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Match Game (2008)

Producer: : Fremantle
Host: : Andy Daly
Celebrities: Bob Einstein as Super Dave Osborne, Sarah Silverman, Scott Thompson, Rashida Jones, Norm McDonald, Niecy Nash
Taping Info: July 22, 2008 at CBS Studio 33 for TBS
Made it to Air: No

In 2008, TBS was looking to have a slate of original late-night programming to compete with the likes of Comedy Central and Adult Swim. One of the ways that they thought may work was reviving Match Game. Buoyed a little bit by the one-off episode on Game Show Marathon and the live Match Game stage show hosted by Jimmy Pardo, the time may have been right. Andy Daly, a member of Pardo's improv troupe and a poor man's John Hodgman, is your host.

Right of the bat, introductions via the spinning orange lights. The lights come up on the stage, and it looks pretty much like a carbon copy of the first 70s set minus the ashtrays. The contestants and celebrities each have microphones rather than lavs. Every effort is used to make this a show that had never changed.

However, there are definitely content updates. The first question mentions a pimp, and Niecy Nash asking will an answer be bleeped if necessary. Norm MacDonald, one of the most hit-or-miss comedians ever -- either brilliant or God awful, depending on the moment -- was leaning towards the latter. Super Dave really should have just come as himself rather than a character. Sarah Silverman and Scott Thompson were pretty good and understood the vibe of the game. There seemed to be a conscious attempt to make them Brett and Charles (they were in seats 2 and 3), but the only thing they really accomplished was Super Dave channeling Bill Daly with nonsensical answers and no matches.

Main play was identical to the 70s version -- two chances to match a celebrity by choosing either A or B. The female player wins 5-1 and the losing player is spun off the stage while the Super Match board is revealed with the standard five slots.

Hold it. Five slots? Well, the game does deviate a little, and here's the deviation. Andy Daly explains that you will hear five statements with a blank (e.g.: "Hilary Clinton is a ______"). The contestant's job is to fill the blank with the most popular answer. And – sacrelige of sacrelige – this is against a clock! Match Game is supposed to be like baseball, the long time National Pasttime that seems dated and doesn't use a clock.

After the clock stops, the contestant is allowed to change two of them with the help of the celebrities (they only call on one, but helping is encouraged). For each correct guess of the popular answer, $1,000 is awarded. The Final Match is played just like the regular show, except this time for double money rather than the 10 multiplier. They even managed to be dirty here (_ & M).

Match Game is a fine show, but it is a product of its time. Double entendres no longer punch the comedy value they used to. So, if you want to create the magic, you need more than cosmetics. Andy Daly was affable but not strong as a host. Gene Rayburn knew how to keep the lunatics in check. TBS saw problems too, as they went with George Lopez instead. That has to say something.

This pilot has been viewed 9517 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Aug 16, 2010 23:15 ET
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