Now this is what 60 looks like.

On March 30, 1964, a new show hosted by Art Fleming premiered on NBC and it would prove to be a game changer. "Jeopardy!," the brainchild of Merv Griffin, made its debut with an unusual concept for a game show — answers would be revealed on a game board and it would be up to contestants to supply the question. 

Six decades later, the show is not only still on the air, but its popularity has even spread into prime time with a celebrity edition and a special Grand Masters edition.

But "Jeopardy!" isn't an anomaly. Over the past 10 years, the networks have shown they've got game with a prime-time schedule jam-packed with game shows, including reboots ("To Tell the Truth," "The $100,000 Pyramid"), originals ("Beat Shazam," "The Masked Singer") and extensions of long-established hits ("Celebrity Wheel of Fortune," "The Price Is Right at Night"). It also doesn't hurt that these shows are relatively inexpensive to produce.

Of course, finding the right formula is essential to creating a successful game show. "Having a clear, clean and simple format that is airtight is one of the most crucial elements and it allows for the longevity of some of these shows," said Kimberly Kleid, executive vice president of current programming at Fremantle Media, the company behind "The Price Is Right" and "Family Feud."

That format involves having a game that should be easy to follow and one that audiences at home can play along with, she continued.

"If you add in the other key ingredients of a great host, talent that’s right for the show and fantastic contestants that bring energy and enthusiasm and have a great story to tell, you have game show magic," Kleid said.

Here are 25 shows that had the magic touch and why we consider them the best of the best.

1. JEOPARDY!

Alex Trebek began hosting "Jeopardy!" in 1984. Art Fleming hosted...

Alex Trebek began hosting "Jeopardy!" in 1984. Art Fleming hosted the show when it premiered in 1964. Credit: Getty Images/Amanda Edwards

Answer: This is unquestionably the best television game show of all time. Question: What is "Jeopardy!"? The ultimate game of knowledge first ran on NBC from 1964 to 1975 with Art Fleming as host, but it's the syndicated revival that has continued to grow in popularity during its 40 seasons on the air. Credit for much of that success has to go to Alex Trebek, the beloved host whose death in 2020 felt like the loss of a dear friend to viewers. The show still lives on with a new host — and winningest contestant in the show's history — Ken Jennings.

2. WHEEL OF FORTUNE

Vanna White and Pat Sajak have been a mainstay on...

Vanna White and Pat Sajak have been a mainstay on "Wheel of Fortune" for over 40 years. Sajak will retire at the end of this season. Credit: CBS TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION

When Merv Griffin came up with the idea to put a spin on the kids' game Hangman, "Wheel of Fortune" was born. Chuck Woolery first asked contestants if they would like to buy a vowel — or purchase a ceramic Dalmatian — as host from 1975 to 1981. He was ably assisted by letter turner Susan Stafford. The simple format was an immediate hit, but became a phenomenon after Pat Sajak took over for Woolery in 1981, especially with the addition of a million dollar wedge in the bonus round. (Sajak, who is retiring at the end of this season, will be succeeded by Ryan Seacrest in September.) Stafford's replacement, Vanna White, transformed letter-turning into an art. She'll continue revealing letters for at least two more seasons, as will the nightly ritual of seeing "What will Vanna wear tonight?"

3. THE PRICE IS RIGHT

Longtime host of "The Price Is Right" Bob Barker watches...

Longtime host of "The Price Is Right" Bob Barker watches as a contestant spins the wheel in 2006. Credit: AP Photo/Ric Francis

"Come on down!" has been the catchphrase on "The Price Is Right," which has been a staple of CBS' daytime lineup since 1972. TV veteran Bob Barker served as host until he retired in 2007, passing the torch to Drew Carey. "You don’t have to be super smart to watch the show," said executive producer Evelyn Warfel of the show's enduring appeal. "You don’t have to be a trivia buff. You just have to shop and all of us shop." The show features 78 different pricing games, with Plinko and Cliff Hangers the two audience favorites, An earlier version with Bill Cullen aired from 1956 to 1964, offering contestants the chance to win such high-end prizes as an airplane, a house and an elephant.

4. PYRAMID

Dick Clark was the peak of perfection as host of...

