Hollywood Game Night

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Hollywood Game Night
Created by
Presented byJane Lynch
StarringDean Butterworth (Bandleader)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes77
Executive producers
  • Sean Hayes
  • Todd Milliner
  • Michael Agbabian
  • Dwight D. Smith
Production locationsUniversal Studios
Universal City, California
  • Simon Laight
  • Mike Souza
  • Nathan Miles
  • Victor Gonzaga
  • Lisa Kearney
  • Billy Harnist
Running time42 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseJuly 11, 2013 (2013-07-11) –
July 5, 2020 (2020-07-05)

Hollywood Game Night is an American television game show that aired on NBC from July 11, 2013, to July 5, 2020. The series, which is hosted by Jane Lynch, follows two contestants who take part in a casual game night with three celebrities each, making the main episode a game between two four-player teams. Five games are played on each episode, with teams accumulating points based on their performance in each of the games. After the fifth game, the contestant on the team with the most points competes in a bonus round with one of the episode's celebrities. The chosen celebrity plays for a chance to win $10,000 for a charity of his or her choice, while the contestants compete to win $25,000.

The series has generally received positive critical reception and earned relatively modest television ratings, while also inspiring several worldwide adaptions, as well as a party game and mobile app based on the show. The series has been honored with several awards nominations, winning the Writers Guild of America Award for Quiz and Audience Participation for three consecutive years. Lynch, meanwhile, has also been recognized for her performance as host, earning three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program and winning twice.


Two teams of four players each (consisting of three celebrities and one contestant) play a series of games.[1] The contestant is designated captain of the team. In season five, some episodes are "Show Vs. Show" specials, where each team consists of cast members of a specific show. For example, the first episode of season five was "Veep vs. The Walking Dead".[2]

Five total games are played on each episode. Within each game, teams attempt to score points for their team, with one point awarded for each correct response in rounds one and two, and two points per correct answer in rounds three and four. The fifth and final game awards five points per correct answer, with the team in the lead going first. If both contestants are tied prior to the fifth and final game, then the contestant who won the last game goes first. The contestant with the most points at the end of play wins the game and advances to the $25,000 bonus round. If both contestants are tied at the end of the game, the contestant who won more games will advance to the bonus round.[3]


Games vary in complexity and subject. Some games require teams to answer questions based upon photographs of celebrities, television programs, or films, while others ask teams to place items in categories or order items based upon a chronological scale.[4] Others feature the teams to identify the brand of grocery products based on pictures of the product or to match pictures to audio clues played for the team. Several other games are based on wordplay, requiring teams to identify subjects for which the vowels have been removed, titles in which the order of words has been shuffled, or titles and phrases which are displayed in a language other than English. Games for which a time limit is involved are typically played for 90 seconds.[3]

Bonus round: Celebrity Name Game[edit]

In the bonus round, "Celebrity Name Game,” the winning contestant chooses one of the six celebrities as their partner.[4] (Beginning in season three, this was changed to two celebrities, one from each team).[5] The chosen celebrity begins describing a different celebrity as best they can. For every celebrity the winning contestant identifies correctly, the contestant earns $1,000 and the celebrity receives $1,000 for his or her charity. If the contestant guesses ten celebrities correctly within 90 seconds, the contestant's winnings are increased to $25,000 and the celebrity partner(s) wins $10,000 for his or her charity.[3]


Jane Lynch, host of the series

Created by actor/producer Sean Hayes and producer Todd Milliner, the show was inspired by real-life cocktail party-style game nights held by Hayes and Milliner.[6][7] "Sean Hayes, the creator of the series, has these notorious game nights that are so much fun, that a variety of people go to because he has a lot of interesting people in his life," Lynch told The Huffington Post. "And he said 'Let's put it on TV,' and NBC said, 'OK!' Before I knew it, I was hosting it, and we rented this mansion that is, ostensibly, mine, and we put couches in there and we got everybody tanked up on booze and we played these games."[4]

