It’s time to guess the ‘Password’ again



Keke Palmer hosts, Jimmy Fallon plays classic game show

Jimmy Fallon and host Keke Palmer

The password is … “revival.”

As many classic television game shows are getting fresh lives through new versions, another is joining that group. With Jimmy Fallon as a principal celebrity player and an executive producer, “Password” returns to the airwaves Tuesday, Aug. 9, on NBC. Keke Palmer (also in the current movie “Nope”) is the host as one member of a two-person team tries to guess a secret word from his or her partner’s one-word clues. The top prize: $25,000.

Among highlights as the reboot launches will be Fallon going up against Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) in a round dedicated to the late Betty White, who often appeared on the original “Password” — which was hosted by her husband, Allen Ludden. Other stars competing for a win in the new episodes include Martin Short, Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”), Yvette Nicole Brown, Joel McHale, Heidi Klum, Tony Hale (“Veep”), Chelsea Handler and singer Meghan Trainor.

A second new “Password” episode is slated for Wednesday, Aug. 10. Fallon, who has utilized the show as an NBC late-night host, also is making sure its history is acknowledged. Some contestants from a “Super Password” edition NBC aired in the 1980s are being brought back to play the game again.

Originally produced by game-show titans Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, “Password” aired on all three commercial broadcast networks when there really only were three. It began on CBS in the 1960s, then was revived by ABC in the early 1970s. NBC ran two versions between 1979 and 1989; later, the show returned to CBS as “Million Dollar Password” (with Regis Philbin as host) in 2008-09.

“Password” had become iconic enough to be used in a 1972 episode of “The Odd Couple” that made Felix and Oscar (played by Tony Randall and Jack Klugman) contestants, to the eventual dismay of Ludden (who appeared as himself). It also figured into Jim Carrey’s 1996 movie comedy “The Cable Guy,” in a somewhat satirical take … but for those who want their “Password” to be the real deal, it’s back in that form for the rest of the summer.


Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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