Before the Kardashians were the Kennedys; before GPS was the road atlas; and before Netflix and chill there were game shows. For generations, friends and families have crowded around the television to try their hand at trivia, guess the next vowel, and hope there’s a car behind door number two.
Game shows have long been a beloved part of the television landscape, with hosts and contestants alike—from Alex Trebek to the Dating Game Killer—gaining celebrity among viewers playing along at home. But we watch them for more than the people on screen.
As hokey as they can be, game shows bring people together, and gathering around the tube with loved ones feels like tapping into the traditions of those before us. Classic game shows are relics of a time when hopeful game players, charming hosts, and a soft pastel set design were all that we needed for an evening’s entertainment. But which shows are still most popular, and where?
To find out, we turned to online search interest. Using a list of 20 classic game shows, we explored Google search trends over the last 12 months for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. We determined clear winners for the most popular game show in each state, the most popular classic game show overall, and how many states searched that show the most. Read on to see what timeless game show is the big winner in your state!
The Top Searched Classic Game Show in Every State
Out of the 20 shows we included in this study, 18 of them took home the money in at least one state. Viewers in Alabama and Louisiana liked the risk of a blind trade with Let’s Make a Deal, while Coloradans kept their lips sealed with I’ve Got a Secret. In Arizona and Delaware, viewers filled in the blanks with Match Game, and Arkansans got lucky with Jackpot. Washington, D.C. residents asked What’s My Line?, while the answer to Who Wants to be a Millionaire? came from Montanans. Fans in Oregon tuned into Hollywood Squares for the celebrity zingers, and Mainers loaded their shopping carts with Supermarket Sweep. And in California and Washington, viewers said “I do” to The Newlywed Game.
Search interest wasn’t on the side of Battle of the Network Stars, despite celebrity contestants and multiple attempts at a series revival since the show’s original conclusion in 1988. And while shows like The Bachelor and Love Island may have usurped The Dating Game in televising searches for love, we were surprised to see such low interest in the show given its ties to a notorious serial killer and the successful true crime podcast covering his story. Perhaps today’s viewers are looking for game shows with more money and less murder…
The Most Popular Classic Game Show Overall
When it comes to the most popular classic game shows overall, old favorites remain television treasures. Family Feud came out on top, ranking number one for search interest in ten states, including Georgia, Maryland, and New Jersey—even after a year of just a bit too much time with family for many Americans! Name That Tune, The Price is Right, and Wheel of Fortune collected seven states each. We were surprised to find that Jeopardy! only ranked first in three states—Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont—following the passing of longtime and cherished host Alex Trebek. In lieu of immediately naming a replacement, showrunners announced a rotating cast of notable guest hosts, including former champion Ken Jennings, actor LeVar Burton, and Greenbay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
While we look to the future for a safer, healthier world, classic game shows are a way for today’s Americans to simply delight in a piece of the past. And with increased opportunity for safe socializing, this kind of wholesome entertainment may be a way to gather friends and family of all ages. You never really outgrow the classics, but you or someone you love may have outgrown the usefulness of a life insurance policy. Contact the folks at Coventry Direct to find out if you qualify to sell your policy today!