The Newlywed Game

ABC (ended 1974)


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The Newlywed Game

Show Summary

"Once upon a time, there was this nice, family TV game show on CBS called Password, wherein teams of two tried to guess words using just one word. It did very well in the ratings, and was quite educational, too. "Then, one day – July 11, 1966, to be exact – a CBS News special report about Robert McNamara reporting on the Vietnam War pre-empted Password. That didn't make people very happy. So, they turned the station to see what else was on. "Some people saw a game unlike what they had ever seen before. There was this handsome young man asking four newlywed couples questions about their marriages. Sometimes, you saw just the beautiful young ladies; and other times, the good-looking men were on, but they always got back together to talk about their marriages. "Sometimes, the couples kissed each other. Other times, they pouted and made a scene. And sometimes, they shared information that was quite intimate (can you say "intimate," kiddies). "The audience on TV laughed and laughed, and the handsome young host did everything to help make the audience laugh. The people couldn't believe what they were seeing on the TV. But they became curious and decided to watch this new show when it came on the next day ... and the next day ... and the next day ... forgetting all about Password wondering if the newlywed couples would or could live happily ever after." That, in a nutshell, tells the story of the classic game show The Newlywed Game, the tell-all game show where four couples – all married less than two years – answered questions about their relationship to win a prize. The game was played in two rounds, each with two parts (though never referred to as such). In the first part, the wives were secluded off-stage (when the show first aired, the husbands were secluded off-stage) while host Eubanks posed a series of three questions to the husbands – usually multiple choice or fill-in-the blank, sometimes with more than one answer required. After the questions were asked, the wives were brought back onstage to answer the same questions. A correct match earned the newlywed couple 5 points, but the real fun came when there was not a match. Usually, not matching meant an argument, with the spouses each (shall we say) strongly defending their answer. And yes, Eubanks did everything to make the situation worse (often using one spouses words against him/her, or even relaying what the spouse said while the other was off-stage); and of course the audience played right along, loving every moment. In the second round, the husbands were taken to the sound-proof room (when the show first aired, the wives were secluded off stage) while the wives were posed the questions, the fourth being a special 25-point bonus question. Correct matches at this point were worth 10 points (for the first 3 questions). The special 25-point bonus question – usually general enough so as not to cause an argument, unless that too was incorrect – often determined the day's winner. The winner after all the questions were asked (or a tie-breaker was played, if necessary, by the couple predicting their point total) "won a special bonus prize, chosen especially for" them. Usually, this prize was kitchen appliances; rooms of furniture; stereo/TV equipment; things for the game room (such as a pinball machine or a pool table) a boat, motorcycle or trailer; a piano; or a trip (with the requisite luggage and camera thrown in). And yes, couples who wanted a specific prize competed for it on that day's show. Special episodes were frequently dedicated toward expectant couples ("maternity day") and couples who had previously appeared on the show but, even though they didn't win, they had won the audience over (refered to as "Alumni Day"). During the ABC run, during the Christmas season, couples donated their gifts to charity. Thousands of couples let all of their secrets out of the bag during The Newlywed Game's four lives. In addition to the 1966-1974 ABC and 1996-2000 syndicated versions, the most often remembered versions (and most-reran on Game Show Network [GSN]) came with the 1977-1980 (1 Night a week) and 1985-1989 5-Day-a-week syndicated incarnations. The rules for The Newlywed Game were modified for the 1988-1989 season, with host Paul Rodriguez; and again when the series resurfaced as a new entry in the 1996-1997 season, with Gary Kroeger as host. Neither of the "modified" versions sat well with fans (like any version did with some), but the alterations basically involved converting the scoring into dollars and rules to how the questions were asked and how the awards were paid out. Bob Eubanks would return to helm the 1996 version during its second and third seasons (1997-1999), and that along with reverting to the original rules made for a welcome reception from long-time (and new) fans. The only difference was that the grand prize each time was a "second honeymoon" (remember, before, it could also be furniture, electronics or transportation). The 4th and Last Season (1999-2000) is a repeat of the previous season. As one might expect on a show like this, there were countless classic moments during the history of The Newlywed Game. None was more infamous than one such moment that occurred early in the 1977-1980 syndicated run. During a maternity week episode, Eubanks had asked the question, "Where, specifically, is the weeeeeiirdest place that you have ever gotten the urge the make whoopee?" The husband gave a pedestrian reply: "The freeway." His wife's answer was, to put it mildly, not: "Is it (bleep)?" (you fill in the blank, but it made for uproarious laughter). Needless to say, the young woman clearly misunderstood the question.moreless

    Cable channel revives Newlywed, Dating games

  • More Info About This Show


    Comedy, Game Show


    70s, 60s