NBC announced the series in April 2011 under the then title Celebrity Game Night, changing to its current name when it was ordered and greenlit on December 18, 2012.[8][9] In February 2013, NBC announced Jane Lynch as the host [10] The first season of Hollywood Game Night premiered on July 11, 2013.[11]

On August 20, 2013, NBC renewed Hollywood Game Night for a ten-episode second season.[12] On April 11, 2017, Game Show Network (GSN) announced its acquisition of the first four seasons, which began airing on April 17, 2017.[13] NBC announced a sixth season of the show in March 2018 which premiered on July 11, 2019.[14][15]

On May 12, 2020, NBC aired a "Social Distancing Edition" special for Red Nose Day, with teams of celebrities playing remotely from their homes.[16][17][18] On May 25, 2020, NBC announced that new episodes would return on June 7, 2020. It is unclear whether these episodes are a continuation of season 6 or part of a new season 7. On some websites, production codes for the social distancing episode and the premiere on June 7, 2020, indicate that they are a part of the 6th season. On other sites, the new episodes are listed as part of a new season 7, but NBC never formally renewed the show for a 7th season.[19][20]

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
18July 11, 2013 (2013-07-11)August 29, 2013 (2013-08-29)
220December 23, 2013 (2013-12-23)July 24, 2014 (2014-07-24)
310July 7, 2015 (2015-07-07)September 8, 2015 (2015-09-08)
412January 5, 2016 (2016-01-05)July 28, 2016 (2016-07-28)
511June 22, 2017 (2017-06-22)May 24, 2018 (2018-05-24)
616July 11, 2019 (2019-07-11)July 5, 2020 (2020-07-05)


Critical response[edit]

The show received little advance press, but The Atlantic's Esther Zuckerman was excited at the prospect of celebrities being a part of the show, writing, "Even with everything left unanswered, we're going to give a point to NBC on this one. The mix of celebrities just seems too good to be true."[21] After its premiere, it was reviewed positively by Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times, who said, "Fast-paced, with a certain 'learn-as-you-go' air, the premiere episode...supplied a nice number of laughs and the inevitable angsty moments of group competition."[1] Ed Bark, a former television critic at The Dallas Morning News, gave Hollywood Game Night a "B-minus" grade, arguing that "as a silly summertime lark, HGN pretty much hits it out of the park on opening night."[22] Entertainment Weekly's Annie Barrett argued that the show "makes you feel like a genius" and saying "I've never felt smarter in my life."[23] Writing before the season three premiere, The Washington Post's Hank Stuever opined that while "Few things on television could seem more pleasingly old-fashioned and simply entertaining" than the series, it "also serves as another reminder that we live in a sad, unimaginative era of acquiescence to celebrity status."[24]


Hollywood Game Night's ratings were first or tied for first in its timeslot for all eight episodes of season one.[25] The first season averaged 3.7 million viewers; the series premiere was watched by 4.29 million viewers, though the ratings progressively declined, with the season finale only garnering 2.82 million viewers.[26] During the second season, the viewership average over twenty episodes was 3.92 million; the fourth episode of the season set a series high with 5.495 viewers.[27] The series' ten-episode third season saw an average of 4.64 million viewers.[28] In season four, Hollywood Game Night averaged 3.767 million viewers over twelve episodes, with the ratings decreasing slightly as the season progressed.[29] In its fifth season, the series averaged 4.1 million viewers over ten episodes.[30]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2014 Writers Guild of America Quiz and Audience Participation Hollywood Game Night Won [31]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Jane Lynch Won [32]
2015 Writers Guild of America Quiz and Audience Participation Hollywood Game Night Won [33]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Jane Lynch Won [34]
2016 Writers Guild of America Quiz and Audience Participation Hollywood Game Night Won [35]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Jane Lynch Nominated [36]

International versions[edit]

