Summer Brings Thoughts of Game Shows

Summer Brings Thoughts of Game Shows

Memorial Day always marks the unofficial start of summer, which means which means we won’t see any more snow for at least four months — or until the Hallmark Channel decides to film another Christmas movie in Hartford.

Adults look at snowy weather as a major inconvenience — you can’t drive in it, you can’t walk in it, you have to shovel it, and you have to spend money on boots, overcoats, hats, gloves, etc. — it’s a very expensive time of the year.

When you’re a kid, however, you would pray for snow. It meant no school, a Ma and Pa Kettle movie on Channel 3, and a day of watching game shows — something you couldn’t do when you were at school.

Game shows have always been premier TV entertainment. The number of game shows has been reduced over the years, but they still play a key role in TV viewing. And the hosts of game shows — Bob Barker, Alex Trebek, Bill Cullen, Wink Martindale, Pat Sajak — have been transformed into some of TV’s biggest celebrities.

There have been many failures and bad ideas in the game show field, but if you come up with a good idea, the show can last forever. This phrase in the ’60s and ’70s — “a Mark Goodson, Bill Todman production” — remain magic.

Here is a look at the Top 10 game shows of all-time.

The Price Is Right

This pick is a no-brainer — the show has been on for 50 years and current host Drew Carey thinks it could be on for 50 more. It originally appeared on NBC, hosted by Bill Cullen, and later on ABC. There are two secrets behind the show’s longevity. There are a variety of different pricing games on the show, which means things never get dull. And the contestants are average people pulled out of the studio audience. On some shows, it appears the players are almost professional game-show contestants.

Here is one interesting fact about the new CBS Price Is Right. When Mark Goodson and Bill Todman wanted to revitalize the show, they wanted Dennis James as host, but CBS insisted on Bob Barker, Apparently, CBS knew what it was doing. Barker lasted for 35 years until being replaced by Carey, while James hosted a prime-time version that only lasted for one year. Do you think if James was the daytime host, the show would have lasted for 50 years?

Hollywood Squares

There were nine celebrities on every show, but Paul Lynde was a legend — you could always count on him for a laugh. A new version of “Hollywood Squares” didn’t last for very long because no one could replace Lynde — not even Whoopi Goldberg.

Wheel of Fortune

One of the only TV shows you can fully enjoy even with the sound turned down. Sajak was not the original host, it was Chuck Woolery who left to host a game show called “Scrabble.” It was not a great career choice.

To Tell the Truth

One of the characteristics of a good game show is that you can play along at home. This was the perfect show to do that as viewers tried to figure out who was telling the truth against two imposters, The syndicated version, which had Garry Moore as host and Kitty Carlisle, Peggy Cass, Orson Bean, and Cullen, was the best.

What’s My Line?

Panelists tried to guess someone’s occupation, but this was a show viewers couldn’t play along with because the answer was given ahead of time. It was still fun to watch the panel narrow things down until it could figure the person’s job.


This fast-paced quiz show has been on in syndication for almost 40 years and has produced a long line of champions. There’s just one problem watching it — I learn how much I don’t know.

Let’s Make a Deal

This was a game show different from any other — the contestants actually dress up in costumes. And no one was a better host than Monty Hall — he was the perfect host for this type of show.

The Newlywed Game

Host Bob Eubanks called them the “unpredictable Newlyweds,” The more unpredictable they were, the more entertaining this show was.

Family Feud

There have been many hosts of this show, but the play-along-at-home factor has kept it on the air for many years.


The ultimate memory game. And the ultimate puzzle-solving game. When you watched “Concentration,” hosted by Hugh Downs, you really had to think.

Just missing the list was “Match Game,” with Gene Rayburn. It was more of a comedy show than a game show.

This article was written by Matt Buckler from Tribune Content Agency and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to

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