ABC has greenlighted a reboot of a show that is one of the landmarks of the talent competition genre and one of the oddest shows in the archives of classic TV. The network announced it’s developing a new version of “The Gong Show” with Will Arnett executive producing.
The original “Gong Show,” which premiered on NBC in 1976 and bounced around various time slots, was hosted by Chuck Barris and spotlighted unusual acts — often featuring dubious talent — along with absurdist humor.
The show, which was known for its run-ins with the censors, also had a run in syndication, with its classic era lasting until 1980. Frequent celebrity panelists included Rip Taylor, Phyllis Diller, Jamie Farr and Jaye P. Morgan.
It sounds as though ABC plans to tap into the original spirit of the show, with the network’s announcement declaring that “every episode will celebrate un-traditionally talented, unique performers plucked from the Internet and put on a primetime stage. A revolving panel of judges featuring Hollywood’s hottest stars praise, critique and gong contestants in one of TV’s all-time great variety shows.”
Holly Jacobs, executive vice president, Reality and Syndication Programming for Sony Pictures Television, added: “The comedy culture we are living in has finally caught up to ‘The Gong Show,’ so the timing is perfect. We’ve found just the right partners to bring back this iconic original.”
Along with actor and comedian Arnett, who will executive produce through his Electric Avenue Productions, the project comes from Den of Thieves and Principato Young Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television.
Evan Prager, Jesse Ignjatovic and Peter Principato are also executive producing, with Jared Morell, Jordan Barrow and Marc Forman co-executive producing.
Here’s a taste of the original “Gong Show” …