ABC had a successful run this past summer by bringing back new versions of classic game shows, including Celebrity Family Feud, The $100,000 Pyramid, To Tell the Truth and Match Game. Each show has been picked up for a second season following its strong showing in the ratings. ABC is now pressing its luck and hoping for no whammies in the revamped game show format with today’s announcement that it will also be bringing back a new version of the classic The Gong Show.
For those of you who may only know of The Gong Show through references to it on The Simpsons or through the movie Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, the series ran in the 1970s and ’80s, and was hosted by Chuck Barris. Contestants on the show performed often outrageous and dumb acts (some of these folks, like The Unknown Comic, broke out into mini-stardom), and either won a generally worthless prize, or were “gonged” by the panel of judges. The series was pretty popular at the time, enough to even inspire 1980’s awful The Gong Show Movie.
According to ABC’s release about the new Gong Show, this 10-episode incarnation, which comes from Will Arnett’s production company, will similarly feature “un-traditionally talented, unique performers”; in this case, ones “plucked from the Internet and put on a primetime stage.” A revolving panel of Hollywood celebrities will praise, critique and, of course, gong if necessary, the contestants.
“ABC has tapped into the nostalgia and excitement of primetime game shows,” said Rob Mills, senior vice president, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming. “We are thrilled to add The Gong Show to ABC’s schedule spearheaded by the incomparable Will Arnett.”
“The comedy culture we are living in has finally caught up to The Gong Show, so the timing is perfect,” said Holly Jacobs, executive vice president, Reality and Syndication Programming for Sony Pictures Television. “We’ve found just the right partners to bring back this iconic original.”
The release also says that the show will be taped in front of a live audience (imagine those words being spoken in the voice of a ’70s TV announcer for the full retro effect).