Chuck Barris

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Chuck Barris on The Gong Show, 1976

Chuck Barris (born Charles Hirsch Barris on June 3, 1929) is an American game show creator, producer, and host. He is best known as the creator of many popular television game shows. Some of his most famous shows were The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show. These shows appeared on American television from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s.

Early career[change | change source]

Early in his career, Barris tried songwriting. One of his songs, "Palisades Park", was a hit record for Freddy Cannon, a popular singer.

Barris got his start in television as a page and later staffer at NBC in New York, and eventually worked backstage at the TV music show American Bandstand.

Barris was promoted to the daytime programming division at ABC in Los Angeles and was put in charge of deciding which game shows ABC would air. Before long, Barris admitted to his bosses that he disliked all the shows he was given to choose from, and believed he could make better ones. They suggested that he quit his programming job and become a show producer himself.

Game Show Career[change | change source]

Barris first became successful during 1965 with his first game show creation The Dating Game on ABC. The next year Barris began The Newlywed Game.

He went on to create several other short-lived games for ABC in the 1960s and for syndication in the 1970s, all of which revolved around a common theme: the game play normally derived its interest (and oftentimes, humor) from the excitement, vulnerability, embarrassment, or anger of female contestants or participants in the game.

Barris became a public figure in a big way in 1976, when he produced - and served as the host of the talent contest spoof The Gong Show, which he packaged in partnership with TV producer Chris Bearde. The show's cult stature far outstripped the two years it spent on NBC (1976-78) and the four years it ran in syndication (1976-1980).

Later years[change | change source]

After The Gong Show went off the air, Barris kept a lower profile, but still worked in television. In the 1980s, he published a memoir, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Barris claimed in the book to have been a CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) agent and assassin, who regretted his earlier life. He also regretted making "puerile" television shows, that catered to poor taste. It was republished in the 1990s.

Many people believe Confessions does not tell a true story. Others are not sure if it is fact or fiction. Some, including celebrities who knew Barris, do not know or care, and enjoy his stories as entertainment. The CIA itself denies Barris ever worked for them.

George Clooney made Confessions into a movie, starring Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore and Julia Roberts.

Other websites[change | change source]