The Newlywed Game

The Newlywed Game
The Newlywed Game
The Newlywed Game logo (2009-present).jpg
Title logo for entire Wilson run
& 1st season of Shepherd run
Also known as The New Newlywed Game (1985-1988)
Format Game Show
Created by Nick Nicholson
E. Roger Muir
Directed by Bill Carruthers (1966-1974)
John Dorsey (aka "The Fox"; 1966-1974, 1977-1980, 1985-1988)
Jeff Goldstein (1988-1989)
Paul Casey (1996-1999)
Rob Fiedler (1997-1998)
Presented by Bob Eubanks (1966–1974, 1977–1980, 1985–1988, 1997–1999, 2009-2010 special episodes)
Jim Lange (1984)
Paul Rodriguez (1988–1989)
Gary Kroeger (1996–1997)
Carnie Wilson (2009–2010)
Sherri Shepherd (2010–present)
Narrated by Scott Beach (1966)
Johnny Jacobs (1966-1980)
Tony McClay (1980)
Rod Roddy (1984)
Bob Hilton (1985-1987)
Charlie O'Donnell (1988-1989)
Ellen K. (1996-1997)
John Cramer (1997-1999)
Brad Aldous (2009)
Randy West (2009-2010)
Gary Kroeger (2010)
Theme music composer Chuck Barris (1966-1974, 1977-1980, 1985-1988, 1997-1999)
Composer(s) Lynn Barris (music coordinator 1966-1974)
Frank Jaffe
(music coordinator 1966-1974)
Lee Ringuette (music coordinator 1977-1980, 1984-1988)
Milton DeLugg (music director 1984-1988)
Jim Latham (1996-1997)
Steve Kaplan (1997-1998)
Barry Coffing (1998-1999)
John Blaylock (1998-1999)
Country of origin United States
Executive producer(s) Chuck Barris (1966-1974, 1977-1980, 1985-1987)
Jeff Wald (1987-1989)
Michael Canter (1996-1997)
Stephen Brown (1997-1999)
Michael Davies (2009-present)
Jennifer Kelly (2009)
Vincent Rubino (2010)
Producer(s) Bill Carruthers (1966-1974)
Walt Case (1966-1974, 1984-1988, supervising producer 1997-1998)
Mike Metzger (1977-1980)
Scott Sternberg (1988-1989)
Bruce Starin (1988-1989)
April Benimowitz (supervising producer 1996-1997)
Rikk Greengrass (supervising producer 1996-1997)
Linda Lea (coordinating producer 1997-1999)
Jennifer Simons (2009-present)
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Chuck Barris Productions (1966-1974, 1977-1980, 1984-1986)
Barris Productions (1986-1989)
Barris Industries (1986-1989)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996-1999)
Embassy Row (2009-present)
GSN (2009-present)
Sony Pictures Television (2009-present)
Distributor Firestone Program Services (1977-1979)
Worldvision Enterprises (1977-1980)
Bel-Air Program Sales (1985-1986)
Barris Program Sales (1986-1989)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996-2000)
Sony Pictures Television (2002-present)
Original channel ABC (1966-1974, 1984)
Syndicated (1977-1980, 1985-1989, 1996-1999)
GSN (2009-present)
Original run July 11, 1966 (1966-07-11) – Present

The Newlywed Game is an American television game show that pits newly married couples against each other in a series of revealing question rounds to determine how well the spouses know (or don't know) each other. The program, originally created by Nick Nicholson and E. Roger Muir[1] (credited on-screen as Roger E. Muir) and produced by Chuck Barris, has appeared in many different versions since its 1966 debut. The show became famous for some of the arguments that couples had over incorrect answers and even led to some divorces.[2]

Many of The Newlywed Game's questions dealt with "making whoopee", the euphemism that producers used for sexual intercourse to circumvent network censorship. However, it became such a catchphrase of the show that Bob Eubanks continued to use the word throughout the show's many runs, even in the 1980s and 1990s episodes and beyond, when he could easily have said "make love" or "have sex" without censorship.


