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The Dating Game

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Title: The Dating Game  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: List of game show hosts, Barris Industries, Reality television, 1966–67 United States network television schedule, American Broadcasting Company
Collection: 1960S American Television Series, 1965 American Television Series Debuts, 1970S American Television Series, 1974 American Television Series Endings, 1978 American Television Series Debuts, 1980 American Television Series Endings, 1980S American Television Series, 1986 American Television Series Debuts, 1989 American Television Series Endings, 1990S American Television Series, 1996 American Television Series Debuts, 1999 American Television Series Endings, American Broadcasting Company Network Shows, American Game Shows, Dating and Relationship Reality Television Series, English-Language Television Programming, First-Run Syndicated Television Programs in the United States, Television Series by Barris Industries, Television Series by Sony Pictures Television, Television Series Created by Chuck Barris, Television Series Revived After Cancellation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Dating Game

The Dating Game
Also known as The New Dating Game
Created by Chuck Barris
Presented by Jim Lange (1965–1980)
Elaine Joyce (1986–1987)
Jeff MacGregor (1987–1989)
Brad Sherwood (1996–1997)
Chuck Woolery (1997–1999)
Narrated by Johnny Jacobs (1965-1980)
Bob Hilton (1986-1987)
Charlie O'Donnell (1987-1989)
Virginia Watson (1996-1997)
John Cramer (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 Productions (1986–1989)
Barris Industries (1986–1989)
Distributor Station Syndication, Inc. (1973–1974)
Firestone Program Services (1978–1980)
Bel-Air Program Sales (1986–1987)
Clarion Communications (1986-1987) (ad-sales)
Barris Program Sales (1987–1989)
Columbia TriStar Television Distribution (1996–1999)
Sony Pictures Television
Original channel ABC (1965–1973)
Syndicated (1973–1974; 1978–1980; 1986–1989; 1996–2000)
Original release First Run
December 20, 1965 – July 6, 1973 (ABC Daytime)
Second Run
October 6, 1966 – January 17, 1970 (ABC primetime)
Third Run
September 10, 1973 – September 1974 (Syndication)
Fourth Run
September 4, 1978 – September 1980 (Syndication)
Fifth Run
September 15, 1986 – September 8, 1989 (Syndication)
Sixth Run
September 9, 1996 – September 1999 (Syndication)

The Dating Game is an ABC television show. It 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 continued in syndication for another year (1973–1974) as The New Dating Game. The program was revived three additional times in syndication afterwards. The first revival premiered in 1978 and ran until 1980, the second ran from 1986 until 1989, and the last ran from 1996 until 1999 with a season of reruns following.

Jim Lange hosted The Dating Game for its entire ABC network run and the 1973 and 1978 syndicated editions. The 1986 revival was hosted by Elaine Joyce for its first season and Jeff MacGregor for its remaining two seasons. When the show was revived with a different format in 1996, Brad Sherwood was named as its host. Chuck Woolery took over in 1997 when the original format was reinstated and hosted for the last two seasons.

Beginning in 1966, The Dating Game was often paired with The Newlywed Game. This was especially true when the two shows entered syndication; in fact, in 1996 the revivals of both The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game were sold as a package called "The Dating-Newlywed Hour".

The program was originally broadcast in black-and-white, but when a prime-time version began in October 1966, both it and the daytime version were broadcast in color; the daytime version thus became the first ABC daytime series to be broadcast in color on a regular basis.


  • Format 1
  • Game play 2
    • Original version 2.1
    • 1996-97 season 2.2
  • Episode status 3
  • Guests 4
  • Theme music and cues 5
  • International Versions 6
  • Legacy 7
  • Licensed Merchandise 8
  • See also 9
  • External Resources 10
  • References 11


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 or for a co-worker or a relative of theirs.

Before becoming famous, Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Yvonne Craig, Lindsay Wagner, Tom Selleck and Lee Majors appeared as contestants on the show in the 1960s and early 1970s. Other contestants who appeared before becoming famous included The Carpenters, Jackson Bostwick, Joanna Cameron, Andy Kaufman (who went under the pseudonym Baji Kimran), Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, John Ritter, Phil Hartman, Jennifer Granholm (Governor of Michigan from 2003–2010), Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Alex Kozinski.[1] Serial killer Rodney Alcala appeared on the show during his murder spree and after he had been convicted of rape in California. 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, Jay North, 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.

Game play

Original version

Comedian Pat Paulsen makes a guest appearance in 1968.

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 contestant was a bachelor who would ask questions to three bachelorettes. Certain kinds of questions were "off-limits", such as name, age, occupation, and income.

When the original format returned to the syndicated revival in 1997, these rules were readopted but there was more of a variety between bachelors and bachelorettes.

1996-97 season

For the first season of the 1996 revival, The Dating Game used a different format. A notable change was that the prospective bachelor/bachelorette knew what the first names of his or her potential dates were at all times.

