If all goes well, the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games will begin broadcasting on NBC in late July. This gives ample time for ABC to take the lead for summer programming once again with its slate of game shows and unscripted entertainment which begins the first week in June. ABC has learned a few things the last couple of summers introducing a variety of different unscripted programs, but their biggest win to date is Holey Moley. Last summer, the show was the No. 1 most co-viewed summer series on the broadcast networks.
This year, ABC will introduce three new shows to sit alongside 11 favorites beginning in June. The new shows are The Celebrity Dating Game, When Nature Calls and The Ultimate Surfer, which all sound questionable but if Pooch Perfect can be considered a hit, these probably will be too.
(Debuts Friday, June 4)
I really liked this Luke Wilson-hosted docudrama that premiered last summer. It highlights what it’s like to work at a 911 dispatch. 911 call takers from Austin, Texas; Ogden, Utah; New Orleans, Louisiana; Wasilla, Alaska; and Waukesha, Wisconsin, receive calls that will keep one on the edge of their seat. Unlike FOX’s 9-1-1, Emergency Call is all real documenting the first few crucial minutes of emergencies told through the lens of America’s heroic 911 call takers.
Celebrity Family Feud, The Chase and To Tell the Truth (Debuts Sunday, June 6)
If you’ve seen Celebrity Family Feud, you know that it is a bit edgier than the earlier daytime versions of the show that we grew up with. Hosted by Steve Harvey, Celebrity Family Feud has celebrities along with their families go head-to-head in a contest to name the most popular responses to survey-type questions for a chance to win money for a charity of their choice.
The Chase is a quiz show where three competitors face off against the Chaser, a ruthless quiz genius determined to stop them from winning cash prizes. Each episode is a fast-paced battle of brainpower, where contestants are challenged to think faster than they ever thought possible to answer up to 166 questions across all topics. Sara Haines hosts.
Anthony Anderson’s To Tell the Truth is the funny re-imagination of the beloved game show that features prominent pop-culture icons and unique commentary and banter from Anderson’s mother, Mama Doris. In each round, the panel is presented with three people who all claim to be the same person with the same incredible talent, job or achievement, but only one is sworn to tell the truth.
(Debuts Monday, June 7)
Yes, it’s a hit show about a woman trying to find love in a sea of men with the goal of finding one worth marrying in a matter of days, but that doesn’t mean that it is a good show. Don’t waste your time. You’ve got better things to do.
Press Your Luck, The $100,000,000 Pyramid and Card Sharks (Debuts on Wednesday, June 9)
Elizabeth Banks is a great host for Press Your Luck, but I just don’t understand the appeal of yelling “No Whammies!” ABC calls the show “a game of wits, strategy and even higher stakes” but unlike other game shows, this one is a game of chance and wishful thinking rather than strategy.
Michael Strahan is back as host of The $100,000 Pyramid, the timeless word-association game in which two celebrities and their partners face off in a race against the clock to make it to the winner’s circle and take home $100,000.
Hosted by Joel McHale, Card Sharks is a suspenseful game where a fortune can be won on the turn of a single playing card. Two players face off in a head-to-head elimination game with the goal of one player making it to the life-changing money card round.
The Celebrity Dating Game
(Debuts on Monday, June 14)
This one is an odd one. Hosted by Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton, The Celebrity Dating Game offers a wry wink at modern dating with a star-studded roster of celebrity singles from television, music, comedy, reality TV and feature film in their pursuit to find love. Offering the same iconic feel as the original classic dating show, each episode follows two celebrities who each pick one lucky suitor from a hidden panel of three bachelors and/or bachelorettes based on answers to a variety of questions. But there’s a twist! The celebrity identities will remain a mystery to their suitors, who are given clues via parody song performances by host Michael Bolton.
When Nature Calls, Holey Moley and The Hustler
(Debuts on Thursday, June 17)
I like animals, but I’m not sure about When Nature Calls (a working title for the show), but kids will probably love it. The show aims to look at the lighter side of the natural world. Apparently, we’ll be surprised by what comes out of the mouths of majestic beasts, teeny-tiny frogs, beatboxing badgers and more .
ABC’s wackiest extreme mini-golf competition series Holey Moley returns for season three as Holey Moley 3D in 2D. The first-of-its-kind mini-golf competition showcases self-proclaimed miniature-golf lovers from around the country as they compete head-to-head through a series of matchups on an unparalleled, epic obstacle golf course. Returning are on-camera color commentating duo Rob Riggle and Joe Tessitore, sideline correspondent Jeannie Mai as well as executive producer and resident golf pro Stephen Curry..
In a super marketing plan, Holey Moley will be followed by The Hustler, one of the smartest new game shows to come around in years. Hosted by Craig Ferguson, each episode follows five contestants as they collaborate to answer a series of 10 trivia questions worth $10,000 each, with the goal of building a collective prize pot that increases with each correct answer. The catch? One of the five contestants, the Hustler, already knows the answers because every question is inspired by his/her life and interests but must keep their identity a secret in order to have a shot at winning the grand prize.
Bachelor in Paradise and The Ultimate Surfer
(Debuts Monday, August 16)
Postponed last season due to the pandemic, Bachelor in Paradise aims to “bring back sizzling summer nights” for the first time in two years. Yeah, still no.
However, The Ultimate Surfer might be worth watching. It is determined to gather some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming surfers to train and live together as they battle it out at the World Surf League’s state-of-the-art Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, powered by Kelly Slater’s human-made wave technology, in the hope of competing amongst the best athletes in the world’s fastest-growing sport. Slater will serve as on-air talent and special correspondent for the show.
Alliances and rivalries will be front and center in as men and women compete in individual and team challenges focused on specific surfing disciplines. Weekly eliminations will leave two men and two women as finalists who will vie for the male and female titles of the The Ultimate Surfer and the opportunity to compete on the elite WSL Championship Tour.
Main images: ABC
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.