Match Game revival ordered by The Comedy Network

Canada’s The Comedy Network has filled in the blanks with FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) for the rights to the English-language revival of the classic game show Match Game.

Set to shoot in Montreal this summer, 60 episodes of the half-hour series have been commissioned, to be produced in association with Montreal’s Zone3 and to premiere exclusively on Comedy this fall.

Today’s order of Match Game comes as The Comedy Network also announces a multi-year television series deal with Just For Laughs that will see a 13 hour all-new gala comedy series produced during this year’s Festival in July, as well as CTV’s announcement of pilot orders for new half-hour scripted comedies Satisfaction and Spun Out.

Match Game is based on FremantleMedia’s international format, with local versions having been shown across the UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico.

“Although technically a game show, Match Game always delivered the laughs, and we can’t wait to put a Canadian spin on this classic format,” said Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. “ZONE3 is behind the extremely successful French-language version of the series, and we’re delighted to be working with them to bring the latest English-language remake to comedy viewers.”

”We are delighted to be working with Bell Media to bring the new English-language MATCH GAME to The Comedy Network,” said Lisa Honig, SVP Programming Distribution North America, FME. “We’re confident that the combination of Canadian comedy talent, ZONE3’s creative approach to production and the enthusiasm for this classic format will result in a top hit for Comedy.”

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Comedy on the Canadian reboot of MATCH GAME,” said Zone3 president Michel Bissonnette. “It’s a classic game show that gives our country’s amazing comedians a new platform to strut their stuff.”

From “Mary liked to pour gravy on John’s blank,” to “Susie always needed to find a guy who could blank in five minutes,” MATCH GAME was both goofy and suggestive, becoming a fast favourite with viewers when it first broadcast on New Year’s Eve in 1962. Throughout its almost 30-year run, and through all of its various incarnations, the last of which aired in 1999, MATCH GAME helped make household names of comedic greats including Betty White, Bob Barker and Richard Dawson, among others.

In 1973, when MATCH GAME was revamped with more of a focus on risqué humour, ratings more than doubled in comparison with the past incarnations. MATCH GAME 73 became the most-watched program on daytime television. By summer 1974, it grew into an absolute phenomenon with high school students and housewives, scoring remarkable ratings among the 12-34 age demographic. The best ratings this version of MATCH GAME saw were in the 1975–76 season, when it drew a 12.5 million, rating with a 15% Share, higher numbers than that of some prime-time series.

Poised to do the same for some of Canada’s funniest people, the all-new MATCH GAME will provide a platform for Canadian comedic talent. Casting is currently underway for a rotating panel of six with three semi-permanent positions as well as a host – and it’s anyone’s guess if the two competitors on each show will be able to “match” their answers to phrases like “Ed was always freezing his blank off,” with those of the comedians.

Through three rounds of play, only one competitor is left to fill in the blanks against three of their chosen comedians, with each match increasing their winnings. In the final round, competitors spin the Star Wheel and go up against the comedian the wheel lands on. If their answers match, the competitor is playing for 10 times the amount of money they won in the previous rounds.

MATCH GAME is produced by Zone3 in association with Bell Media. Executive producers are Isabelle Bourduas and Michael Kronish. Martha Kehoe is producing. Sarah Fowlie is Director, Independent Production, Comedy. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. Catherine McLeod is Vice-President, Specialty Channels, Bell Media. Phil King is President, CTV Programming and Sports.

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