We should be clear, right up top, that the Alec Baldwin-hosted iteration of long-running panel show Match Game had not been an active going concern at ABC for at least a year at this point; the series hadn’t made new episodes since 2020, and the few installments that aired in 2021 were leftovers from that earlier batch. That being said: Is there a less shocking cancellation in all of TV news than hearing this weekend that the network won’t be going forward with another season of the Baldwin-fronted show?
Match Game is, per Variety, one of a handful of the network’s game shows that got the axe yesterday, departing alongside the Joel McHale-hosted Card Sharks reboot, Celebrity Dating Game, and The Hustler, the trivia/deception game hosted by Craig Ferguson. But none of those shows, obviously, carried the baggage that Match Game has been laboring under for the last six months, after Baldwin was involved in an incident with a firearm on the set of the low-budget Western Rust that ended in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Alec Baldwin will, presumably, begin working in Hollywood again at some point. But it will not be as the cheerful host of a largely ad-libbed comedy program in which celebrities try to say funny or outrageous things, because Jesus Christ, can you even imagine?
Like most networks, ABC tends to turn to game shows—nice, cheap, uncontroversial game shows—during its summer programming blocks. Card Sharks, for instance, was revived with McHale as host in June 2019. Celebrity Dating Game, meanwhile, was on the air for only a single season, and feels very Is It Cake?-esque in how much it sounds like one of those fake shows from Baldwin’s 30 Rock. For those who didn’t watch: Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton team up to make famous people pretend to date regular schmucks, who then have to guess who the famous is? Bolton sometimes does parody songs to give people clues? They made 8 episodes? What the fuck?
Variety notes that it wasn’t all cancellation news; Celebrity Family Feud, Press Your Luck, and The $100,000 Pyramid are all expected to return for new seasons.