We just love game shows here in America. There are countless examples of game shows that are on during day time TV and at night. Go to this Wikipedia page and you can see the staggering number of TV game shows that have been on here in America over the years. We just can’t get enough of them. In honor of our love of game shows, here are the 20 Greatest game shows of all time (don’t be afraid to tell me how wrong I am. You never are.)
#20 – Twenty One (1956-1958)
One of the first really popular game shows of the TV era that produced the first game show celebrity, Charles Van Doren (pictured on the far right). The scandal that resulted from Van Doren being given answers to questions by producers was portrayed in the 1994 movie Quiz Show. The game show that really got it all started in at #20, Twenty One.
#19 – The Gong Show (1976-1980, the Chuck Barris years)
The Gong Show was America’s Got Talent back before America knew they had any talent. Performers would come on the show and do whatever talent they had and “celebrity” judges would judge the performance with bad performances getting the gong. The show was silly, irreverent, and I swear everyone was drunk. The host, Chuck Barris is himself one heck of an interesting guy. They even made a movie about him (based on a book written by Barris) where he claims to have been a hit man for the CIA at night when he was working on TV during the day. In at #19, The Gong Show.
#18 – Remote Control (1986-1990)
There are two ways to look at MTV’s Remote Control. Either you think it was the beginning of the end of MTV as a music channel, or it was a brilliant game show aimed at Gen X-ers that gave several big name comedians their start. I fall in to the 2nd camp. Host Ken Ober’s dry delivery was a perfect match for the sarcasm that defines Generation X. In at #18, Remote Control.
#17 – Double Dare (1986-1992)
A kid’s game show in the top 20? Absolutely. Double Dare was an awesome show. Two teams of two kids competing against each other in a trivia contest that also had physical challenges? Fantastic. None of us watched it for the trivia though. We all wanted to see the physical challenges and we all loved the final obstacle course at the end of the game for the big prize. Host Marc Summers (who now works for The Food Network) did a great job as host having to work with kids on a daily basis but throwing in jokes that only adults would get making this a show that parents could watch with their kids and not want to gouge out their eye balls. In at #17, Double Dare.
#16 – Win Ben Stein’s Money (1997-2003)
Prior to 1997, most people’s knowledge of Ben Stein was limited to his role in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off (he was also a speech writer for Richard Nixon). Then came Win Ben Stein’s Money and people were introduced to the fact that Ben Stein knows everything. The premise of the show was that Ben was putting his day’s pay on the line in a trivia contest against mere mortals. If the mortal were to somehow beat Ben in the final round, then their winnings would be what Ben was going to be paid for the day. Ben didn’t lose very often. Do you remember who Ben’s side kick was on the show? A guy named Jimmy Kimmel who got his start on #16 in our countdown, Win Ben Stein’s Money.