Hollywood Game Night
Hollywood Game Night is an American television game show currently airing on NBC. The series, which is hosted by Jane Lynch, premiered on July 11, 2013. The game follows two contestants who take part in a casual game night with three celebrities each, making the main episode a game between two four-player teams. Five games are played on each episode, with teams accumulating points based on their performance in each of the games. After the fifth game, the contestant on the team with the most points competes in a bonus round with one of the episode's celebrities. The chosen celebrity plays for a chance to win $10,000 for a charity of his or her choice, while the contestants compete to win $25,000.
|Hollywood Game Night|
|Presented by||Jane Lynch|
|Starring||Dean Butterworth (Bandleader)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||64 (as of May 23, 2019)|
|Production location(s)||Universal Studios|
Universal City, California
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||July 11, 2013 –|
The series has generally received positive critical reception and earned relatively modest television ratings, while also inspiring several worldwide adaptions, as well as a party game and mobile app based on the show. The series' sixth season premiered on November 21, 2018. The series has been honored with several awards nominations, winning the Writers Guild of America Award for Quiz and Audience Participation for three consecutive years. Lynch, meanwhile, has also been recognized for her performance as host, earning three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program and winning twice.
Two teams of four players each (consisting of three celebrities and one contestant) play a series of games. The contestant is designated captain of the team. In season five, some episodes are "Show Vs. Show" specials, where each team consists of cast members of a specific show. For example, the first episode of season five was Veep vs. The Walking Dead.
Five total games are played on each episode. Within each game, teams attempt to score points for their team, with one point awarded for each correct response in rounds one and two, and two points per correct answer in rounds three and four. The fifth and final game awards five points per correct answer, with the team in the lead going first. If both contestants are tied prior to the fifth and final game, then the contestant who won the last game goes first. The contestant with the most points at the end of play wins the game and advances to the $25,000 bonus round. When both contestants are tied at the end of the game, the contestant who wins more games will advance to the bonus round.
Games vary in complexity and subject. Some games require teams to answer questions based upon photographs of celebrities, television programs, or films, while others ask teams to place items in categories or order items based upon a chronological scale. Others feature the teams to identify the brand of grocery products based on pictures of the product or to match pictures to audio clues played for the team. Several other games are based on wordplay, requiring teams to identify subjects for which the vowels have been removed, titles in which the order of words has been shuffled, or titles and phrases which are displayed in a language other than English. Games for which a time limit is involved are typically played for 90 seconds.
Bonus round: Celebrity Name GameEdit
In the bonus round, "Celebrity Name Game", the winning contestant chooses one of the six celebrities as their partner. (Beginning in season three, this was changed to two celebrities, one from each team.) The chosen celebrity begins describing a different celebrity as best they can. For every celebrity the winning contestant identifies correctly, the contestant earns $1,000 and the celebrity receives $1,000 for his or her charity. If the contestant guesses ten celebrities correctly within 90 seconds, the contestant's winnings are increased to $25,000 and the celebrity partner(s) wins $10,000 for his or her charity.
On August 1, 2011, NBC announced that they were developing a series under the name Celebrity Game Night. This project's name was changed to Hollywood Game Night when it was ordered and greenlit on December 18, 2012. In February 2013, it was announced that Jane Lynch would host the show. The first season of Hollywood Game Night premiered on July 11, 2013.
Created by actor/producer Sean Hayes and producer Todd Milliner, the show was inspired by real-life cocktail party-style game nights held by Hayes and Milliner. "Sean Hayes, the creator of the series, has these notorious game nights that are so much fun, that a variety of people go to because he has a lot of interesting people in his life," Lynch told The Huffington Post. "And he said 'Let's put it on TV,' and NBC said, 'OK!' Before I knew it, I was hosting it, and we rented this mansion that is, ostensibly, mine, and we put couches in there and we got everybody tanked up on booze and we played these games."
On August 20, 2013, NBC renewed Hollywood Game Night for a ten-episode second season. The program's second season began with a Christmas episode that aired on December 23, 2013. Regularly scheduled episodes then premiered on January 20, 2014, and aired on Mondays until February 3. The rest of the season's episodes were aired on Thursdays, from February 27 to July 24. The season was soon extended, with the eleventh episode airing on April 17. The season includes fifteen new party games as well as some from the previous season.
