What Is Match Game?

what is match game

Match Game was an American panel game show from the 60s that has been revived multiple times, leading to it being on air for six decades. It was a popular game show, known for being very humorous and for featuring many celebrity guests over the years. The 1973-79 run was ranked number four in TV Guide’s list of the top 60 game shows ever in 2013, and it was twice nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show.  Read on to learn more about Match Game, from its history to how it’s played.


The original run of Match Game was from 1962 to 1969, and it aired on the NBC network. It originally aired on December 31, 1962 and was filmed in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. It was created by Frank Wayne, who was known for producing popular game shows throughout the 1960s and 70s.

Match Game was rereleased in 1973 under the slightly modified name, Match Game 73, a name which was updated every year. This new version of the show was on CBS instead and was a much bigger success than its predecessor, since it featured a larger, extended panel, larger cash payouts, and a bigger emphasis on the humorous aspects of the show. From 1975 to 1981, a program known as Match Game PM aired once a week during fringe time hours.

The show returned to NBC in 1983 as a hybrid series that ran for 60 minutes with Hollywood Squares and had daytime runs in 1990 and 1998, both of which lasted only one season. The show returned one more time in June 2016, in a weekly prime-time format, and lasted until 2021.


The main objective of the original Match Game was to get your team to 100 points to win $100 and then participate in the audience round. That second round featured three audience survey questions where each participant had the chance to win $50 for their team for every answer that agreed with the audience’s, leading to the possibility of winning an additional $450 for the team.

In the main part of the game, two teams of three had to fill in the blank in a phrase (such as “John loves his__) or give an answer to a question. Two out of three teammates having matching answers earned the team 25 points, while all three teammates having the same answer would earn them 50 points.

The series had a major overhaul in the 1970s, with a new format and objective. This time, the objective was for two competitors to give the same or similar answer as the panel of six celebrities who had already written down their answers.


In the original 60s run, the game was played with two teams of three. Once the prompt was given, the contestants would write down their responses on index cards, and all teammates had to try and have the same answer in order to get to 100 points.

The 70s rerelease of the show changed the setup drastically, dropping the team format and making it more like the panel show that it’s known to be today. In this format, two contestants sat by each other and competed in each episode. On the CBS version, the champion from a previous game was seated in the upstage (red circle) seat, and the newcomer (opponent) was seated in the downstage (green triangle) seat.

The syndicated versions had no returning champions, so positions were determined by a coin toss done backstage. The objective was to match the answers of the six celebrity panelists to fill-in-the-blank statements.

The main game was played in two rounds, with three players on Match Game PM after the first season. The opposing competitor was given a choice of two statements labeled either "A" or "B." In the second round, the contestants attempted to match with the celebrities they had yet to get matching answers to from the first round.

How to Play

Two competitors (one being a returning champion and the other being an opponent) were set up at the podium. The opponent chooses a question or prompt by selecting either the “A” or “B” pile, and the host reads the prompt out loud. The prompt is usually in the fill-in-the-blank format, and the celebrity guests had to write down their answers on a sheet of index paper. Once they were done writing, the contestant would state their answer to the fill-in-the-blank.

The host would then go down the panel of celebrity guests and have them state their answers. For every answer that matched or was close to the contestant’s answer, they would gain a point. Afterward, the champion player chooses from the pool of prompts that the opponent hadn’t chosen. A second round is played if neither player manages to match with all of the panelists.

In the event of a tie or both players having matched with all the panelists, a tie-breaker round is played. A single question is asked and the contestant has to try and get all the celebrities to match them at once. Tiebreakers are played until a winner is clear.

Summary of Rules

  • Opponent chooses a prompt from pile “A” or “B.”
  • Prompt is read and panelists write their answers that fill in the prompt.
  • Contestant gives their answer to the host.
  • Panelists state their answers out loud, and points are awarded if the answers match the contestants.
  • Champion’s prompt is chosen from the other pile.
  • Process of giving and guessing answers is repeated.
  • Second round is played the same way, and contestants attempt to match with whichever celebrities they haven’t matched with yet.
  • Tiebreaker rounds are played if needed.


What is Match Game?

Match Game is a panelist-centered American game show. It had multiple re-releases, and it was known for being a game centered around humorous responses from the celebrity panelists. It involved competitors giving responses to fill-in-the blank prompts or questions and having their answers match the ones of the panelists.

How do you play Match Game?

Match Game is played by giving an answer to a fill-in-the-blank prompt and having panelists write down their responses to the same prompt. After they have written them down, you have to state yours out loud and then see how many of the panelists’ answers matched yours. Your goal is to try and get them all to match you.

Who hosted Match Game?

The game’s most famous host was Gene Raybury, who hosted during the game show’s most popular run in the 70s. Other hosts over the years have included Ross Schafer, Micheal Burger, and Alec Baldwin.