En español | Flip through network TV these days, and you might be reminded of the adage, “Everything old is new again.” That's because classic game shows — from To Tell the Truth to Match Game — are getting big-budget revivals that pair kitschy retro touches with modern sensibilities and celebrity hosts, from Alec Baldwin (63) to Saturday Night Live's Leslie Jones (53). Ratings-wise, the strategy has been a smash for ABC, which airs the majority of these revived hits, but other networks are getting in on the action; Jimmy Fallon, for instance, is working on a Password reboot for NBC. Here, a watch list of these old-school-with-a-twist game shows, many of which are airing this summer. Trust us: They're the pop cultural equivalent of comfort food.
Hosts then: Allen Ludden (1959–62); Robert Earle (1962–70); Art Fleming (1979–82); Pat Sajak, 74 (1984); Dick Cavett, 84 (1987)
Host now: Peyton Manning (2021–)
What's new: Premiering this June, the newest revived game show to hit the airwaves has an especially long history. This quiz show started way back in World War II as a USO activity for soldiers before transitioning to radio and later television. A bit like college sports for brainiacs, the show — now called Capital One College Bowl — tapped a host who knows a thing or two about school spirit, University of Tennessee quarterback and later Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning. His older brother Cooper, who had to quit playing football after he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, serves as an endlessly charming sideline reporter.
The Celebrity Dating Game
Hosts then: Jim Lange (1973–78); Elaine Joyce, 75 (1986); Jeff MacGregor, 64 (1987–88); Brad Sherwood, 56 (1996–97); Chuck Woolery, 80 (1998–99)
Hosts now: Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton, 68 (2021–)
What's new: In this twist on the proven formula, suitors vie for the affections of a mystery celebrity, such as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cohost Carson Kressley (51), ‘90s heartthrob Joey Lawrence, and comedian Margaret Cho (52). With her quirky vintage style and big Twiggy eyes, host Zooey Deschanel fits in perfectly on the groovy, flower-power-themed set, while her Grammy-winning cohost, Michael Bolton, provides parody songs with clues about the star's identity.
Name That Tune
Hosts then: Red Benson (1953–54), Bill Cullen (1954–55), George DeWitt (1955–59), Richard Hayes (1970–71), Dennis James (1974–75), Tom Kennedy (1974–81), Jim Lange (1984–85)
Hosts now: Jane Krakowski, 52, and Randy Jackson, 65 (2021–)
What's new: This musical guessing game has come a long way since 1952, when it debuted on the radio. Broadway and 30 Rock star Jane Krakowski hosts the new version, which takes an if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it approach to the general game play. You'll still, of course, hear people saying the famous line, “I can name that tune in [fill in the blank number] notes,” but there are fun new twists: Remix'd, for instance, recasts popular songs in different genres. As Krakowski describes it, “If you ever wondered what it would sound like if Beyoncé went bluegrass, this is the game for you.” Randy Jackson of American Idol fame makes for a game bandleader — though, if the players are skillful enough, you won't hear many notes out of him.
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Hosts then: Bill Malone (1965–67); David Ruprecht, 72 (1990–95, 2000–03)
Host now: Leslie Jones, 53 (2020–)
What's new: In this grocery-store-set show, contestants answer food-themed trivia questions — such as trying to figure out which food mascot is being described in a dating app profile — to add time to their clock for the big “sweep” at the end of the round. The goal? Rush around the store with a shopping cart snatching up expensive items in order to bag the priciest basket. Everything in this iteration is bigger and brighter and louder, from the theme song (Salt-N-Pepa's “Push It") to the boisterous SNL alum host, Leslie Jones. Best of all, the winners have the chance to take home a very 21st-century grand prize of $100,000.
Press Your Luck
Hosts then: Peter Tomarken (1983–86); Todd Newton, 51 (2002–03)
Host now: Elizabeth Banks (2019–)
What's new: This ‘80s daytime classic is best remembered for the Whammy, an animated red creature whose sole purpose is to mess with the contestants and steal their money when they land on his spot on the game board. Actress and director Elizabeth Banks, whom you might recognize from The Hunger Games and Pitch Perfect film series, brings an earnestly enthusiastic energy to the proceedings; she clearly loves giving away prizes! In a surprisingly emotional new twist, the bonus round now contains personalized prizes designed specifically for the contestant, such as three years of baby supplies for a new dad or a diamond engagement ring. Tears are often shed.
Hosts then: Jim Perry (1978–81); Bob Eubanks, 83 (1986–89); Bill Rafferty (1986–87); Pat Bullard (2001)
Host now: Joel McHale (2019–)
What's new: There's always been something extra blood-pressure-raising about this game show, in which contestants have to guess if the next oversize playing card will be higher or lower than the one preceding it. Adding fuel to the fire, the audience reliably cheers and hollers and oohs and aahs as if they're at a high-stakes craps table in Las Vegas. Host Joel McHale, whom you might recognize as the star of the NBC sitcom Community or as the host of E!'s The Soup, brings to the table a sardonic wit that calls to mind old-school game show hosts like Richard Dawson.
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To Tell the Truth
Hosts then: Bud Collyer (1956–68); Garry Moore (1969–77); Joe Garagiola (1977–78); Robin Ward, 77 (1980–81); Gordon Elliott, 64 (1990); Lynn Swann, 69 (1990–91); Alex Trebek (1991); John O'Hurley (2000–02)
Host now: Anthony Anderson, 50 (2016–)
What's new: Anthony Anderson, the father from the Emmy-winning sitcom Black-ish, does double-duty as the host of this laugh-out-loud panel show, in which celebrities grill a trio of contestants to see which one is telling the truth about an outlandish claim. Celebrity panelists have included the likes of Betty White (99), Mike Tyson (54) and RuPaul (60), but the show's secret weapon is Anderson's mother, Doris Hancox, 66 (aka Mama Doris), who delivers sarcastic commentary from the sidelines and crowns the night's biggest loser.
Hosts then: Gene Rayburn (1962–69, 1973–81, 1983–84); Ross Shafer, 66 (1990–91); Michael Burger, 64 (1998–99)
Host now: Alec Baldwin, 63 (2016–)
What's new: Perhaps more so than any of the other revivals, this comedy panel show feels like a time capsule, from the retro skinny microphone host Alec Baldwin carries (this one's wireless!) to the kitschy set, which even includes shag carpeting. Providing the salty double entendres that have made the show a hit for decades are a rotating cast of panelists, such as Caroline Rhea (57), Mario Cantone (61), Jason Alexander (61) and Rosie O'Donnell (59), who is so strong at the game that Baldwin called her “the Shakespeare of game shows.”
Watch it: Match Game, on Hulu
The $100,000 Pyramid
Hosts then: Dick Clark (1973–80); Bill Cullen (1974–79); John Davidson, 79 (1991); Donny Osmond (2002–04); Mike Richards, 45 (2012)
Host now: Michael Strahan (2016–)
What's new: The Pyramid franchise is the game-show gift that keeps on giving: Combined, its various iterations — from $10,000 to $25,000 to $50,000 to $100,000 — have racked up nine Daytime Emmys for outstanding game show, second only to Jeopardy!'s 13. NFL legend and morning show host Michael Strahan is as affable an emcee as you'd expect, and standout celebrity clue-givers have included Sherri Shepherd (54) and Kathy Najimy (64), who won the game as a non-celebrity back in 1985 and made enough money to pay her rent for three years.
Nicholas DeRenzo is a contributing writer who covers entertainment and travel. Previously he was executive editor of United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Sunset and New York magazine.