Jay Leno returns to daily television with ‘You Bet Your Life’

Reboot of former Groucho Marx show debuts in syndication

Jay Leno

Once a popular series leaves the air, it isn’t necessarily forever … and that’s particularly true of game shows.

In recent years, there’s been a real renaissance of that format, especially with ABC getting back into the (forgive us) game by reviving numerous contests for its “Summer Fun & Games” concept. Syndication also has been a big market for such revivals, and it’s about to offer another example proving what’s old is new again.

“You Bet Your Life” nominally was a game, but it also was a showcase for host Groucho Marx to bounce wisecracks off contestants (and, sometimes, off announcer George Fenneman as well). The show’s television rebirth in weekday syndication Monday, Sept. 13, will service another comedy star known for humorous interactions: Jay Leno is taking the reins of the new “You Bet Your Life,” reportedly incorporating some elements from his “Tonight Show,” with his former “Tonight” bandleader Kevin Eubanks by his side again.

Comedy stars generally have fared well as game-show-reboot hosts, and here are some other examples.

Steve Harvey: The comedian-actor-author has had a long run as the latest survey revealer on “Family Feud,” also parlaying that into “Celebrity Family Feud.”

Drew Carey: Succeeding “The Price Is Right” legend Bob Barker was no easy task, but Carey’s popular tenure is heading into the current daytime version’s 50th-anniversary season.

Wayne Brady: Keeping the flame for series originator Monty Hall on “Let’s Make a Deal,” Brady also continues as a regular on the pseudo-game “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” 

Alec Baldwin: The often-comedic actor has spent several years holding the same style of stick microphone used by predecessor Gene Rayburn on the current iteration of “Match Game.”

Anthony Anderson: Concurrent with his run on the hit sitcom “black-ish,” Anderson — along with his “Mama Doris” — has been presiding over “To Tell the Truth.”

Joel McHale: Known for his snark, the “Community” alum has been helping players play the odds on “Card Sharks.”

Zooey Deschanel: The former “New Girl” star has presided over “The Celebrity Dating Game” lately, sharing those duties with a frequently crooning Michael Bolton.

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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