The Dating Game

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The Dating Game
Also known asThe New Dating Game
The All-New Dating Game
The Celebrity Dating Game
GenreDating game show
Created byChuck Barris
Directed by
  • John Dorsey
  • Linda Howard
  • Clay Jacobsen
  • Paul Casey
  • Ken Fuchs
Presented by
Narrated by
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons
  • 1 (1973–1974)
  • 2 (1978–1980)
  • 3 (1986–1989)
  • 3 (1996–1999)
  • 1 (2021)
No. of episodes
  • 8 (ABC; 2021)
Executive producers
  • Chuck Barris (1965–1974; 1978–1980; 1986–1987)
  • Jeff Wald (1987–1988)
  • Scott Sternberg (1988–1989)
  • Michael Canter (1996–1999)
  • Charles Wachter (2021)
  • Michael Bolton (2021)
  • Christina Kline (2021)
  • Wendi Wan (2021)
Running time
  • 30 minutes with commercials (1965–1999)
  • 42 minutes (2021)
Production companies
Original release
  • ABC (1965–1973, 2021)
  • Syndicated (1973–1974; 1978–1980; 1986–1989; 1996–1999)
ReleaseDecember 20, 1965 (1965-12-20) –
August 16, 2021 (2021-08-16)

The Dating Game is an American television game show that 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 afterward, with the first from 1978 to 1980 as The All-New Dating Game, the second from 1986 to 1989, and the third from 1996 to 1999.

Jim Lange hosted The Dating Game for its entire ABC network run and for 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 for the two final seasons, with the original format reinstated, in 1997 after he had left The Home and Family Show.

Beginning in 1966, The Dating Game was often paired with The Newlywed Game. This was especially true when the two shows entered syndication, and in 1996, the revivals of The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game were sold together 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 versions were broadcast in color, making the daytime version the first ABC daytime series to be regularly broadcast in color.

In February 2021, it was reported that ABC and current distributor Sony Pictures Television would revive the show as The Celebrity Dating Game, with actress Zooey Deschanel and singer Michael Bolton as hosts, which premiered on June 14, 2021.[1][2] It ran for eight episodes until August 16, 2021, and was canceled in April 2022.[3]


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 accompany her on a date, with expenses paid by the show. Occasionally, the roles would be reversed with a man questioning three ladies; other times, celebrities would question three players for dates for themselves, co-workers or relatives.

Before becoming famous, Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Yvonne Craig, Lindsay Wagner, Leif Garrett, 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, Michael Richards, 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 to 2010), Arnold Schwarzenegger (governor of California from 2003 to 2011) and Alex Kozinski.[4] Serial killer Rodney Alcala's episodes were shown during his murder spree and after he had been convicted of assault in California.

Some contestants appeared even after they were fairly well known, including a young Michael Jackson, Burton Cummings, Dusty Springfield, Ron Howard, Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Sally Field, Richard Dawson, Jay North and Paul Lynde.

A trademark of the show was that at the end of each episode, the host and winning contestants would blow a kiss to the viewers.


Original version[edit]

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.

1996 revival[edit]

For the first season of the 1996 revival, a different format was used. A notable change was that the prospective bachelor/bachelorette knew the first names of the three contestants at all times.

Instead of asking questions of the contestants, the bachelor/bachelorette was presented with two pun-laden statements, each pertaining to one of the contestants. When chosen, a new statement replaced the old one and the potential date explained the reason why that fact pertained to him or her. Play continued until time expired, and then the bachelor/bachelorette would announce his or her choice.

In several weeks of episodes that aired at various times throughout the season, another format was used. This format had the players choose a potential date based on appearance and another based on personality. To decide the "looks" portion, the bachelor/bachelorette would observe each contestant (another change not seen on any Dating Game series beforehand) for several seconds, with the contestants wearing noise-canceling headphones to prevent them from hearing the bachelor/bachelorette talking about them. The statement round was used to determine the "personality" portion. After the game ended, the bachelor/bachelorette would select one contestant based on appearance and one based on personality, then would be prompted to choose between the two. If the bachelor/bachelorette was to select the same contestant for both looks and personality, the contestant would win a $500 cash prize.

