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Series / The Dating Game

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Game Show by Chuck Barris Productions which debuted on ABC in 1965 with host Jim Lange. It was the first game show to enter Reality TV territory, in that the winning couple actually went on a date after the show. It was so popular in its original run that it inspired a flavor of ice cream.

A young woman asked provocative questions of three bachelors who sat on stools behind a large wall. After questioning, the "bachelorette" chose one of the bachelors for her date, based only on how they answered her questions. On occasion, the role would be reversed (one bachelor, three bachelorettes).

Syndicated revivals were moderated by Elaine Joyce, Jeff MacGregor, Brad Sherwood, and Chuck Woolery.

The UK version of Dating Games, Blind Date, had a hugely popular run from 1985 to 2003 and was hosted by Cilla Black.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • All or Nothing: Somewhat, at least for the three potential suitors — either you get the girl/boy, or you don't.
  • Carried by the Host: Averted. Jim did little more than introduce the bachelors/bachelorettes.
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: Johnny Jacobs is probably the best known.
    • Game Show Host: Jim Lange. Elaine Joyce hosted in 1986/87, followed by Jeff MacGregor from 1987 to 1989. Brad Sherwood hosted the first season of the 1990s revival, followed by Chuck Woolery.
    • Studio Audience


This show provides examples of:

  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The game became very raunchy as its popularity grew, with virtually all the questions (and answers) being veiled innuendos.
  • Serial Killer: What in retrospect is one of the creepiest moments in the history of American television took place in 1978 when serial killer Rodney Alcala appeared as a contestant. The producers had no way of knowing that Alcala had killed at least four people, but probably should have done enough research to find out that he was a registered sex offender with two convictions for sexual assault. Alcala won the game, but the girl who was picking bachelors refused (per The Other Wiki) to go out with him.
  • The '60s: Look at the set design, which is full of stereotypical television show design of the time (basically The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour aesthetic.)
  • Spiritual Successor: Love Connection was basically this, but much more host-driven. Singled Out was similar, but had the contestant picking from 50 potential dates.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Britain and Australia had their own variations of "The Dating Game", titled "Blind Date" and "Perfect Match", respectively.


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