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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. In February 2021, ABC announced yet another revival, The Celebrity Dating Game, with Michael Bolton as executive producer and Zooey Deschanel as host.

Usually aired alongside sister show The Newlywed Game.

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:

  • 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.
  • Signature Transition: In the original '60s and '70s version:
    • Host Jim Lange would introduce the three bachelors by announcing "And heeere they are!" and doing an extravagant pointing to the area of the stage where they were seated, which was the cue for the partition to turn and reveal them to the contestant.
    • At the end of the show, Lange and the winning couples would, on cue, fade back and blow the viewers a kiss, accompanied by the word "Kiss" appearing onscreen and approaching the camera, which was followed by the closing credits.
  • 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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