In some perhaps unsurprising news, ABC will reportedly not be bringing back the game-show stalwart Match Game, hosted by Alec Baldwin. Rather than look for a new anchor to fill the actor’s shoes, they are apparently canceling the show outright.
As Variety noted, the future of Match Game was a “source of speculation” following the tragic incident in which a prop gun Baldwin was holding led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the independent film Rust last year. However, the trade paper contended that “ABC’s decision to cancel ‘Match Game’ is not related to that incident” and new episodes have not been filmed since the since 2020, before the start of the pandemic. The last time episodes aired was in summer 2021, according to Deadline.
Baldwin representatives did not immediately respond to a V.F. request for comment over the weekend.
Baldwin first began hosting Match Game in 2016 and served as the show’s executive producer. The perennial quiz program, in which contestants pair with celebrities and try to figure out fill-in-the-blank phrases, has been on and off the air since 1962. The original host was Gene Rayburn. In the 1970s, the great Charles Nelson Reilly held court as a regular celebrity guest. And, of course, the premise reached its zenith as a copycat segment on RuPaul’s Drag Race as Snatch Game.
The celebrity guests on Baldwin’s iteration of Match Game have covered a broad spectrum of pop culture, including everyone from Michael Che, Cheryl Hines, Jason Alexander, and Caitlyn Jenner, to Ice-T, J.B. Smoove, Ellie Kemper, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Baldwin was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy as Best Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program in 2017.
While a family-friendly game show on American television, particularly a network owned by Disney, is not in his future, Baldwin does have other projects lined up. He’s begun production on two Christmas movies with his brother William Baldwin and Italian producers in Rome. Billie’s Magic Word and Kid Santa will be live-action/animation hybrids, both directed by Francesco Cinquemani. The Italian filmmaker previously worked with William on the 2021 movie The Christmas Witch (also in the cast: Tom Arnold) and with Alec on the 2015 sci-fi picture Andron: The Black Labrynth. It is unclear if either film ever opened in the United States, but The Christmas Witch did okay for itself, earning over $9 million at the box office, almost all of it from Italy.
Baldwin also launched a true crime podcast in February, Art Fraud, which he narrates.
Elsewhere in his life, however, there is considerable tumult. The actor filed a court claim in March stating that his contract on Rust, on which he served as a producer as well as co-star, prevents him from being held financially responsible for Hutchins’s death. In February, Hutchins’s family listed Baldwin among other names in a wrongful-death lawsuit.
On a more positive note, Hilaria Baldwin, Alec’s wife, announced this week that she is with child. This will be the couple’s seventh. Hilaria’s Instagram video breaking the news shows the Baldwin brood romping around the carpet, as Alec hovers over them, taking a knee. (I have watched this clip numerous times, and I simply can’t tell if there is a stool or small chair involved. Maybe you can.) Surf Mesa and Emilee Flood’s “ily (i love you baby),” which reworks Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” plays in the background.
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