TBS fills in blanks for 'Match Game'

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Is Sarah Silverman the new Brett Somers? Could Norm MacDonald be the next Richard Dawson?

The comedians have signed on to be on the panel for TBS' updated "Match Game" pilot, shot this week in Los Angeles. Also taking seats are Super Dave Osborne (Bob Einstein), Kids in the Hall trouper Scott Thompson, Rashida Jones ("The Office") and Niecy Nash ("Reno 911!").

Andrew Daly ("Semi-Pro") is serving as host for the pilot, which is being executive produced by Robert Smigel of "Saturday Night Live" and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog fame.

The project, from FremantleMedia North America, was announced in March as part of the network's development slate, with TBS saying that it marks the network's biggest foray into game shows.

The original, which debuted in 1962, has had several incarnations in daytime and in the evening as a weekly syndicated show. "Match Game," featuring contestants trying to match missing words in a given phrase with a panel of celebrity guests, reached its naughty heyday with the Gene Rayburn-hosted version in the 1970s — once the questions were tweaked to allow for a generous amount of double-entendre humor.

The game is played by two contestants and a panel of six celebrities. Each contestant attempts to match the most celebrities in a series of fill-in-the-blank questions, such as "Sam is so short, he makes _____ look tall."

Along with Somers and Dawson, Charles Nelson Reilly was another longtime regular on the show. Other panelists over the years included Vicki Lawrence, McLean Stevenson, Betty White, Orson Bean, Fannie Flagg and Nipsey Russell.

The most recent version of "Match Game" ended its run in 1999. Reruns air regularly on cable network GSN, effectively exposing younger audiences to the format.

Should "Match Game" get a series pickup, it wouldn't be TBS' first game show: The network last ventured into that arena in 2006, with the Endemol USA-produced "Midnight Money Madness," which aired Monday-Thursday during an eight-week trial run. (partialdiff)
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