The Dating Game is an ABC television show that first aired on December 20, 1965 and was the first of many shows created and packaged by Chuck Barris from the 1960s through the 1980s. ABC dropped the show on July 6, 1973, but it resurfaced in several syndicated versions (1973–1974 as The New Dating Game, 1978–1980, 1986–1989 and 1996–1999; repeats of the last version appeared in the 1999–2000 season.) For years it would almost always be aired in tandem with another Barris production, The Newlywed Game, which premiered on ABC the following year.
Typically, a bachelorette would question three bachelors, who were hidden from her view; at the end of the questioning period, she would choose one to go out with on a date paid for by the show. Occasionally, the roles would be reversed with a man questioning three ladies; other times, a celebrity would question three players for a date for themselves, a co-worker or a relative of theirs. Many celebrities played the game looking for love themselves.
The pre-stardom Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Lindsay Wagner, Tom Selleck and Lee Majors appeared as "contestants" on the show in the 1960s and early 1970s. Other contestants who appeared in their unknown or pre-stardom eras included The Carpenters, Jackson Bostwick, Joanna Cameron, Andy Kaufman (who went under the name Baji Kimran), Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, John Ritter, Phil Hartman, Jennifer Granholm (Governor of Michigan from 2003-2010), the actor Jay North, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Tom Selleck (who went on the show twice but was not chosen as a "date" either time). The future Federal Judge Alex Kozinski appeared on it and was selected as a "date". . Some contestants appeared even after they were fairly well known, including a young Michael Jackson, Ron Howard, Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Sally Field, Richard Dawson, and Paul Lynde. One standard trademark was that at the end of each episode, the host and winning contestants would blow a kiss to the viewers.
The Dating Game was hosted by Jim Lange from its debut on ABC until the late 1970s syndicated series went off the air. The 1986 revival was originally hosted by comedienne Elaine Joyce, who was replaced by Jeff MacGregor after its first season. The 1996 series was originally hosted by Brad Sherwood, who was replaced by Chuck Woolery following a return to the series' classic format.