Michael Bolton makes ‘The Celebrity Dating Game’ tuneful

Veteran singer-songwriter co-hosts updated ABC contest

Michael Bolton

When it came to “The Celebrity Dating Game,” Michael Bolton knew what he was getting into.

“I was a fan of the show when I was a kid,” says the veteran music star, a co-host (with Zooey Deschanel) and an executive producer of the contest update now airing Mondays on ABC. “We’ve all been seeing these reboots, new versions of classic shows, and they seem to be working quite well for people. And ABC (also the home of the original 1965-73 “Dating Game”), specifically, was quite excited about doing this one.”

Bolton knows “The Dating Game” serviced some celebrities-to-be in its initial years: “Farrah Fawcett definitely was on it, because I’d done my homework before I said, ‘I’m in.’ Sally Field, Ron Howard, Arnold Schwarzenegger … Steve Martin was a contestant on the show, in the middle of two other guys who were vying for a date. He was so funny, I knew he was going to get picked.

“I like the idea of the celebrities here being athletes, ex-athletes, stars from a lot of different genres of television and film, just a lot of really talented people,” Bolton adds. “A couple of them, I knew and loved, and I didn’t want to give away that someone extra-special had just walked onto the set. And when you least expect it, somebody goes way off the chart.”

Bolton is happy to be part of the result in contouring famous songs, including some of his own, to suit the “Celebrity Dating Game” occasion. “I think I’m in a position to have fun,” he reasons, “and to say ‘No’ if the music is not comfortable for me.”

Michael Bolton

Michael Bolton

Birthdate: Feb. 26, 1953

Birthplace: New Haven, Conn.

Current residence: Los Angeles

Marital status: Divorced; has three daughters and six grandchildren

Other television credits include: “Two and a Half Men,” “Glee,” “Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special,” “Fresh Off the Boat”

Movie credits include: “Meet Wally Sparks,” “Snow Dogs,” “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” (voice only)

Hit singles include: “That’s What Love Is All About,” “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay,” “Soul Provider,” “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” “How Can We Be Lovers?,” “When I’m Back on My Feet Again,” “Love Is a Wonderful Thing,” “Time, Love and Tenderness,” “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Missing You Now,” “Steel Bars,” “To Love Somebody,” “Said I Loved You … But I Lied”

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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