The remaining two seasons reverted back to the original format, but there was more of a variety between bachelors and bachelorettes.

Episode status[edit]

Various episodes from the ABC daytime run have aired on Game Show Network. The remaining ABC versions of the show, which were made for primetime and for syndication, are assumed to exist in their entirety.

After the syndicated finale in 1980, repeats of the 1978–1980 version were seen on KHJ-TV (now KCAL-TV) in Los Angeles from September 26, 1983, to September 12, 1986 (when The All-New Dating Game with Elaine Joyce premiered on September 15, 1986), as well as in some other cities. In another variation of the final year in reruns, some episodes from ABC daytime, ABC primetime and weekly syndication were shown.


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

Theme music and cues[edit]

The show used many contemporary songs, ranging from those of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass 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 (unrelated to the doo-wop band of the same name who were famous for their song "Barbara Ann"), a house band from Jack Martin's A.M-P.M. on La Cienega Boulevard[12] Starting in 1966, the show used recorded music, with the main theme provided by the Mariachi Brass, featuring trumpeter Chet Baker. The show used cover songs made by Skip Battin & the Group (1967, Aurora 159) and the Challengers (196?, Triumph 64).

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

Other songs were used after the interview portion, when guests were choosing a date, including:

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

Music used during celebrity guest appearances included:

Other music cues used on the show included:

  • "Fantail" by Count Basie (when host Jim Lange would introduce the three potential dates to the audience)
  • "Love Sickness" by the Trumpets Ole (a brief cue used when the time limit for the interview portion is reached)
  • "Boston Bust-Out" by Jimmy McGriff (before the date is introduced to his or her prize)

In 1972, The Dating Game added a Dixieland-style closing theme called "Little Rosie" to its ABC daytime version; the tune was used also on the first two syndicated versions, through 1980. The song, along with some of the show's other cues, was featured on the 1973 album Themes from TV Game Shows,[14] produced by Chuck Barris. The show continued to use the 1966 opening theme until 1974; during the 1978-80 version, the show used a rearranged version of it. The 1978 opening theme is found on the Barris album's first track and is credited to Barris and David Mook.

The 1980s reboot of the show used music composed by Milton DeLugg, while later editions featured a re-recording of the original theme by Steve Kaplan.

The music for The Celebrity Dating Game was composed by Cheche Alara.

International versions[edit]

These versions are no longer airing.