Broadcast history

The Newlywed Game debuted on the ABC television network on July 11, 1966. It was the last U.S. commercial network series to premiere in black and white, although it converted to color, as did virtually all other network series, that coming September. On the day it debuted, CBS pre-empted Password to cover a news conference held by Robert McNamara. ABC opted not to air the press conference, and as a result The Newlywed Game was able to get a slight head start in the head-to-head ratings battle with the long-running Password. Over the next few months more and more viewers were tuning into The Newlywed Game and it became a hit, while Password's ratings began to fall and eventually led to the series' cancellation fourteen months later. On December 20, 1974, The Newlywed Game concluded its run as the second-longest running game show on ABC (only Family Feud lasted longer). A special week-long series for Valentine's Day aired on ABC in February 1984 and was the last time the show aired on a broadcast network; the set for the week of specials would later be used for Bob Eubanks's return to The New Newlywed Game in syndication a year later.

Up until the Game Show Network (GSN) series' 2009 premiere, all subsequent editions of The Newlywed Game were seen in syndication. The first production aired from 1977 until 1980. The second, which was referred to as The New Newlywed Game for the first three and a half years of its run, aired from 1985 until 1989. The last and most recent syndicated Newlywed Game aired new episodes from 1996 until 1999, continued in reruns for an additional season, and was sold to stations as part of an hour-long block with a revival of The Dating Game

Hosts and announcers

Bob Eubanks is the host that is most often associated with The Newlywed Game. Eubanks was at the time the show signed on in 1966, the youngest emcee to host a game show at age 28. Eubanks hosted the ABC and first syndicated series, then returned to host The New Newlywed Game from September 1985 until December 1988. Jim Lange hosted the aforementioned week of specials in 1984 and comedian Paul Rodriguez took over for Eubanks on the 1980s series, which was simply retitled The Newlywed Game Starring Paul Rodriguez upon his takeover, and remained with the show until its cancellation in September 1989.

Gary Kroeger hosted the first season of the revival of The Newlywed Game in 1996, which was conducted under a much different format than the previous series. After a year of struggling ratings Eubanks returned to host and the format was changed back to the classic Newlywed Game format. He has also hosted several special episodes of the current Newlywed Game, which has made Eubanks the only host to preside over an episode of the same series in six different decades.[3]

The current GSN edition was hosted by Carnie Wilson from its debut on April 6, 2009 until the end of its third season in late 2010 when Wilson elected not to return. As noted above, Eubanks hosted two special episodes of this version - one featured Wilson and her husband as well as her sister Wendy, her mother Marilyn, and their husbands; the second featured game show hosts Monty Hall, Peter Marshall, and Wink Martindale and their wives. On August 18, 2010, it was announced that The View co-host Sherri Shepherd would take over as host for the fourth season of the show which premiered November 1, 2010. The fifth season premiered on April 18, 2011 with a new current logo and with the host of Sherri Shepherd also as a narrator.[4]

Scott Beach, who was Barris' first choice for host, was the announcer in the very early episodes of The Newlywed Game. After that Barris staff announcer Johnny Jacobs took over and remained announcer for the series until the first syndicated version was canceled in 1980. Tony McClay, who was a frequent Jacobs substitute, would take over from time to time on the syndicated Newlywed Game. Rod Roddy was the announcer for the ABC specials. When The New Newlywed Game premiered in 1985, Bob Hilton was its announcer. He was replaced by Charlie O'Donnell, who Barris had signed away from Barry & Enright Productions, in 1986. O'Donnell continued to announce through the end of the Paul Rodriguez-hosted season, then left Barris to return to his position at Wheel of Fortune.

Los Angeles radio DJ Ellen K provided the announcing for the first season of the 1996 revival, with John Cramer taking over upon Eubanks' return. For the first season of the 2009 revival Brad Aldous served as the announcer. Randy West took over for the next two seasons, and former host Gary Kroeger took over for West for the fourth season. As of the fifth season, host Shepherd doubles as announcer for the couple introductions and the voice-overs for the prize descriptions.

