1 9 6 5 – 1 9 8 6 (USA)
A classic (and much-imitated) game show created by Chuck Barris, The Dating Game reflected the state of American relationships through the sexual revolution of the 1960s and early 1970s.
A single woman asked a series of mildly risqué questions to three bachelors (concealed from her behind a screen, but visible to the viewing audience), who attempted to impress her with funny, clever and romantic answers.
Based on their responses and voices, the young bachelorette chose which man she wanted to take on a date, paid for by the show.
The game was also played with the roles reversed: a bachelor asking questions to three single women, and sometimes with a guest celebrity in the bachelor/bachelorette chair.
In one such contest, Ronald Reagan‘s son Michael won out over Sal Mineo and UCLA football star Norman Dow), and occasionally celebrities, like Robert Vaughn or Sally Field, did the picking.
Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, and Suzanne Somers were all contestants on the show before they rose to fame.
One who auditioned as a contestant but failed to make the grade was TV screenwriter and critic Harlan Ellison, who wrote about his amusing experience in the Los Angeles Free Press.
The show was first shown in black & white but in 1966, a colour version ran in prime time. The daytime edition updated to colour concurrently, becoming the first regular ABC daytime show broadcast in colour.
Jim Lange was the original and best host of the show. After its daytime run ended, Lange hosted two syndicated versions of The Dating Game, one from 1973 to 1974 and another from 1978 to 1980. Reruns of shows with celebrities in them were syndicated in 1985, then a syndicated revival called The All New Dating Game ran from 1986 to 1989 with Elaine Joyce as host the first season and Jeff MacGregor succeeding her from 1987 to 1989.
The series reappeared in syndication in the fall of 1996 in conjunction with The Newlywed Game.