It seems as though the past few years have brought a resurgence of game shows, which were once a staple of both daytime and primetime television viewing. As a kid, I relished snow days and sick days when I could miss school and curl up on the sofa to watch all my favorites – “Pyramid,” “Family Feud” and “Password” were just a few. Every day after school I rushed through my homework so that I’d have time to watch “Tattletales” and “Tic Tac Dough.”
Game shows go all the way back to the days of radio, with one such program becoming the first game show to air on broadcast television – “Truth or Consequences” debuted on July 1, 1941, and before long the genre became a popular form of entertainment. All “Big Three” networks carried a variety of game shows on both daytime and primetime schedules until their popularity began to fizzle in the ’80s and ’90s. During this time, cable TV began to offer a few novel game shows, most notably “Double Dare” and “Supermarket Sweep.” The more popular “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” are a couple that have survived through syndication, and CBS has held onto “The Price Is Right” – these shows have retained a steady viewership decades after their premiere episodes. In the past few years, there have been reboots of many classic game shows, including “Match Game,” “Card Sharks” and “To Tell the Truth.”
Specialty networks and streaming services such as Game Show Network, Buzzr and YouTube have preserved many of the older game shows, which are just as funny today as they were decades ago. Watching hosts and celebrity panelists banter and deftly skirt around the strict censors with innuendos, double entendres and euphemisms (“Hollywood Squares,” “The Newlywed Game,” “The Dating Game”) is just plain fun. Especially on programs like “What’s My Line?” where they’re dressed in black tie and evening dresses and are addressing each other formally, but the zingers are still flying around!
Even most people who don’t like TV in general have at least one game show that brings back fond memories and has been a source of enjoyment. Tour our photo gallery and see where your favorites rank.