Rules of the game

For the first round, the wives were taken off the stage while the husbands were asked three questions. The wives were then brought back on stage and were asked for their answers for the same three questions. Once the wife gave her answer, the husband revealed the answer that he previously gave, which was written on a blue card. A match for that question was worth 5 points for the couple.

The roles were reversed in the second round, where the husbands were taken off the stage and the wives were asked four questions before the husbands were brought back on stage to give their answers. The first three questions in this round were worth 10 points each, and the final question was worth 25 points (Referred to by Bob Eubanks as a "25 point bonus question"). The maximum possible score for any couple was 70 points. The number of questions in the second round was reduced from three to two (excluding the final question) in 1987 and also in 1997.

Originally, in the first year of the first ABC version, the husbands went off-stage first while the wives had to predict what their husbands would say. The first four questions in this round were worth 5 points. Then the wives would go off-stage as the husbands would be asked four 10-point questions and a 35-point bonus question, which usually decided the game. The maximum possible score was 95 points.

The couple with the highest score at the end of the second round won a prize that was "chosen just for you" (in actuality, the couples had requested a certain prize and competed with other couples that had requested the same prize). By 1987, this practice was eliminated.

The grand prize was never a car or cash, but it could include just about anything else: appliances, furniture, home entertainment systems, a trailer or motorcycles, trips (complete with luggage and camera), etc. In the 1997 remake, the grand prize was always a trip (dubbed "a second honeymoon").

Prior to taping the show, each couple was asked to predict the total points they would earn. In the event of a tie, the tied couples would reveal a card showing this predicted score. The couple that had the closest guess without going over their actual total, won. If all the tied couples went over, the couple who had the closest guess would win. An exact guess awarded an additional prize to the winners.

For the first half of the 1988-1989 season, the scoring system was changed: correct answers paid off in cash ($25 to start with, three questions worth $25 in round one, two worth $50 in round two), and during the final question the couples could wager any part of their earnings up to that point. All couples kept their money (maximum of $400), but only the winners took home the grand prize.

This scoring format was dropped, and the old one reinstated, when Paul Rodriguez took over as host in December 1988, although the number of couples competing was then reduced to three.

1996-1997 version

When Gary Kroeger took over in Fall 1996 the show was overhauled with a new format. Like the 1988-1989 season of The New Newlywed Game, three couples competed in a series of rounds.

Round 1

Each spouse was shown a videotape of their mates who gave a statement mostly about their spouse. The tape was paused near the end which gave the spouse in control a chance predict how his/her mate completed the statement. Then the tape played again, and a correct answer earned 10 points. First the husbands' tapes were shown and the wives took a guess, and then it went the opposite direction.

Round 2

Host Kroeger asked the couples a multiple-choice question in which one half of the couples had given answers in advance, and the other must guess what they chose. Each match again earns 10 points. First the wives predicted what their husbands said, then the process was reversed.

Round 3

In this round before the show, either the wives or the husbands gave some very weird facts about themselves. Host Kroeger gave the facts to the other half of the couple, who were equipped with heart-shaped signs that say "That's My Wife/Man!" If they recognized that fact, all they had to do was to raise the sign and yell out "THAT'S MY WIFE/MAN!" If correct, they win 10 points for their team, but if wrong they lose 10 points for the team. Only the first person to raise the sign can win or lose. Seven facts were played.

Round 4

In this final round of the game, host Kroeger read a series of choices (ex: Candy or Potato Chips, Rocket Scientist or Space Cadet, Ketchup or Mustard, etc.) and the wives held cards with one of the choices on it. Then the husbands chose one of the two things that most applies to them. Each match earns points, they were seven questions and each question was worth 10 points more than the previous question with the last question worth even more. So 310 points were possible for any couple who answer all seven questions correctly in this round.

  • Question 1 - 10 points
  • Question 2 - 20 points
  • Question 3 - 30 points
  • Question 4 - 40 points
  • Question 5 - 50 points
  • Question 6 - 60 points
  • Question 7 - 100 points

The couple with the most points wins the game and wins a second honeymoon trip. If there was a tie, a tie-breaker question will be played until only one couple correctly answers the question and wins. If two couples answered correctly or incorrectly, this tie-breaker will be repeated with a new question. This also applies to all three couples who answer right or wrong, or two of the three couples in the tie-breaker who answered correctly.

