28 Classic Game Shows You Probably Forgot About

minute to win it
28 Classic Game Shows You Probably Forgot AboutNBC - Getty Images
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No matter your age, you probably always dreamed of being a contestant on your favorite game show. It’s easy (and fun!) to watch the games at home and live vicariously through the contestants. Viewers have gravitated to game shows as a real chance to win life-changing amounts of money. And if you’re not auditioning for your shot, it’s still exciting to root for everyday people in their experience.

But what makes a game show a success? The host plays a huge part. Some of today’s longest-running shows are especially popular because of hosts like Alex Trebek, Pat Sajak and Drew Carey. Their jokes and banter with contestants definitely add to the experience. And for the shows that aren’t on the air, we still have our favorite moments with Chuck Woolery and Marc Summers.

Even though game shows were primarily in the daytime slots, they are now just as successful in primetime. New shows like The Wall, I Can See Your Voice and Ellen’s Game of Games are finding new fans. Today, nostalgia is definitely in and revivals are king. Some of our favorite classics, like The Weakest Link, are back on the air. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for more classics to find their way back to our homes. But in the meantime, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit these game shows that aren’t on our TVs anymore.

1 vs. 100

The NBC trivia game show debuted in 2006 with Bob Saget as the host. One player competed against 100 members of the "mob" on the wall, slowly knocking out members of the group. If a contestant successfully eliminated all 100 people by answering questions correctly, the contestant would earn $1,000,000. A wrong answer would end the game. After its two year run with Saget, GSN revived the show in 2010 with Carrie Ann Inaba hosting.

1 vs 100
NBC - Getty Images

Double Dare

The Nickelodeon classic, hosted by Marc Summers, pitted two teams of kids against each other in various physical and mental challenges. It originally premiered in 1986 as the first game show for the network. The team with the highest score went on to compete in the obstacle course, filled with plenty of messy distractions. It was a huge hit and was revamped over the years, until 1993. The show was revived in 2018 for two seasons.

double dare presented by mtn dew kickstart at comedy central presents clusterfest
Matt Winkelmeyer - Getty Images


Hosted by legendary game show host Chuck Woolery, Lingo aired on GSN off and on from 1987 to 2011. The game was a cross between bingo and word guessing, as contestants worked on creating different words to complete the Lingo puzzle. Payouts and prizes changed throughout the show’s run, starting at $250 for winning a game when the show premiered.

host of show lingo stacey hayes and chuck woolery
Carlo Allegri - Getty Images

Hollywood Squares

The original season of this real-life tic-tac-toe game debuted in 1965. The premise stayed the same throughout the years. Celebrities would sit in each of the 9 squares. Each contestant has to try to determine whether or not the celebrities answer a question correctly, and eventually complete a pattern to win cash and prizes. There have been plenty of spinoffs, including Storybook Squares (for kids), and some newer revivals like Hip Hop Squares and Nashville Squares.

celebrity hollywood squares games show
Frederick M. Brown - Getty Images

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy led this hilarious quiz game show where contestants would play with a group of students to try to win up to $1 million. The show, which debuted in 2007, was set up like a classroom with grade-specific questions. It became an instant hit, mostly due to Foxworthy’s banter with contestants. The show was renewed in 2015 for an additional season on Fox.

FOX - Getty Images


The show debuted on primetime in 1961 with two teams, each one consisting of a celebrity and a contestant. The premise is for each guest to try to get the other player to guess words using one-word clues. It remained successful in primetime off and on until 1975. Password had a few revivals, the most recent one being Million Dollar Password in 2008.

super password
NBC - Getty Images

Truth or Consequences

The game show originated on radio back in 1950 before making its TV debut. The premise was to answer trivia questions before “Beulah the Buzzer” went off. If the contestant was wrong on the “Truth,” the “Consequence” was a funny stunt. The show aired for over 30 years.

truth or consequences
CBS Photo Archive - Getty Images

Minute to Win It

Even though Guy Fieri is known as a chef and restaurateur, he also hosted this popular show on NBC back in 2013. Contestants had one minute to complete a series of games for up to $1 million as the cash prize. The games involved regular household items, like plastic cups and marbles. The show aired for two more seasons on GSN, with Nick Jonas as the host.

minute to win it   season 1
NBC - Getty Images

What's My Line?

Starting in 1950 on CBS, this game show featured a panel of celebrities that tried to figure out a contestant’s profession (AKA their line…of work). There was also a famous mystery guest that the panelists had to guess. The classic aired until 1967, almost entirely in black and white. It returned in syndication through 1975.

what's my line
CBS Photo Archive - Getty Images

The Singing Bee

Karaoke was the name of the game for this show that aired on NBC. Joey Fatone of ‘NSYNC hosted the competition, which featured a group of contestants showing off their knowledge of song lyrics. The contestants would play a series of mini games before moving onto the final round. The NBC version had a maximum prize of $50,000. In 2009, CMT picked up the show with Melissa Peterman as the host.

