The Dating Game: Wikis


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The Dating Game
The Dating Game.jpg
Show logo
Also known as The New Dating Game
Format Game show
Created by Chuck Barris
Presented by Jim Lange (1965–1980)
Elaine Joyce (1986–1987)
Jeff McGregor (1987–1989)
Brad Sherwood (1996–1997)
Chuck Woolery (1997–1999)
Country of origin United States
Running time 30 minutes with commercials
Production company(s) Chuck Barris Productions (1965–1974; 1978–1980; 1986–1987)
Barris Industries (1987–1989)
The Guber-Peters Company (1986–1989)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996–2000)
Distributor Station Syndication, Inc. (1973–1974)
Firestone Program Services (1978–1980)
Worldvision Enterprises (1986–1987)
Barris Program Sales (1987–1989)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996–2000)
Original channel ABC (1965–1973)
Syndicated (1973–1974; 1978–1980; 1986–1989; 1996–2000)
Original run December 20, 1965 – July 6, 1973 (ABC Daytime)
October 6, 1966 – January 17, 1970 (ABC primetime)
September 10, 1973 – September 1974 (Syndication)
September 4, 1978 – September 1980 (Syndication)
September 15, 1986 – September 8, 1989 (Syndication)
September 9, 1996 – September 1999 (Syndication)

The Dating Game is an ABC television show that first aired on December 20, 1965 and was the first of many shows created and packaged by Chuck Barris from the 1960s through the 1980s. ABC dropped the show on July 6, 1973, but it resurfaced in several syndicated versions (1973–1974 as The New Dating Game, 1978–1980, 1986–1989 and 1996–1999; repeats of the last version appeared in the 1999–2000 season.)

For the first few episodes in at the beginning of the ABC run, live music was provided by The Regents. For years it would almost always be aired in tandem with another Barris production, The Newlywed Game, which premiered on ABC the following year.

Typically, a bachelorette would question three bachelors, who were hidden from her view; at the end of the questioning period, she would choose one to go out with on a date paid for by the show. Occasionally, the roles would be reversed with a man questioning three ladies; other times, a celebrity would question three players for a date for themselves, a co-worker or a relative of theirs. Many celebrities played the game looking for love themselves.

The pre-stardom Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Lindsay Wagner and Lee Majors appeared as "contestants" on the show in the 1960s and early 1970s. Other contestants who appeared in their unknown or pre-stardom eras included The Carpenters, Jackson Bostwick, Joanna Cameron, Andy Kaufman (who went under the name Baji Kimran), Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, John Ritter, Phil Hartman, Jennifer Granholm (currently the Governor of Michigan), the actor Jay North, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Tom Selleck (who went on the show twice but was not chosen as a "date" either time). The future Federal Judge Alex Kozinski appeared on it and was selected as a "date". [1]. Some contestants appeared even after they were fairly well-known, including a young Michael Jackson, Ron Howard, Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Sally Field, Richard Dawson, and Paul Lynde. One standard trademark was that at the end of each episode, the host and winning contestants would blow a kiss to the viewers.

This was a forerunner for a number of other shows done in the same style. The late 1970s version of the show was much more sexually explicit (and played for laughs) than other versions.

This version was hosted by San Francisco-based disc jockey Jim Lange in the 1960s and 1970s, by Elaine Joyce and later Jeff MacGregor in the 1980s (in which future stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Michael Richards, and Jim Carrey appeared as contestants), and by Brad Sherwood and later Chuck Woolery in the 1990s.

Chuck Barris has claimed that the show was a cover for his CIA activities and was promoted by the company, according to his autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.


Game play

Classic version

Generally the bachelorette would ask questions written in advance on cards to each of the three hidden bachelors. The same question could be asked to multiple bachelors. This continued until time ran out. The bachelorette would make her choice based solely on the answers to her questions. Occasionally, the bachelor would ask questions to three bachelorettes.

Certain kinds of questions were "off-limits", such as name, age, occupation, and income.

1990s version

For this revival's first season, two formats were used.

The basic format for this show, used throughout the first year, was for the bachelor/bachelorette to pick from two facts about the three potential dates. Once it was picked, the person in question would reveal the reason behind the fact to the hopeful single. After a round of questioning, the bachelor/bachelorette chose their date. All three of the potential dates had their names revealed before the questioning started as well, something that wasn't done on any version of TDG prior.

During a part of the first season, in addition to asking the questions, the bachelor/bachelorette got to see all three contestants at the outset of the game (who all had headphones on so they couldn't hear what their potential date was saying about them), and would pick who they thought was the best looking of the bunch. After that, the question round was conducted in its usual fashion, with the bachelor/bachelorette picking who they thought had the best personality out of the three. After the choices were made, the contestant was then prompted to choose between their choice for best looking or best personality (and won a prize if they had chosen the same person for both criteria, usually $500).

This format was mostly disliked by fans of the original show so the next year they switched back to its original format and theme with Chuck Woolery at the helm.

Episode status

The ABC daytime episodes are believed to have been erased after broadcast, as was the standard practice with network daytime programs prior to the late 1970s. However at least 25 daytime episodes survive including one with John Ritter as the bachelor from 1967. GSN aired 23 daytime shows. The ABC nighttime shows exist, as GSN has aired them in the past, but it is not known exactly whether or not all of those exist.

The remaining versions of the show, which were made for syndication, are assumed to exist in their entirety.

Celebrities on the show

Nancy Locke Capers – 1967

Musical cues

The following music used on the series were done by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass:

Other music cues used on the show include:

  • "Fantail" by Count Basie (turntable cue when Jim Lange says, "and here they are!")
  • "Little Rosie" by Chuck Barris (New Dating Game 1973 closing theme)
  • "Love Sickness" by The Trumpets Ole (times up cue)
  • "Boston Bust-Out" by Jimmy McGriff (first meeting cue)
  • Dating Game 1965, main theme Chet Baker/The Mariachi Brass
  • New Dating Game 1973, main theme by David Mook

The 1980s version music theme was by Milton DeLugg. Later versions featured a re-recording of the original theme by Steve Kaplan.

See also

Preceded by
The Young Set
11:30 a.m.-12:00 noon EST, ABC
12/20/1965 – 3/31/1967
Succeeded by
One in a Million
Preceded by
Where the Action Is
4:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. EST, ABC
4/3/1967 – 7/12/68
Succeeded by
Dark Shadows
Preceded by
Baby Game
2:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. EST, ABC
7/15/1968 – 7/6/1973
Succeeded by
The Girl in my Life

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