“Match Game” may be filmed in New York City, but its heart belongs to _______?
If you answered “Long Island,” you’d be absolutely right. Not only is ABC’s new version of “Match Game,” which premieres Sunday night at 10, being hosted by Massapequa native Alec Baldwin, but comic Rosie O’Donnell, who hails from Commack, is one of the guest panelists. In addition, two Long Islanders — Charles Roocke of Bellmore and Marissa Chykirda of Coram — are among the first-night contestants.
Baldwin, 58, told The Hollywood Reporter that he agreed to host the show after the producers made him a very generous offer: $1 million to be donated to his self-named foundation, which provides grants to a number of causes including the arts, health and environment. “I would joke a couple years ago, when I started having more children, that I was going to end up hosting a game show to pay my bills,” the actor said.
In the interview, Baldwin also teased that this update of the game — which was hosted by Gene Rayburn from 1962 to 1969 on NBC and then from 1973 to 1982 on CBS — will be “a little looser, a little saltier” than the earlier versions. O’Donnell’s fellow panelists who’ll be filling in the blanks on the premiere will be Tituss Burgess, J.B. Smoove, Michael Ian Black, Debra Messing and Sutton Foster.
“Match Game,” which will air over 10 weeks, is part of a programming block called “ABC Sunday Fun & Games.” Rounding out the lineup are “Celebrity Family Feud” at 8 p.m. and a revival of “The $100,000 Pyramid” hosted by Michael Strahan at 9.
If the show clicks, Baldwin said, he’s open to doing more episodes of “Match Game” next summer.