Celebrities — they’re just like us! Except they’ve had their own high-end equivalent of The Dating Game, the game show created by Chuck Barris in the 1960s, in which the general public try to pair off without actually seeing each other. (That is, unless you count Paul Reubens crashing the show in Pee-wee Herman guise, before Pee-wee was a known entity.) But that changes now. Variety reports that a celebrity version of the classic show is in the works — called, of course, The Celebrity Dating Game — and it will be hosted by no less than Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton.
It’s kind of Mad Libs casting, but Deschanel is fun and the super-soft rock singer has been leaning into the jokey parody version of himself for the last few years, even if he did get rid of his iconic mullet ages ago. Will it be awkward forcing famous people to pair off? How quickly will it take to get to Grade-Z celebs? We’ll find out when ABC airs the eight hour-long episodes it just ordered.
When it arrives, it will be the fifth iteration of Barris’ game show, which was his first. (He later created The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show, as well as wrote the book Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, in which he claimed he secretly worked as a CIA assassin. George Clooney turned it into a movie in 2002, starring Sam Rockwell.) The first Dating Game bowed in 1965 and ran through 1973, first in daytime and later in primetime. It came back in the late ‘70s, again in the mid ‘80s, and one more time in the mid-to-late ‘90s. But this will be the first time it paired of celebrities, as well as featured a guy known for cheesy ballads.