ABC is bringing back 'Match Game' -- with Alec Baldwin as host

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ABC Revives 'Match Game' with Host Alec Baldwin

Holy blank! ABC is mounting a revival of the star-studded, big money 1970s comedy panel show Match Game -- and 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin has signed on to host, Vulture has learned. The network and producer FremantleMedia North America will announce later today that they are teaming up for ten one-hour episodes of Match Game 2016, a new twist on the long-running staple, which will air Sundays at 10 p.m. as part of a three-hour gameshow block on ABC this summer. Dubbed ABC's "Sunday Fun & Games," the evening, launching June 26, will also include the return of last summer's Steve Harvey-hosted smash Celebrity Family Feud and a previously announced reincarnation of The$100,000 Pyramid.

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Like the original, ABC's Match Game will lean heavily on laughs: The show's format will feature civilian contestants trying to guess how a panel of six celebrities will answer comedically tinged fill-in-the-blank questions. (To wit: "Harry and Larry, the Siamese twins, just shaved their heads. Now, from their necks up, they look like a pair of blanks.") Baldwin, taking control of the skinny microphone long held by original host Gene Rayburn, will serve as the (usually) straight man to a collection of celebrity cut-ups. He'll also serve as an exec producer on the show, along with FremantleMedia North America's Jennifer Mullin. As part of his deal to host what Baldwin is calling a "limited series," the actor will donate his appearance fee to arts-related organizations via the Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation.

The 1970s Match Game was anchored by the Will & Grace-ish comedy couple Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers, whose back-and-forth banter was filled with double entendres and subtle references to Things You Couldn't Say on TV back in the day. Richard Dawson was also a regular presence on the show and ultimately became so popular, he was given his own series (Family Feud). There's no word yet on whom ABC and FremantleMedia are hoping to land for the new Match Game, though with Baldwin on board, it's not hard to imagine some of his celebrity friends taping a few episodes. (Please say yes, Tina Fey, Tituss Burgess, Tracy Morgan and/or Jack McBrayer.) The show will be taped in New York City.

In its heyday, Match Game was an incredibly popular game show staple. Its roots actually stretch to the 1960s, with an early NBC version and a relatively staid half-hour, with straightforward questions and answers. That edition has been surpassed in the minds of baby boomers and Gen Xers by the 1973 CBS revival, in which producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman decided to add a comedy angle to the mix and bring in more celebs. Various versions of the Rayburn-hosted Match Game ran on CBS and in syndication for a decade, including an ill-fated 1983 move back to NBC as part of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. After a seven-year hiatus, in 1990, ABC tried to revive the show in daytime; it lasted a year. A syndicated edition that launched in 1998 also flopped. The last time an original Match Game was seen by U.S audiences was in 2006, when the format was revived for a single episode of CBS's game-show anthology Gameshow Marathon, hosted by Ricki Lake. More recently, RuPaul's Drag Race has paid homage to the series with its one-per-season "Snatch Game" episodes.

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ABC is bringing back 'Match Game' -- with Alec Baldwin as host
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Hilaria Baldwin (L) and Actor Alec Baldwin attend the 7th Annual Bent On Learning Inspire! Gala at Capitale on March 10, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas Baldwin attend the Arthur Miller - One Night 100 Years Benefit at Lyceum Theatre on January 25, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 04: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend the New York Film Critics Circle Awards at TAO Downtown on January 4, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 15: Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria Baldwin are seen on December 15, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - JUNE 13: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend the 'All My Sons' opening night performance at Guild Hall on June 13, 2015 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: Hilaria Thomas Baldwin, Carmen Baldwin and Alec Baldwin visit 'Late Show With David Letterman' - May 20, 2015 at Ed Sullivan Theater on May 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: Actor Alec Baldwin (L) and Hilaria Baldwin attend the New York screening of 'Aloha' at the Sony Screening Room on May 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 02: Alec Baldwin (L) and Hilaria Baldwin attends the Roundabout Theatre Company's 2015 Spring Gala at the Grand Ballroom at The Waldorf=Astoria on March 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend the 6th Annual Bent On Learning Inspire! Gala at Capitale on March 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actor Alec Baldwin (L) and Hilaria Baldwin attend the 23rd Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party on February 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for EJAF)
Alec Baldwin (L) jokes as he and Hilaria Baldwin arrive to attend the Elton John AIDS Foundation's 13th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit on October 28, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 28: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend the Elton John AIDS Foundation's 13th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on October 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Actor Alec Baldwin and wife TV personality Hilaria Baldwin attend the American Ballet Theatre 2014 Opening Night Fall Gala at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on October 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 01: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas Baldwin attend 'Icon Awards 2014' at Chancery Consular Embassy of Italy on October 1, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas Baldwin attend the 14th Annual USTA Opening Night Gala at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 09: (L-R) Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas attend East Hampton Library's Authors Night 2014 on August 9, 2014 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images for Hamptons Magazine)
WATER MILL, NY - JULY 26: (L-R) Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Thomas and Carmen Baldwin attend QVC Presents Super Saturday LIVE! on July 26, 2014 in Water Mill City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Hilaria Thomas(L) and Alec Baldwin attend the 2014 Carnegie Hall Medal Of Excellence Gala Honoring Oscar De La Renta at The Plaza Hotel on April 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: (L-R) Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend the 19th Annual Artwalk NY at 82 Mercer on October 29, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 21: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white) Actor Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend the 'Seduced And Abandoned' Photocall during The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 21, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
US actor Alec Baldwin kisses his pregnant wife Hilaria Thomas on May 21, 2013 during a photocall for the film 'Seduced and Abandoned' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
US actor Alec Baldwin (R) and his wife Hilaria Thomas pose on May 20, 2013 as they arrive for the screening of the film 'Blood Ties' presented Out of Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Actor Alec Baldwin arrives with his wife Hilaria Baldwin for the 19th Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 27, 2013 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO/Joe Klamar (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
US actor Alec Baldwin (L) and his partner Hilaria Thomas pose as they arrive for the screening of 'Mud' presented in competition at the 65th Cannes film festival on May 26, 2012 in Cannes. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/GettyImages)
US actor Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas arrive for the screening of 'Killing them Softly' presented in competition at the 65th Cannes film festival on May 22, 2012 in Cannes. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/GettyImages)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 22: Actor Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas attend the 'Killing Them Softly' Premiere during 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 22, 2012 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Hilaria Thomas and Alec Baldwin attend the Ermenegildo Zegna NY Passion for Silk Event hosted by Gildo Zegna at Ermenegildo Zegna on May 2, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Ermenegildo Zegna)
US actor Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas pose on the red carpet as they arrive for the screening of 'Moonrise Kingdom' and the opening ceremony of the 65th Cannes film festival on May 16, 2012 in Cannes. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/GettyImages)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: (L-R) Hilaria Thomas and actor Alec Baldwin attend the 2011 US Open opening night ceremony at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Hilaria Thomas and Alec Baldwin attend the 65th Annual Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre on June 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
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