NBC announced on May 11, 2014 that Hollywood Game Night would return for a third season. Season three began airing on July 7. After season three's conclusion, a New Year's Eve-themed live episode of Hollywood Game Night, New Year’s Eve Game Night, was broadcast by NBC on December 31, 2015, replacing the primetime hour of New Year's Eve with Carson Daly. Andy Cohen hosted, as Lynch was unable to participate due to other commitments.
Season four premiered on January 5, 2016. Season four episodes aired on Tuesdays at 8 pm beginning January 5, 2016 until February 23 of the same year. The show returned with a new episode on March 13, 2016, in its new time slot of 10 pm Eastern Time. On March 30, NBC pulled the show from its Sunday night schedule, with one unaired episode remaining from the fourth season, which aired on July 28, 2016.
On May 15, 2016, NBC announced plans to renew the series for a fifth season set to debut sometime during the 2016–17 television season. Originally set to premiere on August 7, 2017, the season debut was eventually moved up to June 22 of that year. Including its season premiere, the series' fifth season ran for ten episodes, concluding on September 6, 2017. Season five also added a "backyard" set (actually a studio set decorated to appear to be outdoors). At least one game per show, requiring more space than the original "great room" set could provide, is played in the "backyard".
On March 19, 2018, NBC renewed the series for a sixth season with 13 episodes. A special episode of Hollywood Game Night aired on May 24, 2018, as part of NBC's evening of programming in support of the Red Nose Day charity.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||July 11, 2013||August 29, 2013|
|2||20||December 23, 2013||July 24, 2014|
|3||10||July 7, 2015||September 8, 2015|
|4||12||January 5, 2016||July 28, 2016|
|5||10||June 22, 2017||September 6, 2017|
|6||13||November 21, 2018||May 23, 2018|
The show received little advance press, but The Atlantic's Esther Zuckerman was excited at the prospect of celebrities being a part of the show, writing, "Even with everything left unanswered, we're going to give a point to NBC on this one. The mix of celebrities just seems too good to be true." After its premiere, it was reviewed positively by Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times, who said, "Fast-paced, with a certain 'learn-as-you-go' air, the premiere episode...supplied a nice number of laughs and the inevitable angsty moments of group competition." Ed Bark, a former television critic at The Dallas Morning News, gave Hollywood Game Night a "B-minus" grade, arguing that "as a silly summertime lark, HGN pretty much hits it out of the park on opening night." Entertainment Weekly's Annie Barrett argued that the show "makes you feel like a genius" and saying "I've never felt smarter in my life." Writing before the season three premiere, The Washington Post's Hank Stuever opined that while "Few things on television could seem more pleasingly old-fashioned and simply entertaining" than the series, it "also serves as another reminder that we live in a sad, unimaginative era of acquiescence to celebrity status."
Hollywood Game Night's ratings were first or tied for first in its timeslot for all eight episodes of season one. The first season averaged 3.7 million viewers; the series premiere was watched by 4.29 million viewers, though the ratings progressively declined, with the season finale only garnering 2.82 million viewers. During the second season, the viewership average over twenty episodes was 3.92 million; the fourth episode of the season set a series high with 5.495 viewers. The series' ten-episode third season saw an average of 4.64 million viewers. In season four, Hollywood Game Night averaged 3.767 million viewers over twelve episodes, with the ratings decreasing slightly as the season progressed. In its fifth season, the series averaged 4.1 million viewers over ten episodes.
|2014||Writers Guild of America||Quiz and Audience Participation||Hollywood Game Night||Won|||
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program||Jane Lynch||Won|||
|2015||Writers Guild of America||Quiz and Audience Participation||Hollywood Game Night||Won|||
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program||Jane Lynch||Won|||
|2016||Writers Guild of America||Quiz and Audience Participation||Hollywood Game Night||Won|||
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program||Jane Lynch||Nominated|||
The series' popularity has led it to become a worldwide franchise, having been recreated in several other countries outside of the United States. Versions of Hollywood Game Night have existed in Armenia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
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