Game Shows: Before reality TV, it was all about game shows

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Before reality TV, there were game shows. Dapper dudes vying for the affection of a lucky bachelorette. Husbands and wives bickering over the other's favorite food. Crazed audience members competing for the chance to "make a deal" were just some of what viewers tuned in to watch every week on ABC. With the few game shows remaining today (broadcast both day and nighttime) relegated to other networks, and many of them on the Game Show Network, we're reminded of the ABC shows that brought the genre to fame in the '70s and '80s.

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The Dating Game

Before we took to the Internet to find dates, national television was the place to score your Saturday night steady. The premise ofThe Dating Game was simple: a blind question-and-answer session consisting of one bachelorette and three potential suitors. At the end of the questioning round, the contestant got to pick one suitor to take on an all-expenses-paid date. Occasionally men would ask the questions, or a nascent celebrity would appear as a bachelor or bachelorette, including Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Lindsay Wagner, Tom Selleck and Lee Majors.

Family Feud

Despite several cancelations, switches to other networks and a rotating roster of hosts, Family Feud is one of the most enduring game shows of all time. Since premiering on ABC daytime in 1976, the program has run a total of 30 non-consecutive seasons. It became the first game show to air 10 episodes per week (five on ABC and five in syndication), and was eventually broadcast on both CBS and NBC. Today the show is hosted by Steve Harvey and is ranked as the second-highest rated on daytime, just behindJudge Judy.

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Let's Make a Deal

Though originally on NBC, the late-'60s version of Let's Make a Deal on ABC was partly responsible for the show's international success. Hosted by the irreverent Monty Hall, the participatory program filled the studio with audience members dressed in crazy costumes meant to increase visibility and up their chances of getting picked as traders. These traders—either couples or individual players—were responsible for making deals with other players and the host.

The Newlywed Game

There's nothing like a nationally syndicated game show to truly test how well you know your partner. Every week, newly married couples were pit against one another to determine how well the spouses knew each other. Thankfully for audiences at home, many knew very little, which made for some of the best TV moments of all time. Rumor has it that many of the couples who appeared on the show wound up divorced, but we blame a lack of "making whoopee" for this supposed statistic.

The $10,000 Pyramid

Dick Clark is the host most closely associated with the various incarnations of the popular 1970s game show. The first version,The $10,000 Pyramid, consisted of two contestants, each of whom was paired with a celebrity, attempting to guess a series of words or phases based on descriptions given to them by their teammates. Like many other game shows, this one began on another network but was scooped up by ABC following a ratings decline. NOTE: There were also $25,000 and $100,000 Pyramid shows.

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