Mark Goodson (Mark Leo Goodson)

Mark Goodson

Mark Goodson and long-time partner Bill Todman produced some of the longest-running game shows in US television history. Their first television show, Winner Take All, debuted on CBS television on July 1, 1948. The long list of Goodson-Todman productions includes The Price Is Right, Family Feud, Match Game, Password, Beat the Clock, To Tell the Truth, I’ve Got a Secret, What’s My Line?, Card Sharks, and Tattletales. The shows endured through the decades, many over multiple runs, because of Goodson’s sharp eye for production and presentation. Goodson-Todman Productions/Mark Goodson Productions creates content for US channels and other international channels. (including Talbot Television Ltd. and Fremantle UK Productions Ltd.). such as CBS, NBC, and ABC in the US, BBC1, ITV (Anglia, Central, Granada, LWT, TVS, Scottish Television, and Yorkshire Television), Channel 4, and Sky One, (also Challenge TV), While Todman oversaw the company’s lucrative businesses outside of television, Goodson handled the creative aspects of producing game shows. The people who worked for the company and created most of the Goodson-Todman shows were pivotal to the success of those shows. Goodson-Todman executives Bob Stewart, Bob Bach, Gil Fates, Ira Skutch, Frank Wayne, Chester Feldman, Paul Alter, Howard Felsher, Ted Cooper, Jay Wolpert, and others were instrumental in making the shows successful. Goodson-Todman was involved with the 1969 pilot of The Joker’s Wild, along with creator Jack Barry, but severed ties with Barry shortly afterward.

The company proved itself to be masterful at games, but were not as successful when they tried other fields of television programs, including the anthology dramas The Web and The Richard Boone Show, a talk-variety show for famed insult comic Don Rickles – and what was possibly the company’s biggest failure, a sitcom entitled One Happy Family. Goodson-Todman Productions were also involved with three westerns: Jefferson Drum (1958–1959), starring Jeff Richards as a newspaper editor in the Old West; The Rebel (1959–1961), starring Nick Adams as an ex-Confederate soldier who traveled to the West after the Civil War (Johnny Cash sang the theme); and Branded, starring Chuck Connors as a soldier who had wrongly been given a dishonorable discharge from the Army. For many years, the company was headquartered in the Seagram Building at 375 Park Avenue, New York City, New York. Most of the company’s production moved to Hollywood in the early seventies (as did many other production companies), starting with the ABC revival of Password in 1971. The Los Angeles offices were based first at 6430 Sunset Boulevard and later at 5750 Wilshire Boulevard. The company’s last New York-based show was the 1980s version of To Tell the Truth, but the New York office remained open and was used for East Coast Child’s Play auditions.

A few years after Bill Todman’s death in 1979, Mark Goodson acquired the Todman heirs’ share of the company, and in 1982 the company was renamed Mark Goodson Productions. Traditionally, shows would sign off with “This is (announcer’s name) speaking for (show name). A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production/A Mark Goodson Television Production.” To pay off a massive inheritance tax, Goodson’s family sold the rights (except for Concentration/Classic Concentration, which had been licensed from NBC) to All-American Television, which was subsequently taken over by Pearson Communications, and, in turn, was acquired by FremantleMedia which now owns the rights to the library from Mark Goodson Productions. At the close of each episode of The Price Is Right since then, the announcer credits the show as “a FremantleMedia Production.” In 1990, Mark Goodson received the Emmy Award “Lifetime Achievement Award for Daytime Television”, which was presented to him by Betty White. Two years later, in 1992, Goodson earned induction into the Television Hall of Fame. Mark Goodson died on December 18, 1992 in New York City.

Born

  • January, 14, 1915
  • USA
  • Sacramento, California

Died

  • December, 18, 1992
  • USA
  • New York, New York

Cemetery

  • Hillside Memorial Park
  • Culver City, California
  • USA

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