What’s Old is New Again with ABC’s “The Celebrity Dating Game”

In the world of game shows, old hits never die.

They disappear for a while, sometimes even for decades, and then get revived, updated and modernized to attract a new generation.

“The Celebrity Dating Game” is one example – a throwback to a time before dating apps, where people got to know each other through questions and conversations.

Anything old can be new to the world of network TV again, and this new show features co-hosts Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton leading the contestants and a famous person as they search for a special connection.

This isn’t the first time the stars have shown up for this game show. Farrah Fawcett appeared before great fame in 1969, and Suzanne Somers appeared in 1974.

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Then, like today, every celebrity has to try to select a date from among three candidates hidden behind a wall where the star cannot see them.

Then the questions begin.

Questions like the one Carson Kressley asks: “If you had to put yourself in an animal category, Bachelor # 3, what would you be?”

“I would be a panther,” replies the competitor.

One of Bolton’s jobs is to sing a familiar tune with the words changed to suit the celebrity.

“Parodies are made to fit celebrities, to lead people, to give them a clue,” he said.

So he sings to Carson, “This designer, baby, no, he’s not gonna miss a thing.”

“We have two game shows going on,” Deschanel said. “One is the contestants trying to guess who the celebrity is, and the other is the celebrity trying to choose who to go on a date with.”

It’s new, but the rest has a decidedly retro feel.

“No apps, no phones,” Bolton said. “It’s dating the old fashioned way.”

But there is still a value in traditional dating

“I think what’s cool is that they don’t judge people just by how they look,” Deschanel said.

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What the celebrity and the contestants are saying can get a bit racy at times, especially considering the show airs at 10pm.

“There is definitely a lot of innuendo and language,” Bolton said. “I kind of laugh when I hear it and pretend it’s a little too much for my ears.”

“Fun” is the key word here.

“Especially coming out of a pandemic, because it’s so mellow,” Deschanel said. “Whatever you want to watch to forget all that is difficult.”

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