This format was mostly disliked by fans of the original show, so for the second season of this version, it reverted to its original format and theme, with original host Bob Eubanks back at the helm.

2009-Current version

The first season of the current GSN version retained the classic format, but only used three couples (just like the 1988-1989 season) and the addition of a new endgame featuring a couple from a previous version, referred to as "Goldyweds".

In Round 1, three questions were asked of the wives, and the husbands try to match the wives' responses for 5 points apiece. The roles were reversed for Round 2, with the first two questions worth 10 points. The third and final question, worth 20 points, was called the " Dimension Question" and was based on one of the "29 dimensions" used by the site to match up couples. (In some episodes which had couples that first met on, no mention of eHarmony or a specific "dimension" was mentioned for this last question). The maximum possible score for any couple for the first season was 55 points. The couple with the highest score won a second honeymoon vacation.

The winners then played a Bonus Round against the Goldyweds, who were a couple that had appeared on a previous version of the show (usually, one of the Bob Eubanks-hosted versions). In this round, the wives were taken off-stage and asked 5 questions during the commercial break. The husbands would take positions in the front of the stage as their wives sit on chairs in the back. The questions were worth increasing values from 1-5 points (for a maximum possible score of 15 points for either couple). The couple with the most points won a bonus prize, usually a piece of Sony technology.

In the show's second season, several changes were made in the gameplay. The game was still played with only three couples, but the husbands were first to give responses to three questions for the wives to guess at 5 points each. (Some episodes featured "Maybelline Beauty Questions", quizzing the husbands on their wives' beauty routines; or "Ladies' Home Journal 'Can This Marriage Be Saved?' Questions", focusing on some of the tougher aspects of married life as based on the magazine's trademark column.) Then the wives would respond to FOUR questions; the first three worth 10 points each (on occasion, the third was still a " Dimension Question"), and the fourth being a two-response bonus question, with each part worth 15 points (couples would receive 15 points for getting one of the two responses right, or 30 points for both), making for a maximum score of 75 points per couple. As before, the highest-scoring couple won a second honeymoon trip, but no Goldywed Bonus Round was played (although the "Goldywed" concept lives on in the form of occasional special shows featuring couples that appeared on one of the earlier versions).

In the event of a tie during either the main game (in either season) or the endgame (in the first season), standard Newlywed Game "prediction" tiebreaker rules apply.

"In the ass"

The Newlywed Game was the subject of an urban legend for many years. The story, which had several variations, had Bob Eubanks asking a contestant "Where is the weirdest place where you have ever had the urge to make whoopee?" in one episode. The contestant supposedly responded "in the ass", implying anal intercourse. Eubanks denied that the incident occurred for many years.[5]

However, on a 2002 NBC special, The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments, Eubanks reluctantly presented a clip from a 1977 episode where he asked a wife named Olga where the weirdest place that she and her husband Hank had the urge to "make whoopee" was. After drawing a blank, and prodded by Eubanks to give an answer, the wife responded "In the ass?" with "ass" bleeped out. [6] As everyone in the studio laughed uproariously, Eubanks clarified the question, asking for the weirdest location.

Hank's answer was "In the car", one that had drawn laughter and applause during the husbands-only segment with Eubanks quipping "I'm going to take the side streets hereafter."

The clip was later requested by fans and aired numerous times in future Most Outrageous Game Show Moments specials until the fourth episode in which Bob explained the clip was being "retired".

The clip also appeared (uncensored) in the 2002 film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, about the life of producer Barris.