The series' popularity has led it to become a worldwide franchise, having been recreated in several other countries outside of the United States. Versions of Hollywood Game Night have existed in Armenia,[37] Canada,[38] Czech Republic,[39][40] Finland,[41] France,[42] Greece,[43] Hungary,[44] Iceland,[45] Indonesia,[46] Russia,[47] Spain,[48][49] Thailand,[50] Turkey,[51] Ukraine,[52] United Kingdom,[53] and Vietnam.[54]


A boxed party game based on the series was released February 15, 2014.[55][56] Additionally, on July 14, 2015, a mobile version of the game was released for iOS devices.[57]


  1. ^ a b McNamara, Mary (July 11, 2013). "Let's All Play Hollywood Game Night!". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  2. ^ "Veep vs. The Walking Dead". Hollywood Game Night. Season 5. Episode 1. June 22, 2017. NBC.
  3. ^ a b c "The One With the Friends". Hollywood Game Night. Season 1. Episode 1. July 11, 2013. NBC.
  4. ^ a b c Furlong, Maggie (July 11, 2013). "Hollywood Game Night Premiere: Host Jane Lynch Previews New Series". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  5. ^ "Two Janes Are Better Than One". Hollywood Game Night. Season 3. Episode 1. July 7, 2017. NBC.
  6. ^ Ng, Philiana (February 27, 2013). "How Sean Hayes' House Parties Led to NBC's New Game Show". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  7. ^ Crowder, Courtney (February 8, 2014). "Hollywood Game Night host Jane Lynch thrills, jabs, zings as leader of NBC game show". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings, LLC. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Sullivan, Brian (August 1, 2011). "Greenblatt: 'We Want to Restore NBC to Its Leadership Position in Quality'". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  9. ^ Kondology, Amanda (December 18, 2012). "NBC Announces Bold New Game Show Hollywood Game Night". TV by the Numbers (Press release). Zap2it. Archived from the original on September 12, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  10. ^ Bibel, Sara (February 22, 2013). "NBC Names Emmy Winner Jane Lynch as Host of New Game Show Series Hollywood Game Night". TV by the Numbers (Press release). Zap2it. Archived from the original on September 12, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Kondology, Amanda (April 25, 2013). "NBC Sets Premiere Dates for Crossing Lines, The Winner Is.. & Hollywood Game Night". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Archived from the original on September 12, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nelliie (August 20, 2013). "NBC's Hollywood Game Night Renewed for Second Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  13. ^ "GSN to Air Hollywood Game Night Monday Through Friday at 9:00PM (ET) Beginning April 17" (Press release). GSN Corporate. April 11, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  14. ^ Pederson, Erik (April 1, 2019). "NBC Summer Premiere Dates: New Drama 'The InBetween', 'Dateline NBC', 'The Wall' & 'Hollywood Game Night'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  15. ^ Pedersen, Erik (March 19, 2018). "'Hollywood Game Night' Renewed For Season 6 On NBC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Vlada Gelman (6 May 2020). "Hollywood Game Night at Home, After Life Renewed and More". TV Line.
  17. ^ Jim Halterman (2020-05-12). "'Hollywood Game Night': Nick Jonas, Kristen Bell & Kenan Thompson Play 'I Love A Charade'". TV Insider.
  18. ^ "Social Distancing Edition". TV Maze. 12 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Breaking News - "Hollywood Game Night" Returns to NBC with Originals on Sunday, June 7 | TheFutonCritic.com". thefutoncritic.com. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  20. ^ "Shows A-Z - hollywood game night on nbc | TheFutonCritic.com". thefutoncritic.com. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  21. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (April 2, 2013). "If NBC's Hollywood Game Night Is Like Hollywood Squares with Booze, Rejoice". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  22. ^ Bark, Ed (July 11, 2013). "Celebs at play on NBC's Hollywood Game Night". Uncle Barky's Bytes. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  23. ^ Barrett, Annie (August 1, 2013). "NBC's Hollywood Game Night makes you feel like a genius". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  24. ^ Stuever, Hank (July 6, 2015). "Hollywood Game Night and the problem with the celebrity fun bus". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings, LLC. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  25. