The 60 Greatest Game Shows of All Time
Alex Trebek | Photo Credits: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
Long before Jeff Probst snuffed out his first torch on Survivor, the viewing tribe had spoken: We love watching the game shows people play. This is the original reality TV — average Joes and Janes trying to outwit, outplay and outlast their competitors. So, excluding the bug-eating mutations of the post-Richard Hatch era, here are the top 60 shows that truly got game.
1. Jeopardy! Answer: From its original Art Fleming-hosted incarnation to the long-running Alex Trebek-emceed version, this quiz show has never insulted its audience's intelligence. Question: What is Jeopardy!? (You don't need to be Ken Jennings to know that one.)
2. Wheel of Fortune A Merv Griffin creation (as was Jeopardy!), this p-zz-e sh-w didn't really start spinning until the early '80s, when host Pat Sajak and letter- (and head-) turner Vanna White took over the vowel-selling business from Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford.
3. Family Feud Survey says: It's a classic, no matter who's chatting up the warring clans. From serial kisser Richard Dawson to wisecracker Steve Harvey (with Louie Anderson, John O'Hurley, Richard Karn and Ray Combs in between), Family guys are always welcome in our homes.
4. Match Game Whenever Gene Rayburn (and his patented extralong, superslim microphone) engaged in shamelessly hilarious double entendres about Dumb Dora or Donald with smart-ass panelists like Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly, we laughed our blanks off.
5. The Price Is Right Come on down! Play Plinko, spin the wheel and go to the Showcase Showdown. And don't forget to spay and neuter your pets! (With all due respect to Drew Carey, Bob Barker will always be Mr. Right.)
6. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire They said the game show was dead — and then came Regis Philbin. The primetime sensation (based on a U.K. format) cashed out after a few seasons, but the daytime iteration has thrived, thanks to fill-ins Meredith Vieira and (soon) Cedric the Entertainer. And, yes, that's our final answer.
7. The Hollywood Squares Let's X out the memory of the ill-conceived '90s revival with Whoopi Goldberg. We prefer the swinging '60s and '70s version, featuring Peter Marshall, Rose Marie, Charley Weaver and the unambiguously fey Paul Lynde in the center seat. In those days, it was hip to be Squares.
8. Password The password is...romance. Host Allen Ludden met his future wife, Betty White, on the set of this clue-driven contest. After Ludden's untimely 1981 death, he was succeeded by Tom Kennedy (Password Plus), Bert Convy (Super Password) and Philbin (Million Dollar Password).
9. What's My Line? It was a simple concept: Celebrities question a stranger and try to guess his or her job. But with wits like Bennett Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen and Arlene Francis on the panel, Line lived long (25 seasons).
10. The Newlywed Game Chuck Barris (the twisted genius behind The Dating Game and The Gong Show) brought his touch of crass to this piece of kitsch. And that "Where's the weirdest place you've ever gotten the urge to make whoopee?" story isn't a myth!
The Other 50 (Alphabetically)
Almost Anything Goes
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Battle of the Network Stars
Beat the Clock
The Dating Game
Deal or No Deal