Country Local name Host Network Aired
 Australia Blind Date Graham Webb (1967–1969)
Jeremy Cordeaux (1970)
Bobby Hanna (1974)
Greg Evans (1991)
Julia Morris (2018)
Network Ten (1967–1970, 1991, 2018)
Seven Network (1974)
Perfect Match Greg Evans (1984–1986; 1988–1989)
Cameron Daddo (1987–1988)
Shelley Craft (2002)
Network Ten
Seven Network
 Austria Herzblatt Rudi Carrell (1987–1993)
Rainhard Fendrich (1993–1997)
Hera Lind (1997–1998)
Christian Clerici (1998–1999)
Pierre Geisensetter (1999–2001)
Jörg Pilawa (2001–2004)
Alexander Mazza (2005)
ORF 1987–2005
 Belgium Blind Date Elke Vanelderen VTM 1995–2005
 Brazil Namoro na TV Silvio Santos Tupi
 Bulgaria Любовни игри
Lyubovni igri
Lina Zlateva bTV 2009
 Colombia Adán y Eva Jota Mario Valencia Inravisión (Caracol) 1987
 Croatia ? ? RTL Televizija ?
 Czech Republic ? ? Prima ?
 Denmark Knald eller fald Peter Hansen
Birthe Kjær
TV3 1993–1997
 Estonia ? ? Kanal 2
 Finland Napakymppi Markus Similä (1985)
Kari Salmelainen (1985–2002)
Joanna Kantola (2001–2002)
Janne Kataja (2017–2019)
MTV (1985–1992)
MTV3 (1993–2002)
Nelonen (2017–2019)
 France Tournez Manège ! Évelyne Leclercq
Simone Garnier
Fabienne Égal
TF1 1985–1993
Sébastien Cauet 2009–2010
 Germany Herzblatt Rudi Carrell (1987–1993)
Rainhard Fendrich (1993–1997)
Hera Lind (1997–1998)
Christian Clerici (1998–1999)
Pierre Geisensetter (1999–2001)
Jörg Pilawa (2001–2004)
Alexander Mazza (2005)
Das Erste 1987–2005
Herz ist Trumpf Stephan Lehmann Sat.1 1992–1993
Herz sucht Liebe Thomas Ohrner Sat.1 Gold 2016
 Hungary ? ? RTL Klub ?
 Ireland Blind Date Al Porter TV3 2017
 Israel ? ? Channel 2 (Keshet) ?
 Italy Il gioco delle coppie
Il nuovo gioco delle coppie
Marco Predolin (1985–1990)
Corrado Tedeschi (1990–1992)
Giorgio Mastrota and Natalia Estrada (1993–1994)
Italia 1 (1985–1986)
Rete 4 (1986–1988; 1991–1992; 1993–1994)
Canale 5 (1988–1991)
Il gioco delle coppie Beach[15][16] Trettré and Wendy Windham Rete 4 1994
 Latvia ? ? LTV ?
 Mexico Las Andanzas de Cupido ? TV Azteca ?
 New Zealand Blind Date Dave Jamieson
Suzy Clarkson
TVNZ 1989–1990
 Poland Randka w ciemno Jacek Kawalec (1992–1998)
Tomasz Kammel (1998–2005)
TVP1 1992–2005
 Serbia and Montenegro Srodne duše Ana Mihajlovski
Marijana Micic
Marina Trifunovic
Inspektor Blaza
Pink M
 Slovenia Zmenkarije Srečko Meh
Karin Komljanec
Katarina Čas
Kanal A 1998–2001
 Spain Vivan los novios Andoni Ferreño (1991–1993)
Gabriel Corrado (1993–1994)
Telecinco 1991–1994
 Turkey Saklambaç Nurseli İdiz Show TV 1992–1996
 United Kingdom Blind Date Cilla Black
Paul O'Grady
Channel 5
 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
The Celebrity Dating Game Zooey Deschanel
Michael Bolton
ABC 2021


In his first autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (1988), Chuck 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), mentions neither the CIA nor his previous book.[17] A CIA spokesman has categorically denied that Barris ever worked for the agency in any capacity.[18]

The show's popularity in the 1960s inspired a Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavor called Dating Game. It was pink ice cream with diced dates and butter-toasted pecans.[19]

In a 1980 Laverne and Shirley episode, Lenny and Squiggy appear as bachelors on The Dating Game.

The Dating Game was parodied by Steve Jobs during a 1983 Macintosh pre-launch event. The three "contestants" were Mitch Kapor of Lotus Software, Fred Gibbons of Software Publishing Corporation and Bill Gates of Microsoft.[20]

A recurring parody featured in the current version of Let's Make a Deal called The Dealing Game features Wayne Brady and Jonathan Mangum (both as different characters in each appearance), but instead of a date, each represents a curtain and tries to convince the contestant to pick his curtain. Model Tiffany Coyne plays the role of the "hostess".

