Game Show by Mark Goodson that ran on NBC and combined two great games into a single show. Two new contestants began by playing Match Game, using the same format as its 1973-82 era with the only difference being the tiebreaker while played the same as before, the contestants now chose from a list of four possible answers.
The winner of Match Game played against the returning champion on Hollywood Squares with three more celebrities joining the group. The champion always played X, the challenger O, and carrying over from Squares' 1980-81 syndicated season, there was no Secret Square. Each captured square awarded $25, with victory in each round awarding that round number times 100 ($100 for Round 1, $200 for Round 2, etc.) until time ran out; whoever had the most cash became champion and played the Super Match.
While the concept was sound, the lack of regular panelists and a major senior moment by Goodson (inexplicably failing to understand what made Squares work) doomed the show to a 39-week run from October 31, 1983 to July 27, 1984. Further complicating matters was Gene Rayburn, who hated working with Jon Bauman and (according to announcer Gene Wood) had been "dragged, kicking and screaming" into this mess, as was competition from ABC's General Hospital, then in the peak of their "Luke and Laura" era, which drew viewers away.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Round: A modified version of the Super Match; the answers in the Audience Match paid off $1,000/$500/$250 (or $100 for missing all of them) and the contestant could choose from all nine stars for the Head-to-Head Match. Four celebrities each had a "10" or "20" card in front of them, while the last had a "30". If the contestant successfully matched against the chosen celebrity, the Audience Match winnings were multiplied by the celebrity's number, for a potential top prize of $30,000.
- Bonus Space: One of the nine celebrities would multiply the Audience Match winnings by 30 if chosen.
- Consolation Prize
This show provides examples of:
- Ascended Extra: Subverted with Jon Bauman; though he appeared as a panelist on Match Game during the 1973-82 era (in his "Bowzer" persona), it wasn't the Match portion he ended up hosting.
- Downer Ending:
- At least one contestant played for $30,000 and lost.
- On one episode, a contestant played the Super Match and was given "_____ Pizza". Jon Bauman wrote down one answer, discarded it, then wrote another. The contestant offered "Pepperoni"... guess what was on the card that Jon threw out? (His second card said "Large".)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Episode #88 in the Hollywood Squares portion had a question about dogs getting stuck together after mating.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Dumb Dora/Donald, Fat Frieda, Old Man Periwinkle (and his wife), Ugly Edna/Alfreida, and Weird Willie all came along from Match.
- No OSHA Compliance: Compared to every other run of Squares, the board was actually the least safe, considering the second and third rows would be wheeled in behind the Match Game panel.
- Obvious Rule Patch: The five-square win and gotta-earn-the-win-yourself rules from Squares were thrown out due to time constraints.
- Pilot: Pretty much the same as the series, with the notable difference of having three contestants in the Match portion.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The main theme and contestant plug cues were recycled over to The Price Is Right; the former used for new cars (and the now-retired pricing game SuperBall!!), the latter usually for exercise equipment. They stayed on the show until just after Drew Carey took over. In addition, the theme was used for new cars during the 1986-89 runs of Card Sharks after the car game was added.
- Scenery Porn: The set was rather inventive, with a huge light-up marquee board as the backdrop that displayed celebrities' names, background patterns, and the Super Match prize amounts. It was built in sections that could swivel in place to let Gene and Jon enter at the start of the show. The stars' seating area began as a two-tiered Match panel, then a third tier was rolled in for Squares.
- Theme Tune: The theme for this show became a famous car prize cue for The Price Is Right.