How Classic Game Shows Have Changed Since They First Aired

    When they find the right formula, the world’s favourite game shows can go on for generations. Even to this day, game shows remain some of the heaviest hitters on broadcast TV and have also found popularity through newer mediums streamed over the internet. Naturally, a lot of game shows have changed since they first aired.

    Game Shows Today

    Before getting into specifics, it helps to understand where game shows are at today. While TV fiercely competes with streaming today, its game shows reliably bring in tens of millions of viewers every year, specifically America’s big three – The Price is Right, Jeopardy!, and Family Feud. In Britain, you can swap these for Countdown and The Chase.

    While these classic game shows always find an audience, newer ones have found their home on the internet. The internet enabled other production companies to try their hand at making a game show, best seen with Netflix’s catalogue of competitive shows. Online, websites like those in iGaming have also integrated the game show formula into their entertainment. This has more recently led to a Paddy Power branded game show, a live stream where players spin a giant wheel and can land within one of four bonus minigames. Using modern streaming tech, every member of the audience can play along instead of choosing somebody from the crowd, as is tradition.

    As technology develops, we can expect even more changes in game shows and how they function at a fundamental level. Fortunately, the most enduring game shows have proved themselves capable of changing with the times. Here are two examples of long-running game shows that have changed since they first aired.


    Countdown is the longest-running game show in the UK, airing as Channel 4’s very first programme in 1982. The wordy game show quickly became a cultural touchstone of British TV, welcoming many hosts throughout the years, but more notably giving Carol Vorderman and later Rachel Riley careers as famous mathematicians.

    The biggest shake-up for Countdown fans came from a new spin-off show that has since dwarfed the original. 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown is an unlikely merger between Jimmy Carr’s panel comedy show, combined with the familiar game style of Countdown.

    Starting as a crossover to celebrate Countdown’s 30th anniversary in 2012, it has since gone on to create a whole new fanbase while attracting viewership to the standard version too. Moments from the comedy version go viral regularly through social media, bringing international attention that the original never got. Its success surprised everyone, not least team captain Jon Richardson, as he explained during a Digital Spy interview.

    The Price is Right

    Across the pond, the US version of The Price is Right holds the record for longest-running game show of all time and has spawned many regional spinoffs, including a British version. While subtle, its basic gameplay has shifted over the years. For example, guests need to predict the price of goods, but this is subject to inflation. This creates a jarring watch when everything looks much cheaper than it is today, including the prize pots. Interestingly, analysts at Forbes have used the show to comment on monetary policy.

    In more obvious changes, the show pioneered a multi-game system that other game shows have since adopted. Naturally, many have been retired over the years due to waning popularity, while other games like Plinko became instant classics. Last year, they changed studios after 51 years, ushering in a new era for the show.

    Due to the format of the shows, their pricing games can and will change in the future to accommodate new audiences. As shopping continues to merge with online platforms, for example, it’s virtually guaranteed that more modern games will be added to represent the digital way we browse and buy goods in daily life.

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