ABC Greenlights Revival of ‘The Gong Show’ From Exec Producer Will Arnett

The Gong Show
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television

ABC is adding yet another classic title to its growing slate of game shows. The network has greenlit a remake of “The Gong Show,” Variety has learned.

Sony Pictures Television, which franchised the original talent competition that ran from 1976 to 1989, is producing the revival. ABC has ordered 10 episodes.

The new version of the variety show hails from executive producer Will Arnett and his Electric Avenue Productions, plus Den of Thieves and Principato Young Entertainment, along with Sony TV. Arnett is not hosting — a revolving panel of judges, featuring some of Hollywood’s biggest names, will praise, critique and, of course, gong contestants.

Every episode of the modernized “Gong Show” will celebrate un-traditionally talented, unique performers plucked from the Internet and put onto primetime television. The series will be shot in front of a live audience.

“ABC has tapped into the nostalgia and excitement of primetime game shows. We are thrilled to add ‘The Gong Show’ to ABC’s schedule spearheaded by the incomparable Will Arnett,” said Rob Mills, senior vice president of alternative series, specials and late-night programming.

“The comedy culture we are living in has finally caught up to ‘The Gong Show,’ so the timing is perfect,” added Holly Jacobs, executive vice president of reality and syndication programming for Sony Pictures Television. “We’ve found just the right partners to bring back this iconic original.”

“The Gong Show” is the latest game show to head back to present-day television, following Steve Harvey’s “Family Feud,” Alec Baldwin’s “Match Game” and Michael Strahan’s “$100,000 Pyramid,” which all air on ABC. The talent show genre has had recent success with NBC’s “Little Big Shots,” and the variety show has been pushing to make a comeback with the network’s “Maya & Marty” and Neil Patrick Harris’ “Best Time Ever.”

Aside from Arnett, other exec producers on “The Gong Show” are Evan Prager, Jesse Ignjatovic and Peter Principato. Jared Morell, Jordan Barrow and Marc Forman are co-exec producers.

Dan Holloway contributed to this report.

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  1. jeff feldman says:

    Ray Ellin should host this. He hosts the official off-broadway going show live. Incredible.

  2. cadavra says:

    “Variety” has an extremely elastic definition of “classic.”

  3. Red Roe says:

    I found it a wonderful experience to work on the Gong Show. This came at a time when TV was struggling and from a very innovative producer, Chuck Barris. His offerings brought about some of the highest ratings (MONEY) for all the time slots that were forced upon the show by the “behind the times” management of the television network. Gene Gene The Dancing Machine, Weird Willie, JP Morgan, Paul Williams, Milton DeLug & the band with a Thug, were only some of the excellent offerings of unconventional entertainment that ever came on the tube. The networks censor dept were handcuffed with the antics of the show while the audiences from across the nation rallied to want more of the strange. Nothing will ever challenge the quality and quantity of the performances that were seen coast to coast during the times on the air. Changed from what was put on in the beginning, the show established marks of greatness that have been mimicked but not captured by any of the ‘remakes’. Even the ‘primetime’ offerings that denote talent, do not help with the descriptions of the Chuck Barris Gong Show. I wish them luck and will watch with many memories of times gone by.

  4. Not sure if this will work. Part of the charm of the original were how lewd the acts were at times and the host acted as if he was coked up. I bet they will not even have an act like the unknown comic.

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