On television, the year 1966 saw a number of noteworthy events. One such event took place on July 11, 1966, when the ABC television network premiered The Newlywed Game. In this American game show, Newlywed couples competed in a series of revealing question rounds to discover which couple knew the most about each other.
While their partners were backstage, newlywed husbands and wives would take turns answering questions. Following their answers, the spouses would be asked the same questions again, with points awarded if their answers matched their spouse’s. The couple with the most points would be awarded a prize.
The Newlywed Game was the last U.S. commercial network series to premiere in black and white when it premiered on the ABC television network. However, by the end of 1966, shortly before the primetime version began, it had changed to color.
CBS preempted its hit show Password on the day it premiered to cover a news conference conducted by then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. The press conference was postponed by half an hour, and ABC decided to wait until the press conference started. Instead, ABC chose to screen the premiere of The Newlywed Game, which was watched by the majority of Americans.
As a result, The Newlywed Game was able to gain a modest advantage over the long-running show Password in the head-to-head rating battle.
The Newlywed Game grew in popularity over the next several months. It became a hit while Password’s ratings began to decline, finally leading to the series’ discontinuation fourteen months later.
The triumph of The Newlywed Game brought a great improvement to ABC, who had been struggling with ratings and profitability up until that point.
Since its premiere in 1966, the show, which was conceived by Nick Nicholson and Roger E. Muir and produced by Chuck Barris, has been reincarnated many times.