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (August 30, 2013). "Hollywood Game Night Ties for #1 at 10 and Has Been #1 or Tied for #1 For Eight Telecasts". TV by the Numbers (Press release). Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  26. ^ "Hollywood Game Night: Season Three Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 1, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  27. ^ "Hollywood Game Night: Season Two Ratings". TV Series Finale. July 25, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  28. ^ "Hollywood Game Night: Season Three Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 9, 2015. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  29. ^ "Hollywood Game Night: Season Four Ratings". TV Series Finale. July 29, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  30. ^ "Hollywood Game Night: Season Five Ratings". TV Series Finale. September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  31. ^ "WGA Awards: Budapest, Imitation Game Win Top Film Honors, True Detective, Louie Score On TV Side — Full List". Deadline. PMC. February 14, 2015. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  32. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (August 18, 2014). "Creative Arts Emmy Awards: Saturday Night Live, HBO Grab Most Trophies — Full List Of Winners". Deadline. PMC. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  33. ^ "2016 Writers Guild Awards Nominees". The Writers Guild Awards. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  34. ^ "Emmy Awards 2015: The complete winners list". CNN. September 21, 2015. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  35. ^ Eggerton, John (February 21, 2017). "FX Writers Score Big at WGA Awards". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  36. ^ "68th Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners". Emmys.com. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  37. ^ "3/OFF". Armenia TV. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  38. ^ "Silence, on joue!" (in French). ICI Radio-Canada. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  39. ^ "Hvězdná Párty" (in Czech). NOVA Plus. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  40. ^ "Hvézdná Párty" (in Czech). TV Nova. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  41. ^ "GAME NIGHT" (in Finnish). TMC. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  42. ^ "Canape Quiz" (in French). TMC. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  43. ^ "CELEBRITY GAME NIGHT (Official site)" (in Greek). Mega Channel. Archived from the original on October 7, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  44. ^ "Gyertek át szombat este!" (in Hungarian). RTL Klub. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  45. ^ Pálsson, Stefán Árni (September 29, 2015). "Sjáðu fyrsta brotið úr þáttunum Spilakvöld" (in Icelandic). Visir. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  46. ^ "Celebrity Game Show" (in Indonesian). RTV. Archived from the original on December 6, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  47. ^ Подмосковные вечера (in Russian). Channel One. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  48. ^ López, Tony (June 2, 2015). "La 1 estrena 'Jugamos en casa', el nuevo concurso de Los Morancos, el lunes 8 de junio" [La 1 premieres 'Jugamos en casa', the new Los Morancos game show, Monday, June 8]. FormulaTV (in Spanish). Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  49. ^ López, Tony (June 17, 2015). "La 1 cancela 'Jugamos en casa', el concurso de Los Morancos, tras sus bajas audiencias" [La 1 cancels 'Jugamos en casa', the Los Morancos game show, due to low ratings]. FormulaTV (in Spanish). Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  50. ^ "CELEBRITY GAME NIGHT (Weekly Program News)" (in Thai). ONE HD Channel. September 1, 2014. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  51. ^ "Saba ile Oyuna Geldik" (in Turkish). www.tv8.com.tr. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  52. ^ Добрый вечер на Интере (in Russian). Inter. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  53. ^ Alcinii, Daniele (October 22, 2018). "Channel 5 orders "Celebrity Game Night" from Monkey". Realscreen. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  54. ^ "Demtieccungsao" (in Vietnamese). VTV3. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  55. ^ "Hollywood Game Night Party Game Hits Shelves February 15" (Press release). The Futon Critic. NBC. February 14, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  56. ^ "Hollywood Game Night Party Game (2014)". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  57. ^ "Hollywood Game Night: iOS". Metacritic. July 14, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2017.

External links[edit]