Newswire: R.I.P. Chuck Barris

Variety reports that Chuck Barris, the man who helped find the subversive, human side of the modern game show, has died. Barris—a songwriter, producer, author, and the paradoxically camera-shy TV host of The Gong Show—was 87.

Originally a songwriter, Barris’ biggest hit was “Pallisades Park,” which he wrote for Freddy Cannon in 1962. At the same time, he was also working his way into TV, starting at ABC as a standards and practices man—an irony, given his later battles with network censors. After reviewing the game show offerings the network was fielding, Barris promptly decided he could do a better job, quitting his job to found Chuck Barris Productions in 1965. The company’s first success, The Dating Game, would establish a principle that would define Barris’ career (not to mention the million reality TV producers who would follow in his footsteps): Human beings are naturally funny …

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