It’s back: ABC announced Monday that The Gong Show will return.
The unconventional variety show, which originally ran from 1976 to 1978 on NBC — and had later runs as a first-run syndication program before going off the air for good in 1989 — has been picked up for 10 episodes and will be executive produced by Will Arnett and his Electric Avenue Productions, along with Den of Thieves and Principato Young Entertainment.
Each episode will feature unique performers originally found on the Internet, and a revolving panel of celebrity judges will make the final calls (and of course, strike the gong if need be).
“ABC has tapped into the nostalgia and excitement of primetime game shows,” Rob Mills, senior vice president, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night programming said in a press release. “We are thrilled to add The Gong Show to ABC’s schedule spearheaded by the incomparable Will Arnett.”
Arnett won’t be hosting the show, but he joins ABC’s star-studded list of Hollywood faces making their way back to the small screen in the form of game shows. ABC currently features Celebrity Family Feud with Steve Harvey, The $100,000 Pyramid with Michael Strahan, and Match Game with Alec Baldwin on Sunday nights.
“The comedy culture we are living in has finally caught up to The Gong Show, so the timing is perfect,” said Holly Jacobs, executive vice president of reality and syndication programming for Sony Pictures television in a press release. “We’ve just found the right partners to bring back this iconic original.”
The original version of The Gong Show was hosted by Chuck Barris and aired on NBC from 1976-1978, before later becoming a hit in syndication. Overall, more than 500 episodes of The Gong Show were produced before it went off the air in 1989. The series is best remembered for bringing talent such as “The Unknown Comic” and “Gene Gene the Dancing Machine” into the pop culture zeitgeist.