It may have been Richard Dawson's charm on "Match Game 73" that prompted its creators 'Mark Goodson' and Bill Todman to build him a game show all his own: ABC Television's Family Feud (1976). Dawson wound up doing double duty for "Feud" and "Match Game 76 (1976)" before leaving the "Match Game 78 (1978)" panel in 1978 to devote full time to "Feud" for the next 7 seasons to 1985-1986.
Originally when the final match was played. The contestant was allowed to choose which panelist he wanted to try and match answers with him or her ($5000 on CBS-TV & $10,000 on Syndicated). In 1978, a bonus wheel (The Star Wheel) was introduced and the contestant had to spin it and whichever celebrity the wheel stopped at was the one the contestant had to match. Also if the wheel stopped on a lucky star, the prize amount would be doubled ($10,000 on CBS-TV & $20,000 on Syndicated by Jim Victory Television). On the 1st episode that the wheel was used it landed on "Richard Dawson" and all the celebrities tried to leave the set in "disgust" as Richard Dawson was usually picked by most contestants for the original Super Match round before the wheel was introduced.
Brian Billick, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, appeared on Match Game. He was at the time a college assistant coach who had been cut from an NFL team. After failing miserably in the game, Richard Dawson joked, "Failed at football. Failed at Match Game. Where will you go now?" Billick went on to coach the Ravens to a win in Super Bowl XXXV.
Initially the show played as a straight up game, as Mark Goodson didn't want it to be a comedy show within a game like NBC's Hollywood Squares. However, after one of the celebrities answered "boobs" to a question, the show went into more of a comedy direction as the show saw a big ratings increase. The new focus made it the most popular show on daytime television. It also made the show appeal to a younger, teenage demographic who came home from school, an audience that typically avoided game shows.
On 8 September 1975, a weekly prime time syndicated spin-off called Match Game PM (1975) debuted while "Match Game 75" (1975) on CBS-TV. In April 1979, it graduated from weekly to daily status when the CBS daytime version named "Match Game 79" (1979) ended on April 20, 1979.
The original "Match Game 73" game show debuted at 3:30pm (EST), Monday afternoon, June 25, 1973 on CBS Television and it sandwiched in between _"Price Is Right, The" (1972)_ and The Secret Storm (1954). The stars on the panel of the first weekday of MG73 shows were Michael Landon, Vicki Lawrence, Jack Klugman, Jo Ann Pflug, Richard Dawson and Anita Gillette. Klugman was reluctant to appear at first, but agreed on one condition: that his wife Brett Somers also appear as a panelist on a later date along with Charles Nelson Reilly & Betty White. Somers, Reilly & White are debuted on the panel of "Match Game 73" during its 4th weekday (July 16-20, 1973); little did they imagine that they would continue this duty for the next 9 seasons!
On "Match Game 79" (1979): Brianne Leary is the only person to have ever appeared on the show as a contestant and a panelist. She was a contestant before landing the role of officer Sindy Cahill on CHiPs (1977).