FremantleMedia to produce 21st century take on 1970s hit

Imagine Gene Rayburn and a ridiculously long, skinny microphone and you’ve got the idea behind “What the Blank?”, a new incarnation of the classic “Match Game” format in the works at Fox, with Fred Willard attached to host.

FremantleMedia, which owns the rights to “Match Game” and a slew of other classic quizzer formats, is on board to produce the 21st century take on the 1970s hit. Pilot was taped Saturday in Los Angeles, allowing the show to be considered for a summer or fall bow.

In the original “Match Game,” which aired both in primetime and daytime, a panel of six celebs — think Richard Dawson, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Somers — would offer a mix of silly and straightforward answers to host Rayburn’s fill-in-the-blank jokes. Contestants would do their best to figure out what the celebs were thinking; winning players got a shot at the bonus round, where they could win big money by guessing how audience members had filled in a blank.

The “Match Game” bonus game, by the way, led Mark Goodson Prods. to create an even bigger hit: “Family Feud.” Both skeins remain in regular rotation on GSN (the net formerly known as Game Show Network.)

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