The Dating Game has been cited as a successor to future "reality TV juggernaut" Love is Blind in which contestants similarly choose among suitors sight unseen.[21][22][23]

Licensed merchandise[edit]

Hasbro released three home games based on the original 1965 version of The Dating Game from 1967 to 1968,[24] while Pressman Toy Corporation released a home game based on the late 1980s version in 1987.[25]

In 1968, a 33⅓ rpm party record called The Dating Game Party Pak, narrated by Jim Lange, was released; it included postcard invitations, name tags and scorecards for six people to play.[26]

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 with an animated Jim Lange was released by IGT in 2004 in both nickel[27] and quarter[28] versions.[29][30]

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,[31] under license from Sony Pictures Entertainment.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ White, Peter (February 18, 2021). "Zooey Deschanel & Michael Bolton To Host Celebrity Reboot Of 'The Dating Game' At ABC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  2. ^ White, Peter (April 7, 2021). "'The Chase' & 'The Hustler' Renewed At ABC As Network Unveils Summer Unscripted Schedule With Shows Including 'Bachelor In Paradise'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  3. ^ Michael Schneider (April 1, 2022). "Alec Baldwin's Match Game Canceled at ABC, Along With Card Sharks and More as Network Firms Up Summer Plans (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 4, 2006. Retrieved July 2, 2005.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Columbia Law
  5. ^ "'100 victims' of serial killer Rodney Alcala". Times Mirror. August 11, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  6. ^ "Serial Killer Rodney Alcalas". National Public Radio Blogs.
  7. ^ Rudegeair, Peter (January 7, 2013). "'Dating Game' killer sentenced for 1970s murders". Reuters Archive. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  8. ^ Episode of The Dating Game uploaded by Sam Growl
  9. ^ YouTube video recorded from WSNS-TV, and uploaded by The Museum of Classic Chicago Television
  10. ^ YouTube clip uploaded by YouTube user CherieO
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Bishop, Chris (March 18, 2010). "Regents Archives". Garage Hangover. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Cooper, Kim; Smay, David (2005). Lost in the Grooves: Scram's Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed. Routledge. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  14. ^ Barris, Chuck (1974). "Themes From TV Game Shows". SAR-1001. Friends Records. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  15. ^ "AMARCORD, Che Fine Hanno Fatto...I PROTAGONISTI DE".
  16. ^ "Facebook".
  17. ^ Adams, C. (February 7, 2003). "Was Chuck Barris a Hit Man for the CIA?". The Straight Dope archive. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  18. ^ Stein, Joel (January 13, 2003). "Lying to Tell the Truth". Time. Archived from the original on July 7, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  19. ^ Schwartz, David, Steve Ryan and Fred Wostbrock. "The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows, 3rd edition". New York: Checkmark Books, 1999, p. 54.
  20. ^ Moss, Caroline (November 24, 2013). "In 1983, Steve Jobs Hosted Apple's Version Of 'The Dating Game' And Bill Gates Was A Contestant". Business Insider. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  21. ^ Jacobs, Julia; Stevens, Matt (April 15, 2023). "Inside the Pods With 'Love Is Blind,' the Reality TV Juggernaut". New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2024.
  22. ^ Perry, Whitney (March 4, 2022). "All the 'Love Is Blind' Couples Who Are Still Together…and the Ones Who Aren't". Glamour. Condé Nast. Retrieved March 25, 2024.
  23. ^ Patterson, Troy. "Love Is Blind". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 25, 2024.
  24. ^ "The Dating Game". BoardGameGeek.
  25. ^ "The All New Dating Game". BoardGameGeek.
  26. ^ "The Dating Game Home Game Home Page". Archived from the original on November 20, 2008.
  27. ^ "The Dating Game Video Slots (Nickel) Promotional Literature" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 26, 2004.
  28. ^ "The Dating Game Video Slots (Quarter) Promotional Literature" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 26, 2004.
  29. ^ "The Dating Game Video Slots". Archived from the original on May 5, 2005.
  30. ^ "'AND HE-E-RE THEY AR-R-RE': IGT Gets Licensing Rights To The Dating Game (TM) and The Newlywed Game (TM)".
  31. ^ "3G Studios Acquires Rights to Classic TV series to revive The Dating Game".
  32. ^ "'The Dating Game' goes interactive, virtual and social". USATODAY.COM.

External links[edit]