ABC’s ‘Celeb Dating Game,’ ‘Holey Moley’ Offer Stress Relief

The Celebrity Dating Game
Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton of ‘The Celebrity Dating Game.’ (Image credit: ABC/Sami Drasin)

Mid-June is a happening time for Charles Wachter, executive producer and showrunner on ABC’s The Celebrity Dating Game, which premieres June 14, and miniature-golf show Holey Moley, which starts season three June 17. 

Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton host The Celebrity Dating Game, which ABC described as “a wry wink at modern dating with a star-studded roster of celebrity singles in their pursuit to find love.”

Singles include Taye Diggs, Iggy Azalea and Nicole Byer. They remain a mystery as a lucky bachelor/bachelorette is chosen from a hidden panel of three, based on their answers to the celebrity’s questions.

Deschanel’s work includes playing Jovie in Elf and Jessica in Fox comedy New Girl

Bolton sings what Wachter calls “parody love songs that are riddled with clues” — classic power ballads rewritten for the show. 

“His voice is unreal,” Wachter said. “He kills it.”

The Dating Game premiered on ABC in 1965. Wachter calls the reboot “a hint at nostalgia, a look back at a safer time.”

Holey Moley is back as Holey Moley 3D in 2D. The show “exists in an alternate universe where mini golf is god,” said Wachter, “where there’s no greater pursuit or passion on the planet than mini golf.”

Hoops star Steph Curry is back as golf pro and exec producer. This season, tongue planted firmly in cheek, he aims to bring mini golf to the big leagues -- seeking big-city franchises and giant stadiums as he plans on making mini golf the next big pro sport in America. 

“It’s all in the service of having a good time,” Wachter explained. 

Rob Riggle and Joe Tessitore return as color commentators. “Joe and Rob are just en fuego,” said Wachter. “They have such a fantastic rhythm with each other.”

Jeannie Mai is back as sideline correspondent.  

Wachter said Holey Moley and its contestants are relatable to viewers of all ages, as they putt for par while eluding obstacles. “You can see yourself on the show. You can see yourself get nuked by a windmill on fire,” he said. “We want everyone who watches the show to see themselves.”

Wachter believes both The Celebrity Dating Game and Holey Moley arrive at the right time for America. “There’s a lot of stress in the system,” he said, “and people want to laugh and want to relax.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.