Instead of asking questions of their potential date, the bachelor/bachelorette was presented with two pun-laden statements, each pertaining to one of the potential dates. When chosen, a new statement replaced the old statement and the potential date explained the reason why that fact pertained to them. Play continued until time expired, after which the bachelor/bachelorette gave their choice.

In several weeks of episodes that aired at various times throughout the season, another format was used. This format saw the players choose a potential date based on how good they looked and another based on personality. To determine the "looks" portion, the bachelor/bachelorette observed their potential dates (another change not seen on any Dating Game series beforehand) for several seconds; the three players wore noise-cancelling headphones so they could not hear what the bachelor/bachelorette was saying about them and they identified by numbers. The statement round was used to determine the "personality" portion. After the game ended the bachelor/bachelorette chose one panelist based on looks and one based on personality, then was prompted to choose either of the two. In the case the bachelor/bachelorette chose the same person for both looks and personality, they won a cash prize of $500.

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 remaining versions of the show, which were made for syndication, are assumed to exist in their entirety. The 1990s syndicated version is currently airing on GameTV in Canada.

After the version finale in 1980, The Dating Game with the repeats of the 1978-1980 version was seen on Los Angeles TV Station KHJ-TV (now KCAL-TV) Channel 9 from September 26, 1983 to September 12, 1986. In another variation of the final year in reruns, there were some episodes from ABC daytime, ABC primetime and syndicated weekly.


Some of the celebrities that appeared on The Dating Game appeared as a bachelor or bachelorette before becoming famous or a special guest star include:

Theme music and cues

The show used many popular music from its time ranging from Tijuana Brass music from the 1960s, to pop music used for celebrity guest and band appearances. For the first few episodes at the beginning of the ABC run, live music was provided by The Regents, a house band from Jack Martin’s A.M-P.M. on La Cienega Blvd.[6] (unrelated to the 1959 band, The Regents, famous for their song "Barbara Ann"). Later on, during 1966, the show used recorded music, with the main theme provided by The Mariachi Brass, featuring trumpeter Chet Baker. The show also had music covers made by Skip Battin & The Group (1967, Aurora 159), & The Challengers (196?, Triumph 64).

The series started using several songs by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass as cues for the show, including:

  • "Spanish Flea" (music used to introduce the bachelor questioning the females)
  • "Whipped Cream" (music used to introduce the bachelorette questioning the males)
  • "Lollipops and Roses" (music used to meet the date)

Different pieces of music were also used during the time, after the interview portion, to think about choosing a date. Some musical pieces include:

  • "Ladyfingers" (Herb Alpert)
  • "Lemon Tree" (Herb Alpert)

Music used for guest appearances of celebrities choosing a date for themselves (or their daughter), or band appearances include:

  • "Live" (The Merry-Go-Round, used to open the show for their guest appearance)
  • "Close To You" (Karen Carpenter, used to open the show for her guest appearance)
  • "Midnight Confessions" (The Grassroots, used to open the show for their guest appearance)
  • "I Want To Be Where You Are" (Michael Jackson, used during his guest appearance)
  • "I Want You Back" (Michael Jackson, an instrumental version used during the prize description)
  • "Cheyenne" (Barry Williams, used during his guest appearance)
  • "Goin' Out of My Head" (Little Anthony, used to open the show for his guest appearance)

Other music cues used on the show include:

  • "Fantail" by Count Basie (music used when host Jim Lange introduces the three potential dates to the audience)
  • "Love Sickness" by The Trumpets Ole (a brief cue used when time for the interview portion is through)
  • "Boston Bust-Out" by Jimmy McGriff (music used before the date is introduced to their prize)

The show added a closing theme in 1972 before the daytime version of "The Dating Game" ends. The theme used music is called "Little Rosie". Many of the music, including this closing theme used during this show's run, was released on the 1973 LP record album Themes From TV Game Shows,[7] produced by Chuck Barris. The show continued to use the 1966 theme as its opening theme until 1978, when the show went to all in-house music. The 1978 opening theme is found on the album's first track, and is credited to Chuck Barris & David Mook.

