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Match Game (1996) a.k.a. MG2


Producer: All-American Television
Host: Charlene Tilton
Celebrities: "Downtown" Julie Brown, David Chokachi, Gil Gerard, Rondell Sheridan, Kathleen Kinmont
Taping Info: September 1996 at KTLA Studios
Made it to Air: This particular version, no. Other versions aired from 1962-69, 1973-82, 1990-91 and 1998-99.
Availability: This particular pilot is not available on the trading circuit.

The original lasted seven years. The most famous version was on for nine. Two other versions lasted a single year, but had some promise and were either saddled with a clunky format or a bad time slot. So, it sounds like we have a promising show that can be revived. What can possibly go wrong? Everything.

First, tap someone who has no hosting experience whatsoever, been off the public's radar for six years and is generally considered less than full in the brains department. Second, change the tried and true format of having contestant give answer followed by panel response by having the contestants write their answers, have the panel give their answers, and then show the contestant's card to figure out the score. Finally, take the celebrity wattage scale down to at least 3 watts by having has beens (Gil Gerard, "Downtown" Julie Brown) or never weres (Rondell Sheridan and David Chokachi).

The pilot had some resemblance to the eventual revival that came on the air in 1998. First contestants picked cutesy named categories rather than "A" and "B". The scoring system was one point per match in the first round and two points per match in the second round. Finally, there were only five celebrities instead of six, but in a departure from all other formats the celebrities were sitting at individual desks scattered on the set instead of the familiar two-tiered platform.

The bonus game was reconfigured and was never used on any on-air version. The first half featured the "Panel Poll", where each celebrity was told to pick an answer from a three possible answer multiple choice question about their personality. The contestant than picked one of the answers and received $100 per match. This happened twice. Finally, the usual "Audience Match" was played where the contestant tried to fill in a blank with suggestions from the celebrities. Their dollar amount was doubled from the "Panel Poll" if they matched the third most popular answer, trebled if they matched the second most popular answer and quintupled if they matched the most possible answer. There was no "Head-to-Head" match. Although it was theoretically possible to win $5,000, that was relying on a perfect 10-for-10 in the "Panel Poll", which would have been highly unlikely.

Oh, where to begin. Charlene Tilton was positively awful, one of the worst hosting jobs I have ever seen, and I've seen Digby Wolfe. The celebrities didn't look like they wanted to be there and almost wanted to seem to rebel against the atmosphere of forced fun. And the show was officially known as MG2, as this was some sort of sequel, even though it ignored the fact that the 70's version was already a sequel. If you think the 1998 version killed the franchise, this version would have eliminated any of the remembrances of the prior shows.

This pilot has been viewed 5167 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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