This Was Television On December 20

1965: The Dating Game debuts

The godfather of an array of matchmaking game shows and reality shows to follow, The Dating Game aired on ABC from 1965-73 before shifting to syndication in several other incarnations throughout the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. The show attracted a surprising number of contestants who later became Hollywood stars, including Farrah Fawcett, Tom Selleck, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Steve Martin. Originally hosted by Jim Lange, The Dating Game is the rare show best remembered instead for its producer, Chuck Barris—who claimed, in his autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, that the program was a front for his work as a CIA secret agent. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Michael Badalucco, attorney (58); Joel Gretsch, alien abductee (49); Dick Wolf, Lawgiver (66).

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