The Newlywed Game was an American television game show
where newly-married couples answered questions to find out how well the
husband and wife knew each other. Produced by Chuck Barris, the show
became famous for some of the arguments that couples had over incorrect
answers and even led to some divorces.
The Newlywed Game -- originally created by Nick Nicholson and
Roger Muir (who were often mentioned as such in the show's credits) --
aired on ABC Daytime from July 11, 1966, until December 20, 1974 for 2,195
episodes; it also ran an ABC prime time network version from January 1967
to August 1971. In 1977 it was revived for syndication, where it ran until
After one week of specials aired on ABC in February 1984, the show
returned to syndication in 1985 as The New Newlywed Game. That
version lasted until 1989.
A third syndicated revival ran from 1996 to 1999.
Bob Eubanks is the host that is most often associated with The Newlywed
Game. Eubanks hosted all versions except the 1984 ABC version, which Jim
Lange hosted; the last season of the 1980s version, which Paul Rodriguez
hosted; and the first season of the 1990s version, which Gary Kroeger
hosted. The 1996 revival featured a different format than the one
described in this article; after one season of disappointing ratings,
Eubanks was brought back to the show as host and co-executive producer and
the classic format was revived.
Johnny Jacobs was the voice of "The Newlywed Game" during its
entire 1966-74 and 1977-80 runs, however, Tony McClay subbed for Jacobs on
occasion. Jacobs died in 1982, and when the 1980s version surfaced, Bob
Hilton announced from 1984 to 1986, then Charlie O'Donnell took over from
1986 until its cancellation in 1989. John Cramer announced in the '90s.
Rules of the game
For the first round, the wives were taken off the stage while the
husbands were asked four questions. (Many of The Newlywed Game's
questions dealt with "making whoopee," the euphemism that
producers used for sexual intercourse in order to get around network
censors.) The wives were then brought back on stage and were asked for
their answers for the same four questions. Once the wife gave her answer,
the husband gave the answer that he previously gave, which was written on
a blue card. A match for that question was worth 5 points for the couple.
The fun was, of course, when the couples didn't match. Often,
couples got into huge arguments over their answer, and the audience loved
it. Eubanks of course played right along, often using one spouse's words
against the other or "taking sides."
The roles were reversed in the second round, where the husbands were
taken off the stage and the wives were asked four questions before the
husbands were brought back on stage to give their answers. The first three
questions in this round were worth 10 points each, and the final question
was worth 25 points.
The couple with the highest score at the end of the second round won a
prize that was "chosen just for you" (actually, the contestants
had requested a certain prize and competed with other couples for that
item). The grand prize was never a car, but it could include just about
anything else: appliances, furniture, home entertainment systems, a
trailer or motorcycles, trips (complete with luggage and camera), etc. In
the 1996 remake, the grand prize was always a trip (dubbed "a second
"In the butt, Bob"
The Newlywed Game was the subject of an urban legend for many
years. The story, which had several variations, had Bob Eubanks asking a
contestant, "Where is the weirdest place where you have ever made
whoopee?" in one episode. The contestant supposedly responded,
"In the butt, Bob." Eubanks denied the incident for a long time.
It turned out that the incident in question happened in a 1977 episode
where Eubanks asked a wife (Olga) where the weirdest place that she and
her husband Hank had the urge to "make whoopee" was. After
drawing a blank, and prodded by Eubanks to give an answer, the wife
responded, "In the ass" (with "ass" bleeped out). As
everyone in the studio laughed uproariously, Eubanks clarified the
question, asking for the weirdest location.
Eubanks reluctantly presented the clip on a 2002 NBC special, The
Most Outrageous Game Show Moments, which he co-hosted. The clip also
appeared in the 2002 film Confessions
of a Dangerous Mind, about the life of producer Barris.
By the way, Hank's original, more pedestrian answer that Olga couldn't
match was... "on the freeway," one that had drawn laughter and
applause during the husbands-only segment. (Eubanks: "I'm going to
take the side streets hereafter." )
During the same season, Eubanks asked another set of couples what their
least favorite place to make love was. One wife quickly said,
"Probably I would say the ass" (with that word bleeped out, of
course) causing her husband to groan and sink in his seat. That episode
was seen on the "Nutty Newlyweds" retrospective on Game Show
Network in 2002.
Often imitated, but never duplicated
Based on the success of The Newlywed Game, several other game
shows – including some produced by Chuck Barris – tried their hand at
asking questions of married couples (or related family members) for
laughs. Some were successful, others were not, and a couple were in poor
A partial list of shows includes:
- The Family Game (1967), where host Bob Barker asks children
questions about their family's lives, and the parents had to guess how
they answered. Produced by Chuck Barris.
- He Said, She Said (1969-1970) and Tattletales (1974-1978
and 1982-1984), two Mark Goodson-Bill Todman productions asking
celebrity couples questions about their marriage. On He Said, She
Said, the couples tried to win a prize for a designated audience
member; on Tattletales (essentially a remake of the previous
show), the couples won money for a designated "rooting
- 3's a Crowd (1979) and All New 3's a Crowd
(1999-2001), critically panned Newlywed Game variant where a
central subject is interviewed and two contestants with ties to the
main contestant separately guessed how he/she responded. In the
earlier version (produced by Chuck Barris), the contestants were
always a man, his wife and his secretary. The latter version was
produced for Game Show Network and could have either a man or woman as
the central subject (with usually the contestant's current significant
other and someone else, such as an ex-boy/girlfriend or best friend,
the other two players).
- Perfect Match (1986), short-lived Newlywed Game rehash
where married couples asked Tattletales-style questions for
- I'm Telling (1987-1988), NBC Saturday morning game show where
siblings (usually brother and sister) ratted each other out through a
series of Newlywed Game-style questions. The winning team
competed for a prize package.
- Burt Luddin's Love Buffet (1999), Short-lived Las Vegas-based
Game Show Network game that married situation comedy elements to it.
In the game part, boyfriend-girlfriend couples answered questions
about their relationship; the situation comedy part (revolving around
the lives of the show's host and "production" staff) was
played out between rounds. Critics panned Love Buffet in large
part because of the risqué content and the concept itself. John
Cervenka (whom was the announcer for Love Connection) played Burt
Luddin and Charlie O'Donnell was the announcer. Tiffany Richardson
played Luddin's co-host.
- Teammates (2005), an ESPN game hosted by Stuart Scott where
two teammates from a professional or amateur sports team are asked
questions about each other in a Newlywed Game-style format.
A classy network farewell
Despite the show's (and Eubanks)' reputation for pushing the envelope,
the ABC finale on Friday, December 20, 1974 saw the emcee deliver one of
the most emotional farewells in game show history:
"And now, on our last show of the current series of The
Newlywed Game, on behalf of the staff at Chuck Barris Productions, I'd
like to thank all of our viewers for your loyal support. And, in addition,
I want to send along a special appreciation to the almost 10,000 young
newlywed couples who joined us on this stage, and whose great spirits and
good humor...(voice trembling) made the past 8 1/2 years a real pleasure.
(Pause) I can't say it. Thank you very much."
After a brief flash of the sponsor credits, the camera cut to the
stage, where the Chuck Barris Productions staff (later joined by The
Newlyweds) was trimming a Christmas tree to the tune of Leroy Anderson's Sleigh