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The Dating Game

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Created by
First episode date
9 September 1996

Program creator

Also known as
The New Dating Game

Country of origin
United States

Final episode date
9 June 2000

The Dating Game The Dating Game Developing Reporter Relationships 11markAmplify

Narrated by
Johnny Jacobs (1965-1980)Bob Hilton (1986-1987)Charlie O'Donnell (1987-1989)Virginia Watson (1996-1997)John Cramer (1997-1999)

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)

Theme song
The Dating Game Theme Song

The Newlywed Game, The Gong Show, Love Connection, Match Game, Hollywood Squares

The dating game october 2 1967 with donna harris

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.


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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.

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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".

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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.

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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, 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. Serial killer Rodney Alcala's episodes were shown 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.

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

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 ABC prime-time and for syndication, are assumed to exist in their entirety.

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. (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, 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.


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

    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.

    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.

    Licensed Merchandise

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

    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.

    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 and quarter versions.

    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, under license from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

    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".


    The Dating Game Wikipedia

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