advantage to bringing it back. It's still fresh enough in people's minds that they'll be curious to tune in. Original host Anne Robinson was a treat to watch, as her stone-faced and slightly irritable persona was so different from the usual friendly game show host shtick. The game itself is highly addictive, and with the right host at the helm, it could make a very successful comeback.
This one is completely personal, because I adore Scrabble - both the board game and the game show. While the old format may be slightly dated, it could easily be refreshed and brought back to the small screen. Theme weeks, celebrity guests, bonus money spaces, and catch phrases could all serve to jazz up the game. With so many quiz shows on the air or being planned, Scrabble offers up something just a little different.
Hollywood Squares has already been done and redone, but with the networks looking at both humorous and celeb-studded shows lately, it might be time to try it once more. It would be so easy to include multiple generations of fans with a wide variety of celebrity guests, from comedians to reality TV stars to classic game show staples like Betty White and even Regis Philbin. Have theme weeks with child stars, celebs from a single genre, or even a famous family filling the entire board. Sure, these aren't exactly innovative ideas, but it's already a solid game on its own.
'The Joker's Wild'
Two game shows based on card games were very popular in the 70s: Card Sharks and The Joker's Wild. Card Sharks was revived in 2001, but the game itself was so different from the original that fans just didn't bother with it. It's time now to try out a brand new Joker's Wild, with a sleek new set and an upbeat host that can carry the game into the homes of new viewers and former fans. Just don't mess with the format too much!