The Dating Game w/ Brad Sherwood
you thought Brad's announcing was bad, try this on for size.
Syndication & GSN: (September
1996 - September 1997)
The landscape in Syndication in
the mid 90s was one filled with Trashy Talk shows like Jenny Jones,
Ricki Lake, Richard Bey, Sally Jesse Raphael and Jerry Springer.
It was also filled with opinionated shows like Dennis Prager & El Rushbo
himself, Rush Limbaugh. It was as if daytime TV was completely
devoid of game shows. However, in 1996 Columbia-Tristar decided to
revive two classic shows in The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game.
The Newlywed Game was hosted by former SNL Alum Gary Kroeger and
featured a way different format than what the original shows had.
I'm still torn on how to go about that one because while the format was
cohesive enough, the set nice, and the host was ok, it just wasn't The
Newlywed Game we were accustomed to. But its sister show, The
Dating Game also underwent quite a few changes as well.
Unfortunately, the was made worse.
To start, we got Whose Line
regular Brad Sherwood as host. This would be his first hosting
experience, and unfortunately unlike his Whose Line performance, his
hosting here leaves much to be desired. He comes off as an
obnoxious prat instead of a good conduit and mediator for the show
itself. He would crack wise at various points instead of being
more interested about the dater and potential mates. In short,
think of his announcing on The Price Is Right, which is horrendous by
itself, but actually on screen. So yeah, be prepared to fakeness
The set was a complete departure
from any form of Dating Game. Sure there was the wall, that
separated the Dater and the 3 potential dates, but instead of having the
smallish set that all the other versions had, this version had quite a
large set, and to be honest, it's kind of a waste. The previous
versions embraced simplicity. This set, albeit nice, is quite a
radical departure from what the show needs.
The rest of the show is just one
big step downward. Instead of one woman or man asking 3 mysterious
bachelors a bunch of questions, you know, like how the Dating Game
normally works. We start by meeting the bachelorette and then we
meet the 3 bachelors....BY NAME! This completely unveils the
mystery that would be known with the old show. Mainly because in
the old days the three bachelors would be introduced with the
bachelorette backstage in a sound proof room. Now it's just, here
they are, you know the names, let's do something.
What did they do? Well,
like I said, Instead of the bachelorette asking random questions, the
new producers thought that it would be brilliant to rip off Studs by
having the picker see 2 "punny" statements pertaining to one of the 3
bachelors. They would pick one and then the person that fit that
statement, would explain why that is true. They would go about
doing this for around 5 or so statements, because almost after every
one, Brad would have to make some lame joke or pun himself. Then
afterwards, I guess to appease the old school fans of the show, the
bachelorette would ask one question to all 3 bachelors and they would
give their answer in old school Dating Game Form.
What is probably the biggest
sin, at least in Dating Game lore, is they instituted a completely
different format for certain weeks. This one involved more about looks and human
nature rather than knowing more about the others. the bachelorette
would observe the three bachelors on what they were doing, but the
contestants would be wearing noise-cancelling headphones so they didn't
know what the bachelorette would know what she was saying about them.
Then after the game, the person would pick one based on looks and the
other on personality. Afterwards, they would pick from that two.
If they were one in the same though, the person would win $500.
Either way you slice it, it's
just not The Dating Game and many people knew that. After the
sound rejection of the horrid formats, bad hosting by Brad Sherwood, the
complete devoidness of anything good about the show, and oddly enough
boredom, the ratings were corpsing. Wait a tick, THE DATING GAME
Thus, The Dating Game was Fixed.
Starters, the set went back to a
classic Dating Game motif. Not only that, a remade theme of the
classic theme was in place. Not only did it sound good, it felt
good. Now, with Jim Lange enjoying retirement, we needed someone
to help fill that classic void. With Brad Sherwood safely in
England doing something he's good at: Whose Line is it Anyway?, a host
with experience was needed to take charge and control everything.
I guess if Lange was retired,
Chuck Woolery would be the next best thing. With 10 years of Love
Connection, he had the power and know-how to do this show. Not
only that, The old format was reinstated. It was a return to the
classic game we all knew and love. 3 bachelors or bachelorettes,
one picker, firing off random questions to ask, and all was right as
rain for two more seasons of new episodes, and one more in reruns in
nationwide syndication before leaving the airwaves in 2000 to make room
for tons more dating shows that based themselves off of Blind Date or
But it just goes to show you
that classic formats can work in the modern world. And it's also a
prime lesson to every producer of shows: Change for the Sake of change
doesn't work at all.
I'm looking at you Michael