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

International Versions

Country Local Name Host Network Year Aired
 Australia Perfect Match Greg Evans
Cameron Daddo
Shelley Craft
Network Ten
Seven Network
Blind Date Greg Evans Network Ten 1991
 Belgium vtm
 Brazil Namoro na TV Silvio Santos Tupi
 Bulgaria Lina Zlateva bTV
 Colombia Adán y Eva Jota Mario Valencia Caracol Television 1987
 Croatia RTL Televizija
 Czech Republic Prima
 Denmark TV3
 Estonia Kanal 2
 Finland Napakymppi (viihdeohjelma) Markus Similia (1985)
Kari Salmelainen (1985-2002)
Joanna Kantola(2001-2002)
Yle TV1
Yle TV2
 France Tournez Manège! Évelyne Leclercq
Simone Garnier
Fabienne Égal
TF1 1985-1993
Sébastien Cauet 2009-2010
 Germany Herzblatt miscellaneous ARD 1987-2005
Herz ist Trumpf Stephen Lehmann Sat.1 1992-1993
 Hungary RTL Klub
 Ireland Blind Date Lucy Kennedy TV3 2014
 Israel Channel 2 (Keshet)
 Italy Il gioco delle coppie Marco Predolin
Corrado Tedeschi
Giorgio Mastrota and Natalia Estrada
Italia 1
Canale 5
Rete 4
 Latvia LTV
 Mexico Las Andanzas de Cupido Channel 13
 Poland Randka w ciemno Jacek Kawalec
Tomasz Kammel
TVP1 1992-2005
 Slovenia Zmenkarije Katarina Čas Kanal A
 Spain Vivan los novios Andoni Ferreño Telecinco 1991-1994
 Turkey Saklambaç Nurseli İdiz Show TV 1992-1996
 United Kingdom Blind Date Cilla Black ITV 1985-2003
 United States The Dating Game
The New Dating Game
Jim Lange ABC
The All-New Dating Game Elaine Joyce
Jeff MacGregor
Syndication 1986-1987
The Dating Game Brad Sherwood
Chuck Woolery


In his first autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (1988), Barris claimed that The Dating Game was a cover for his CIA activities, and was promoted by the CIA. However, his second memoir, The Game Show King: A Confession (1993), makes no mention of the CIA—or, for that matter, his previous book;[8] and a CIA spokesman has categorically denied that Barris ever worked for them in any capacity.[9]

The show's popularity in the 1960s was the inspiration for an ice cream flavor by Baskin-Robbins called Dating Game. It was a pink ice cream with diced dates and butter toasted pecans.[10]

Licensed Merchandise

Hasbro released three home games based on the original 1965 version from 1967-1968[11] Pressman released a single home game based on the 1986 version in 1987.[12]

in 1968, A 45 rpm party record called The Dating Game Party Pak narrated by Jim Lange himself, packed together with postcard invitations, name tags and scorecards for six people to play.[13]

In 1980 the Laverne and Shirley show had an episode of "The Dating Game" with Lenny and Squiggy as the guest stars!

In the late 1990s, Sony's website released an online version of The Dating Game.

A Video Slot Machine based on the original 1965 version featuring an animated Jim Lange was released by IGT in 2004. In both Nickel[14] and quarter[15] versions.[16][17]

In March 2011, a new virtual version of The Dating Game was launched on Facebook, Twitter and other social media network sites. The game was developed by 3G Studios,[18] under license from Sony Pictures Entertainment.[19]

A recurring parody on Let's Make a Deal called The Dealing Game features Wayne Brady and Jonathan Mangum (both as a different character in each appearance) but rather than a date, each of them represents a curtain and both of them try to get the contestant to pick their curtain. Model Tiffany Coyne plays the role of the "hostess".

See also

External Resources

  • For online dating games.


  1. ^ [3] Columbia Law
  2. ^ David Gardner (April 1, 2010). "The 'most prolific' serial killer in U.S. history is sentenced to death as police fear he could be behind 130 murders". Mail Online. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ 100 victims' of serial killer Rodney Alcala"'". Times Mirror. August 11, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Serial Killer Rodney Alcalas". National Public Radio blogs. 
  5. ^ Rudegeair, Peter (January 7, 2013). Dating Game" killer sentenced for 1970s murders""". Reuters archive. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ Bishop, Chris (18 March 2010). "Regents Archives". Garage Hangover. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  7. ^ Barris, Chuck. "Themes From TV Game Shows". SAR-1001. Friends Records. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ Adams, C. (February 7, 2003): Was Chuck Barris a Hit Man for the CIA? The Straight Dope archive Retrieved November 22, 2011
  9. ^ Stein, Joel. Time, "Lying to Tell the Truth", January 13, 2003. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  10. ^ Schwartz, David, Steve Ryan and Fred Wostbrock. "The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows, 3rd edition". New York: Checkmark Books, 1999, p. 54.
  11. ^ The Dating Game Board Game (Hasbro)
  12. ^ The All New Dating Game Board Game (Pressman)
  13. ^ [4]
  14. ^ The Dating Game Video Slots (Nickel) Promotional Literature
  15. ^ The Dating Game Video Slots (Quarter) Promotional Literature
  16. ^ The Dating Game Video Slots
  17. ^ 'AND HE-E-RE THEY AR-R-RE': IGT Gets Licensing Rights To The Dating Game (TM) and The Newlywed Game (TM)
  18. ^ 3G Studios Acquires Rights to Classic TV series to revive The Dating Game
  19. ^ 'The Dating Game' goes interactive, virtual and social
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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