Dick Clark was the peak of perfection as host of "The $100,000 Pyramid." Credit: Bob Stewart Prod. /Everett Collection

There were numerous incarnations of this word-association game hosted by Dick Clark, starting with "The $10,000 Pyramid" in 1973 and peaking with "The $100,000 Pyramid" from 1985 to 1991. Contestants hoping to get to the winner's circle were paired with celebrities including William Shatner, Nipsey Russell, Betty White, Tony Randall, a pre-"Halloween" Jamie Lee Curtis and Long Beach-raised Billy Crystal, who holds the record for conquering the pyramid in the fastest time — 26 seconds. The Michael Strahan-hosted reboot has been a prime-time success for ABC since 2016.

5. MATCH GAME

Gene Rayburn with "Match Game" panelists Allen Ludden, Brett Somers...

Gene Rayburn with "Match Game" panelists Allen Ludden, Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly, top row, and Dolly Read Martin, Richard Dawson and Betty White, bottom row. Credit: Everett Collection

 Is "Match Game" the funniest, most irreverent game show ever created? You bet your [blank] it is. Host Gene Rayburn bantered with the panel of celebrities, including series regulars Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly, as they filled in the blanks and attempted to match contestants' answers to typically racy questions. An earlier, far less irreverent version ran on NBC from 1962 to '69, but it was CBS' revival that became one of daytime TV's biggest hits from 1973 to 1979. ABC's prime-time reboot (2016-21) hosted by Massapequan Alec Baldwin, upped the naughty factor, while retaining the skinny mic and the wonderfully hideous orange shag carpeting from the '70s version.

6. PASSWORD

Pictured from left, Carol Burnett, host Allen Ludden and Garry...

Pictured from left, Carol Burnett, host Allen Ludden and Garry Moore on the set of TV game show "Password" in 1962. Credit: Everett Collection

Allen Ludden hosted CBS' "Password," the first game show to pair celebrities including Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball and James Stewart with contestants. The highlight of the word-association game, which aired on CBS from 1961 to 1967, was the lightning round, when the celebrity had 60 seconds to get their partner to guess five words. Numerous incarnations of "Password" followed, including "Password All Stars," "Password Plus," "Super Password," "Million Dollar Password" (hosted by Regis Philbin) and the current NBC-Peacock reboot hosted by Keke Palmer with Jimmy Fallon, who produced, and plays against stars like Jon Hamm and Martin Short.

7. WHAT'S MY LINE?

Dorothy Kilgallen, left, David Susskind, host John Daly, standing, Arlene...

Dorothy Kilgallen, left, David Susskind, host John Daly, standing, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf of "What's My Line?" Credit: Getty Images

The premise was simple but the game-playing was often hilarious as four celebrity panelists — including regulars Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen and Bennett Cerf — tried to figure out the occupations of contestants. (Questioning a woman who washed cows for a living, panelist Steve Allen drew roars from the audience when he asked "Do they possibly come to you with the idea that your services might make them more attractive to their boyfriends?") The high point of the show, which aired Sunday nights on CBS from 1950 to 1967, was when the panelists would don masks and try to figure out the identity of a mystery guest. On the last episode, the mystery guest was longtime host John Daly.

8. TO TELL THE TRUTH

Bud Collyer first hosted this clever game show from 1956 to 1968 in which three contestants all claimed to have the same identity and it was up to celebrity panelists including Orson Bean, Peggy Cass, Tom Poston and Kitty Carlisle to discover which one was telling the truth. Speaking with associate producer Bob Stewart in 2008, he recalled: "I was doing a local TV show with Morey Amsterdam. One of the things I did for a gag was I had three guys, all of whom claimed to be a barber, come on. And they all gave a haircut on stage. The question to the audience was to determine who the real barber was. That’s how 'To Tell the Truth' started." The popular panel show was revived several times, most recently by ABC (2016-22) with Anthony Anderson as host.

9. FAMILY FEUD

A special football-themed episode of "Family Feud" had host Richard...

