ABC is bringing back yet another retro game show, ordering 10 episodes of The Gong Show, an irreverent precursor to talent competition shows such as America’s Got Talent.
Will Arnett will executive produce the new show under his Electric Avenue Productions banner. Den of Thieves and Principato Young Entertainment also are executive producers.
TV viewers of a certain age will remember the wild and crazy original from the 1970s and ’80s, in which contestants displayed a vast array of “talents.” A panel of three judges used a gong to cut short bad performances.
According to ABC, the new series follows the same format. It will celebrate “un-traditionally talented, unique performers plucked from the Internet and put on a primetime stage.” A revolving panel of judges will keep or gong contestants.
“ABC has tapped into the nostalgia and excitement of primetime game shows,” said Rob Mills, senior vice president, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming. “We are thrilled to add ‘The Gong Show’ to ABC’s schedule spearheaded by the incomparable Will Arnett.”
Created and produced by Chuck Barris, the original series aired on NBC daytime from 1976-78 with Barris as host. It then moved to first-run syndication from 1976-80 and 1988-89. Barris also hosted the syndicated series from 1977-80. Barris. Performers Gene Gene the Dancing Machine (video above) and the Unknown Comic (below) returned for encores throughout the show’s run.
Barris—and the show—often went off the rails. He would shout “One more time” several more times, keeping performers on stage much longer than anyone needed to see them. When he would clap, audience members would clap. They would scream and shout at Barris and the performers.
The new series, like the old one, will be taped in front of a live audience.
ABC already boarded the nostalgia train with its summer lineup of classic game show reboots. “$100,000 Pyramid, “Celebrity Family Feud,” “Match Game” and “To Tell The Truth” will return in 2017.
“The comedy culture we are living in has finally caught up to ‘The Gong Show,’ so the timing is perfect,” said Holly Jacobs. She is executive vice president, Reality and Syndication Programming for Sony Pictures Television. “We’ve found just the right partners to bring back this iconic original.”
Sony TV produces ABC’s new version of “$100,000 Pyramid.”
Arnett, Evan Prager, Jesse Ignjatovic and Peter Principato executive produce. Jared Morell, Jordan Barrow and Marc Forman will co-executive produce.
The Unknown Comic