“Starcade” & “Love Connection” Revivals In The Works

It sort of feels like the 1980s again with pending return of the first-ever arcade game show Starcade and the once-popular syndicated relationship game show Love Connection. Earlier this week, Shout! Factory announced its acquisition to to the worldwide television and ancillary rights to Starcade from JM Productions and show creators James Caruso and Mavis E. Arthur, and FOX has ordered a season of its incarnation of Love Connection with Andy Cohen as the new host.

The Starcade deal was struck by Shout’s Jeremy Whitman and James Caruso, the show’s original executive producer. Caruso and Arthur said, “We’re thrilled to be part of this Starcade revival. We look forward to bringing the show back for all those avid Starcaders who have been waiting for years, as well as a new class of gaming heroes. Game on!”

The original series first aired in 1982 on WTBS (now TBS) in an attempt to capitalize the budding popularity of video arcade games. Although the pilots were hosted by former ice hockey player Mike Eruzione and Alex Trebek, Starcade was hosted by Mark Richards and later on by Geoff Edwards, following Richards’ departure 23 episodes into the first season. Besides being the first-ever video arcade game show, what made Starcade a memorable show was the impressive showcase of games – old and new – that were available to the contestants to play, the fact that contestants could win their very own upright cabinet arcade game (or a robot, depending on the episode) and when Geoff Edwards, one of the most underrated emcees in game show history, took the helm. Prior to hosting the show, Edwards had no prior knowledge or interests in video games until he signed on as host and ferociously studied and played any and every video game available. Edwards often showed his video game prowess by offering helpful hints to the contestants before they played and managed to beat one of the tougher arcade games, Sinistar. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that the show’s potential success hinges on obtaining host who has a love for and a respectable knowledge of video games. Check out a few full episodes of Starcade on the official website created by the producers of the show.

Moving onto Love Connection, FOX has ordered 15 episodes of its own version of the once-popular syndicated dating game show that combined classic romance with modern-day technology. Andy Cohen, host of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, will be the host/co-executive producer and Mike Fleiss will executive produce the summer revival. The network will pretty much stay true to the original format while featuring three single candidates go on a blind date in each hourlong episode. This version will also feature “all version of couples, including same-sex pairings”. Cohen is excited about hosting the upcoming series by saying, “I was a huge fan of the original Love Connection, and hosting the new version allows me to do one of the things I love most: meddling in people’s personal lives.” The Love Connection revival is a co-production between original producers Telepictures Productions and Warner Horizon Television.

Running for 12 seasons and over 2,000 episodes, Love Connection gives a guest a chance to go on a date with one of three single candidates based on their video profiles. Afterwards, the couple returns to the show to discuss the details of the date. Depending on how the audience voted and whether the date went well or not, the guest will have an opportunity to go on another date with their selected candidate at the show’s expense or even pick one of the other two selections if the date did not go well. Chuck Woolery hosted the series in its first run from from 1983-1994 and Tom Bullard hosted the one-and-done revival in 1998-1999.

Andy Cohen is a spectacular choice in host for the series – far better than Tom Bullard in the previous revival to follow Woolery. He is an accomplished, award-winning emcee who is always fully energy and is guaranteed to leave all of his guests thoroughly amused and entertained. I’m feeling good about the first 21st-century edition of Love Connection. Take a look at a classic episode from 1988 in the video below.

Sources: Deadline Hollywood, The Hollywood Reporter, YouTube
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