<span class="photo-credit">Kane Hibberd - Getty Images</span>
Kane Hibberd - Getty Images

Beat the Clock

Beat the Clock originally started on radio in 1948 before moving to CBS primetime in 1950. It involved contestants trying to finish challenges before time ran out on the clock. The premise was similar to the more recent show, Minute to Win It. Beat the Clock had a long history, with revivals airing on daytime and primetime until 1980. In 2018, the show was revived to feature children and adults competing as teams.

all new beat the clock
CBS Photo Archive - Getty Images

The Newlywed Game

Dating all the way back to 1966, this popular hit featured newly-married couples competing against each other to answer questions about their partner. Originally hosted by Bob Eubanks, the primetime hit has had its share of funny moments over the years. The most recent revival aired from 2009-2013 on GSN.

bob eubanks
ABC Photo Archives - Getty Images

The Dating Game

Similar to The Newlywed Game, the counterpart show The Dating Game originally focused on a single woman asking questions of three unknown men. She would wind up choosing one for a date. There were some variations in format over the years. It started airing in 1965 and was syndicated in 1973 as The New Dating Game. There were plenty of revivals over the year, with the Chuck Woolery seasons being particularly memorable.

karen carlsonrobert vaughn
ABC Photo Archives - Getty Images

Shop 'Till You Drop

This ‘90s classic originally aired on Lifetime and eventually moved to PAX, where it was paired up with the incredibly popular Supermarket Sweep. The set was built to look like a shopping mall and had teams of two competing for prizes. The final round was a shopping spree where contestants ran throughout the mall and picked out prizes.

shop 'till you drop
YouTube/GSN - YouTube

Split Second

Created by the legendary Monty Hall and Stefan Hatos in 1972, Split Second started airing on ABC's daytime television programming block. Contestants would try to answer questions on a wide range of topics as fast as possible. The show was eventually replaced in the lineup by a soap opera.

tom kennedy hosting on 'split second'
ABC Photo Archives - Getty Images

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Based off the incredibly popular computer game, this ‘90s classic show became a fixture for kids on PBS. Although she wasn’t the host, Lynne Thigpen was the memorable Chief in the game. The music group Rockapella was on hand to sing the show’s catchy theme song. Teens and tweens answered trivia questions about geography to eventually find Carmen Sandiego. The final round had a contestant race around a giant map to locate countries and states. You got it, Gumshoe.

where in the world is carmen sandiego
YouTube/PBS - YouTube

Win Ben Stein's Money

Former presidential speechwriter and actor Ben Stein brought his hosting chops to Comedy Central. The game show had three contestants try to answer trivia questions and win $5,000. A relatively unknown Jimmy Kimmel served as co-host on the show. The show won numerous awards over its six-year run.

win ben stein's money
YouTube/Comedy Central - YouTube

American Gladiators

This physical competition show debuted in 1989, where everyday contestants would compete in physical challenges against athletes. Both men and women competed in events like tug of war and joust. The show was revived in 2008 on NBC for one season, hosted by Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali.

american gladiators
Tony Duffy - Getty Images

Battle of the Network Stars

This was another competition style sporting show, this time without regular contestants. Instead, this series pitted celebrities from ABC, NBC and CBS in various sporting events. The show originally ran from 1976-1985. A full season revival was ordered in 2017, with celebrities like Tom Arnold, Dave Coulier, Joey Lawrence and Nick Lachey competing.

battle of the network stars
YouTube - YouTube

Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction was a word game show where contestants tried to create chains of two-word phrases to advance throughout the game. It originally aired in the ‘80s and then found success again on GSN in 2006. The most recent version aired in 2015 with Mike Catherwood hosting.

chain reaction
YouTube/GSN - YouTube


The Nickelodeon hit only aired for a few years in the ‘90s, but kids from this generation were hooked on this action-packed sports style game show. It was hosted by a relatively unknown Mike O’Malley, who is now recognized for his roles on My Name is Earl and Parks and Recreation. Seriously, who didn’t want a piece of The Crag?

YouTube/Nickelodeon - YouTube


It didn’t air for long, but Chuck Woolery led the game show based on the classic board game. Woolery would give contestants a hint to guess words in the crossword round. In 1986, the show aired a tournament with a $100,000 grand prize.

scrabble game show
YouTube - YouTube

Win, Lose or Draw

This late ‘80s game show brought Pictionary to life. The show brought some big names, like Betty White and Burt Reynolds to play the game. Two teams of celebrities and everyday contestants had to guess what their teammate was drawing. Two additional versions of the show appeared on the Disney Channel.

win, lose or draw
YouTube - YouTube

Legends of the Hidden Temple

Another ‘90s classic, Legends of the Hidden Temple was a game show on Nickelodeon. Six teams of teens and tweens had to answer questions and complete physical challenges to find the treasures in the temple. The final team would take on The Temple Run and try to assemble a statue. There is some chatter that a reboot for adults may be in the works.

legends of the hidden temple
YouTube/Nickelodeon - YouTube


Memory is on full display in Concentration, based on the children’s game. Contestants try to match pairs of cards in the game and eventually reveal the puzzle behind the cards. The show ran with some interruptions from 1958 to 1991. Alex Trebek hosted a popular remake, Classic Concentration, from 1987 to 1991.

YouTube - YouTube

I've Got a Secret

Similar to What’s My Line?, I’ve Got a Secret had a panel of celebrity guests trying to figure out what a contestant’s secret was. The secret was usually something unexpected and funny about the contestant. After debuting in 1952 on CBS, the show was revived over the years. The most recent season was on GSN in 2006. The show is pretty similar to today’s popular ABC game show revival, To Tell the Truth.

gloria swanson on 'i've got a secret'
Jack Mitchell - Getty Images


This hit from 1974 debuted on NBC’s daytime programming. The premise was for 16 contestants to appear on the show for a full week as they solved riddles and increased the value of the jackpot. Eventually, the final two contestants would split the prize. If the show sounds familiar, it’s because some of the elements were later used in Hollywood Showdown.

jackpot game show
YouTube - YouTube

Name That Tune

This classic game show from the ‘50s would have two contestants challenge each other to guess different songs. The game also hosted a tournament of champions in the ‘80s, where the prize was an impressive $100,000. The show’s legendary host, Tom Kennedy, died in October 2020.

name that tune
YouTube - YouTube

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