A special football-themed episode of "Family Feud" had host Richard Dawson, center, caught between Cowboys cheerleader Suzette Scholz-Derrick and the team's Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. Credit: AP Photo/Randy Rasmussen

What game show host kissed more female contestants than any other? Survey says, Richard Dawson, the original star of ABC's "Family Feud" from 1976 to 1985. The game pitted two teams each featuring five family members out to match the top answers to survey questions like "During what month of pregnancy does a woman begin to look pregnant?" (The response "September" drew uncontrolled laughter from Dawson.) Other hosts of the show have included Ray Combs, John O'Hurley, Richard Karn, Louie Anderson and current favorite Steve Harvey. Dawson, incidentally, also won a prize: He met his second wife, Gretchen Johnson, when she was a contestant.

10. WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE

ABC hit the ratings jackpot in the summer of 1999 with this Regis Philbin-hosted version of a popular British trivia game that made phrases like "Is that your final answer?" part of pop-culture history. The prime-time edition was canceled in 2002, but the syndicated daytime version proved a hit and was hosted by Meredith Vieira (2002-13), Cedric the Entertainer (2013-14), Terry Crews (2014-15) and Chris Harrison (2015-19). In 2020, Jimmy Kimmel came on board to host special prime-time episodes featuring celebrities playing for charity.

11. CONCENTRATION

It sure helped to have a good memory if you were playing "Concentration," which was hosted by Hugh Downs from 1958 to 1969. "Many game shows were based on children's games," the show's producer Norm Blumenthal told Newsday in 2013. " 'Concentration' was also a game where children would turn 52 cards face down and try to make matches." Using that concept, contestants chose numbers from the puzzle board hoping they would reveal matching prizes. If they did, two pieces of a rebus would be revealed. When contestants correctly solved the rebus, they would win whatever prizes they'd accumulated. More than 7,000 of those picture puzzles were created by Blumenthal who lived in West Hempstead.

12. HOLLYWOOD SQUARES

Tic tac toe was never as clever nor as amusing than all done up as "Hollywood Squares," which Peter Marshall hosted from 1966 to 1981. It was up to contestants to earn an X or an O by figuring out if one of the nine celebrity "Squares" was answering a trivia question with the truth or a bluff. Regular "Squares" included Cliff "Charley Weaver" Arquette, Rose Marie, Wally Cox and Paul Lynde, whose outrageous answers were always flying just below the censors' radar. Later editions of the show were hosted by John Davidson and Tom Bergeron.

13. THE NEWLYWED GAME

It was a classic example of he said, she said as spouses tried to match responses to questions both naughty (the word "whoopee" was heard a lot) and nice to win a grand prize (often a living room set) on this series that first ran on ABC from 1966 to 1974. The real fun, though, was seeing the reactions from frequently nonplused host Bob Eubanks. The game has been revived many times, including GSN's version which opted to go boldly where no other edition had by featuring its first same-sex couple in 2009 — George Takei, aka Mr. Sulu from "Star Trek," and his partner Brad Altman, who won $10,000 for their charity, the Japanese American National Museum.

14. LET'S MAKE A DEAL

As host of "Let's Make a Deal" from 1963 to 1975, Monty Hall was TV's big dealer and the man who introduced the word "zonk" into the English language. Contestants dressed as everything from chickens to hula dancers never knew what kind of prize he had for them behind door No. 1, door No. 2 or door No. 3. Hall, who died in 2017, was also executive producer of CBS' daytime reboot starring Wayne Brady that began in 2010.

15. NAME THAT TUNE

It helped to have a good ear for music in this game which started on radio in 1952 and moved to TV the following year hosted by Red Benson and then Bill Cullen. Contestants, who included astronaut John Glenn and a very young Bernadette Peters, were given a few notes of a popular song and had to guess its name. The show enjoyed several revivals during the ’70s and ‘80s with Dennis James, Tom Kennedy and Jim Lange hosting at various points. Fox brought it back in 2021 with Jane Krakowski as master of ceremonies.

16. THE DATING GAME

Singles searched for the man or woman of their dreams on ABC's "The Dating Game," which Jim Lange hosted from 1965 to 1974. A bachelor or bachelorette would ask three prospective suitors such deep questions as "If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would excite you?" and choose one to join them on a romantic date — complete with chaperone. Among the "before they were famous" stars seeking true love as contestants were Farrah Fawcett, Tom Selleck and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

17. THE GONG SHOW

Both the entertaining and the embarrassingly awful appeared on this talent competition hosted and produced by Chuck Barris from 1976 to 1980. Acts from jugglers to contortionists usually had 90 seconds to perform, though at any time they ran the risk of getting gonged by one of the trio of celebrity judges. The act with the highest point total from the judges then won the grand prize of $516.32. Among the most notable contestants were a pre-"Annie" Andrea McArdle and vocalist Cheryl Lynn ("Got to Be Real") who won. ABC brought the show back in 2017 with Mike Myers as his alter ego, host Tommy Maitland, but it got the gong after only two seasons.