Same sex couples

In the 2009-10 season, The Newlywed Game allowed same-sex married couples to appear on the show. The first such couple was Star Trek actor George Takei and his husband, Brad Altman, playing in a special Celebrity Edition of the game against The Biggest Loser couple Damien Gurganius & Nicole Brewer, and My Fair Brady stars Christopher Knight & Adrienne Curry. This episode was the second to air for the new season on October 13, 2009, and had Takei & Altman winning the game and $10,000 for their charity, the Japanese American National Museum.[7] The following 2010-11 season, episode air date June 17, 2010, marked the second appearance by a same-sex couple; Cameron and Garrett Jackson were the first non-celebrity same sex couple to appear on the 44 year-old game show, winning the game's honeymoon grand prize[8][9]

Theme songs

The theme music originally started off as a vocal song called "Summertime Guy". The song was written by Chuck Barris for singer Eddie Rambeau, who performed and released the song on a Swan label 45 rpm SP record. Minutes before the song was to be presented on American Bandstand in 1962, ABC informed Rambeau that he couldn't sing the song (because Chuck Barris was an ABC employee at the time) and performed the B-side of the record instead.

Not wanting the song to go to waste, Barris commissioned Milton DeLugg a few years later to arrange an instrumental version of "Summertime Guy" for use as the first theme to The Newlywed Game. The theme music was performed by the Trumpets Olé in a style similar to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and was released as the last track on the LP album "The Trumpets Olé Play Instrumentals". To better fit the show's spirit, DeLugg preceded the pop song's melody with a sample of Mendelssohn's Wedding March.

The theme was re-recorded around 1973 by Frank Jaffe and Michael Stewart. Featured as the third track on the LP album Chuck Barris Presents Themes from TV Game Shows, it was used on The Newlywed Game beginning with the syndicated version in 1977. Then, Milton DeLugg, who was by this time Barris' house musical director, created a new, updated theme based on the existing melody for The New Newlywed Game beginning with Jim Lange's 1984 series of specials, and then for the first several years of the Bob Eubanks-hosted revival.

When Paul Rodriguez took over in 1988, the theme song was changed to the 1950s doo wop classic "Book of Love" by the Monotones, making this the only theme song of the show with lyrics . The Gary Kroeger version featured an entirely new theme; when Eubanks returned, a new recording of the classic theme was used for his first season (arranged by Steve Kaplan & Jim Latham), but dropped in favor of a new theme for the third season by Barry Coffing and John Blaylock.

The Carnie Wilson (and more currently, Sherri Shepherd)-hosted version uses an updated looping version of the classic theme composed by Lewis Flinn. For Shepherd's second season, the show's logo, intro, and set was changed, dropping the classic theme.

Episode status

Most episodes of the original ABC daytime version are presumed to be wiped, and many of those that do exist are said to be un-airable due to color deterioration. However, a handful have been shown on GSN, most notably the 1974 finale. The ABC nighttime version's status is also unknown for similar reasons, although a few of the evening shows have been shown on GSN's former block "Game Show Saturday Night".

All later versions are intact and have rerun on GSN, except for the episodes hosted by Paul Rodriguez and Gary Kroeger.

Production companies

Chuck Barris Productions produced all versions from 1966–1986, with the 1986-1989 versions credited to Barris Productions. Columbia TriStar Television (CTT), who owns the Chuck Barris game show library, produced the 1996-1999 revivals. Embassy Row, a New York-based television production company, produces the Wilson and Shepherd-hosted version for CTT's successor Sony Pictures Television (who owns the formatting rights and, as of January 14, 2009, Embassy Row[10]) and GSN.[11]

Licensed merchandise

Hasbro produced three home editions of The Newlywed Game during its 1960s/70s run on ABC. Pressman Games produced a version based on the 1980s New Newlywed Game. Currently, classic board games creator Endless Games, which specializes in board games based on several widely popular, long-running television game shows, including The Price is Right and Million Dollar Password, distributes home versions of The Newlywed Game, including three standard editions (the third titled "Classic" to differentiate itself from the current GSN version), a DVD edition, a "Quick Picks" travel-size edition, and a "Deluxe Edition" which combines the first standard edition game with the DVD edition.

In 1971, Pocket Books published a beginners' cookbook entitled The Newlywed Game Cook Book. It was compiled by Jody Cameron Malis and featured Bob Eubanks' picture on the cover.

The show's original theme music has been released several times on LP and CD, most notably as part of the GSN-approved Classic TV Game Show Themes CD from Varèse Sarabande.

See also


External links

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