NBC also occasionally used special episodes of the series as a gap-filling program in prime time if one of its movies had an irregular time slot.
Although the series still did well in the ratings (despite the popularity of ABC's horror-themed soap opera Dark Shadows), it was cancelled in 1969 along with other games in a major daytime programming overhaul, being replaced by Letters to Laugh-In which, although a spin-off of the popular prime time series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, ended in just three months, on December 26.
The series was a production of Mark Goodson/Bill Todman Productions, along with its successor companies, and has been franchised around the world, often under the name Blankety Blanks. Gene Rayburn was host and Johnny Olson served as announcer; for the series premiere, Arlene Francis and Skitch Henderson were the two celebrity panelists.
In 2013, TV Guide ranked the 1973–79 CBS version of Match Game as No. The show was taped in Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, NBC's largest New York studio, which since 1975 has housed Saturday Night Live, among other shows.
Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (1962–82) Sojourn Productions, Inc. (1973–81) The Match Game Company (1981–82) Mark Goodson Productions (1983–99) Orion Television (1983–84) The MG Company (1990–91) MG Productions, Inc.
(1998–99) Triple Threat Productions (2016–) Entertain the Brutes (2016–) Match Game is an American television panel game show that premiered on NBC in 1962 and was revived several times over the course of the next few decades.
With the knowledge that the show couldn't be cancelled again, Goodson gave the go-ahead for the more risque-sounding questions – a decision that caused a significant boost in ratings and an "un-cancellation" by NBC.
The Match Game consistently won its time slot from 1963 to 1966 and again from April 1967 to July 1968, with its ratings allowing it to finish third among all network daytime games for the 1963––68 seasons (by the latter season, NBC was the dominant channel in the game show genre; ABC was still an also-ran and CBS had mostly dropped out of the genre).
The game play for this version had two solo contestants attempting to match the answers given by a six-celebrity panel. Due to CBS News coverage of the Watergate hearings, the network delayed the premiere one week from its slated date of June 25 to July 2.
The first week's panelists were Dawson, Michael Landon, Vicki Lawrence, Jack Klugman, Jo Ann Pflug, and Anita Gillette.
On March 27, 1967, the show added a "telephone match" game, in which a home viewer and a studio audience member attempted to match a simple fill-in-the-blank question, similar to the 1970s' "head-to-head match".
A successful match won a jackpot, which started at 0 and increased by 0 per day until won.
Concurrently with the weekday run, from 1975 to 1981, a once-a-week fringe time version, Match Game PM, was also offered in syndication for airing just before prime time hours.