ABC announced yesterday that it has developed another game show to fill out an apparent night of game shows, enlisting Alec Baldwin to host a reboot of the classic Match Game, in which contestants fill in the blank of a corny joke and hope to match the answer of a panel of celebrities in order to win money. Match Game will be programmed alongside a $100,000 Pyramid reboot and Celebrity Family Feud, a scenario that can only be interpreted as an attempt by ABC execs to pit celebrity game shows against each other in a meta game show of game shows. The scales of fortune can tip either way when it comes to rebooting an old show, but at least networks can guarantee everyone knows the rules of the game. Game shows have been helping normal people win cars and dishwashers and cold hard cash for years, so from the wild successes to the one-season wonders, there’s no shortage of material for Match Game to draw from on its way to winning the game of game shows.
Million Dollar Password
OK, listen: A million dollars is too much. Did you ever watch this show? These people were STRESSING. I once saw a woman yell “overcast” at Betty White like she held all the treasures of the known world — and she basically did, because there was $100,000 leading to a cool million on the table. You know how much they played for on the original Password? Two hundred fifty dollars. They upped the prize in later seasons to $500. If Match Game wants to outlast Million Dollar Password’s single season, ABC has to keep its cool on the riches. When you’re making a game show, the prize is either chill game time with a celebrity OR money. Celebrity AND money just stresses everyone out.
Let Alec Baldwin be exactly as condescending as he wants to be.
Press Your Luck, a.k.a. the game show with the Whammy
Game shows are traditionally a low-stakes undertaking, with outcomes based somewhat on skill, and much more on luck. But Press Your Luck taught America in real time that there is nothing more fun than watching a scammer game the system. Maybe Alec Baldwin could collude with Match Game guests? Maybe the questions could correspond to a simple algorithm such that an out-of-work ice cream truck driver could learn the code and follow a joke pattern straight to massive earnings? Consider the possibilities, ABC!
Procure contestants for Match Game by luring unsuspecting strangers off the streets of New York with the promise of affordable transit. Once they are in the studio, surprise them with flashing lights and a series of contract agreements licensing their image now and forever to ABC and its affiliate networks so these bystanders can count on their faces appearing every day before and after the morning news on local TV stations.
Legends of the Hidden Temple
Hire only the kindliest of panelists, and make all the contestants on Match Game preteens at the height of their awkward phase. Then watch in wonder as the sweet children are baffled by the difficulty of a task that only seemed easy when they were watching from the safety of home.
American Ninja Warrior
Include feats of tremendous physical exertion whenever possible. Make the celebrity guests answer questions while dangling from a ledge that accommodates just the first two knuckles of their fingertips.
Lip Sync Battle
I get it, straights want a Drag Race of their own. But there’s no competing with the entertainment value of watching a subversive culture celebrate its difference through elaborate satires of mainstream TV. Considering that the reboot of Match Game is coming on the heels of RuPaul’s already unimprovable reimagining via the "Snatch Game" episodes of Drag Race, the least ABC can do is toss RuPaul a royalty check.
Hollywood Squares and $100,000 Pyramid
People will let you get away with not being funny when you play Match Game so long as you arrange your set in delightful geometric shapes.
What’s My Line?
Create a nationwide culture of labyrinthian social codes, in which every minute detail of behavior is controlled such that any variance can be interpreted as an insinuation of behind-closed-doors activities that remain unseen to the viewer. Then put the masters of this code on television. Also use the phrase “glamour girls” as a euphemism.
There is nothing to learn from this. Pack it up.