The Dating Game

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.

The Dating Game
Also known asThe New Dating Game
Created byChuck Barris
Presented byJim Lange
Elaine Joyce
Jeff MacGregor
Brad Sherwood
Chuck Woolery
Narrated byJohnny Jacobs
Bob Hilton
Charlie O'Donnell
Virginia Watson
John Cramer
Country of originUnited States
Running time30 minutes with commercials
Production company(s)Chuck Barris Productions (1965–1974; 1978–1980; 1986–1987)
Barris Productions (1986–1989)
Barris Industries (1986–1989) 1979–1981; Producer David M Greenfield
DistributorRhodes Productions
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 (current)
Original networkABC (1965–1973)
Syndicated (1973–1974; 1978–1980; 1986–1989; 1996–2000)
Original releaseFirst Run
December 20, 1965 – July 6, 1973
(ABC Daytime)
October 6, 1966 – January 17, 1970
(ABC primetime)
September 10, 1973 – September 1974
Second Run
September 4, 1978 – September 1980 (Syndication)
Third Run
September 15, 1986 – September 8, 1989
Fourth Run
September 9, 1996 
September 1999 (Syndication)

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 after he left The Home and Family Show 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== 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, 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 2003–2010), Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Alex Kozinski.[1] 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, Dusty Springfield, 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

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

Various episodes from the ABC daytime run have been aired on GSN in the past.

The remaining versions of the show, which were made for ABC prime-time 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, as well as some other cities. 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 as a special guest star include:

Theme music and cues

The show used many contemporary tunes, from Tijuana Brass's 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.[10] (unrelated to the 1959 band, The Regents, famous for their song "Barbara Ann"). Starting in 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 used several songs by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass as cues for the show, including:

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

  • "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)
  • "Close To You" (Karen Carpenter)
  • "Midnight Confessions" (The Grassroots)
  • "I Want To Be Where You Are" (Michael Jackson)
  • "I Want You Back" (Michael Jackson, during the prize description)
  • "Cheyenne" (Barry Williams)
  • "Goin' Out of My Head" (Little Anthony)
  • "What's It Gonna Be" (Dusty Springfield)

Other music cues used on the show include:

  • "Fantail" by Count Basie (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 (before the date is introduced to their prize)

In 1972, the show added a closing theme called "Little Rosie" to the daytime version of The Dating Game. This and some of the show's other cues were 1973 album Themes From TV Game Shows,[11] produced by Chuck Barris. The show continued to use the 1966 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 1980s reboot of the show used music composed by Milton DeLugg, while later editions featured a rerecording of the original theme by Steve Kaplan.

International versions

     Currently airing franchise
     An upcoming season
     Franchise no longer in production
CountryLocal nameHostNetworkAired
 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 1991–2005
 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 ? ? TV3 ?
 Estonia ? ? Kanal 2
 Finland Napakymppi Markus Similia (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)
 Latvia ? ? LTV ?
 Mexico Las Andanzas de Cupido ? TV Azteca ?
 Poland Randka w ciemno Jacek Kawalec (1992–1998)
Tomasz Kammel (1998–2005)
TVP1 1992–2005
 Slovenia Zmenkarije Srečko Meh
Karin Komljanec
Katarina Čas
Kanal A 1998–2001
 Spain Vivan los novios Andoni Ferreño 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


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;[12] and a CIA spokesman has categorically denied that Barris ever worked for them in any capacity.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15]

Licensed merchandise

Hasbro released three home games based on the original 1965 version from 1967 to 1968,[16] while Pressman Toy Corporation released a home game based on the late 80s version in 1987.[17]

In 1968, a 33⅓ 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.[18]

In 1980, Laverne and Shirley had an episode where Lenny and Squiggy were two of the bachelors on The Dating Game.

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[19] and quarter[20] versions.[21]

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,[22] under license from Sony Pictures Entertainment.[23]

A recurring parody on the current version of 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. The model Tiffany Coyne plays the role of the "hostess".

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 4, 2006. Retrieved July 2, 2005.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 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. Episode of The Dating Game uploaded by Sam Growl
  7. YouTube video recorded from WSNS-TV, and uploaded by The Museum of Classic Chicago Television
  8. YouTube clip uploaded by YouTube user CherieO
  10. Bishop, Chris (March 18, 2010). "Regents Archives". Garage Hangover. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  11. Barris, Chuck. "Themes From TV Game Shows". SAR-1001. Friends Records. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  12. Adams, C. (February 7, 2003): Was Chuck Barris a Hit Man for the CIA? The Straight Dope archive Retrieved November 22, 2011
  13. Stein, Joel. Time, "Lying to Tell the Truth", January 13, 2003. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
  14. Schwartz, David, Steve Ryan and Fred Wostbrock. "The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows, 3rd edition". New York: Checkmark Books, 1999, p. 54.
  15. 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.
  16. The Dating Game Board Game (Hasbro)
  17. The All New Dating Game Board Game (Pressman)
  18. The Dating Game Video Slots (Nickel) Promotional Literature
  19. The Dating Game Video Slots (Quarter) Promotional Literature
  20. The Dating Game Video Slots
    - 'AND HE-E-RE THEY AR-R-RE': IGT Gets Licensing Rights To The Dating Game (TM) and The Newlywed Game (TM)
  21. 3G Studios Acquires Rights to Classic TV series to revive The Dating Game
  22. 'The Dating Game' goes interactive, virtual and social
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