18. YOU BET YOUR LIFE

Truthfully, the game took second place to the quick wit of the one, the only Groucho Marx, who hosted this show in which teams of two contestants answered trivia questions to win a cash prize. And if they said the secret word, a duck would come down with $100 for the pair to split. The series, which began on radio, ran on NBC from 1950 to 1961. Jay Leno attempted a reboot in 2021, but it was canceled after two years.

19. CHAIN REACTION

Dylan Lane, centers, hosts Game Show Network's popular series "Chain...

Dylan Lane, centers, hosts Game Show Network's popular series "Chain Reaction." Credit: Game Show Network/Randy Shropshire

From the mind of Bob Stewart came this nifty word game in which contestants had to find the missing link between two words (example, if the words were "Betty" and "Christmas," the connecting word would be "White"). The original 1980 version (another Bill Cullen-hosted affair) only lasted six months, but the Game Show Network has struck gold with its enjoyable, long-running revival hosted by Dylan Lane.

20. I'VE GOT A SECRET

Garry Moore hosted this popular CBS game show that ran from 1952 to 1967 in which contestants would whisper a secret in his ear and it was up to the celebrity panel to find out what it was. Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan and Faye Emerson made up an early incarnation of the panel. Meadows and Emerson were later replaced by Bess Myerson and Betsy Palmer, whom Stewart said was "not a great interrogator, but when she was on the screen, you had to love her."

21. PRESS YOUR LUCK

Peter Tomarken was the keeper of the Whammies on CBS' "Press Your Luck" from 1983 to 1986. Contestants literally had to press their luck as they hit a button the size of a plunger to stop on a prize space on the giant game board. Unfortunately, the board also was packed with Whammies that if hit could wipe out your bankroll. ABC's current revival starring Eizabeth Banks is basically the same format with the addition of an end game featuring prizes tailored to contestants' interests.

22. LOVE CONNECTION

"Love Connection," hosted by Chuck Woolery from 1983 to 1994, took "The Dating Game" a step further. After a contestant chose their dream date, both parties got to return to the show to describe how things went. At the end, they had the option to go out again or never set eyes on one another for the rest of their lives. It's no surprise that the bad dates made for far more entertaining shows. Fox brought back the series in 2017 with Andy Cohen serving as host and featuring same-sex couples, but audiences weren't feeling the love and it was dropped after 23 episodes.

23. THE $64,000 QUESTION

Hal March hosted the popular quiz show "The $64,000 Question" from 1955 to 1958. Contestants regarded as experts in a specific field had to answer a series of increasingly difficult questions on the subject with the goal to take home $64,000, Among the future celebrities who nabbed the top prize were Barbara Feldon, on the category Shakespeare, and  Joyce Brothers, who excelled in boxing history. The show ended a few months after Congress began an investigation that some quiz shows had been rigged. 

24. WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY

In this "Jeopardy!"-like show that aired on Comedy Central from 1997 to 2002, contestants tried to answer more questions than brainiac Ben Stein and, in the process, win "his" money. The show was hosted by an up-and-comer named Jimmy Kimmel. Unlike "Jeopardy!," if contestants failed to answer in the form of a question more than once, they had to wear a dunce cap.

25. THE WEAKEST LINK

Deadpan Brit wit Anne Robinson was the host of this NBC series that was equal parts "Survivor" and Trivial Pursuit. Nine contestants started out answering trivia questions in a given time limit, while also building up a jackpot with each right answer. After each round, the weakest contestant was voted off by their opponents until only one remained to collect all the money. The show ran on NBC in prime time from 2001 to 2002 then in a syndicated half-hour version with host George Gray from 2002 to 2003 and in NBC's current edition with Jane Lynch that premiered in 2020. In all cases, the host bid contestants off the stage with the exit line "You are the weakest link. Goodbye."

Top Stories

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.