Love Me, Love Me Not
Host: Ross Shafer
Jane MacDougall (first few weeks only)
Airdate (US): USA Network, Sep. 29, 1986-Sep. 11, 1987
Packagers: Northstar Syndication, in association w/Entertainment Planning Corporation and MGM Television
Origination: CKVU-TV, Vancouver
"Welcome to the game of love...the game that makes the world go round...Love Me, Love Me Not
...where these 3 beautiful young women/handsome young men...(panelist #1), (panelist #2) and (panelist #3)
...using all their feminine whiles/masculine charm, are determined to avoid being captured by 2 eager rivals, (contestant #1) and (contestant #2), who are just as determined to capture them all! And now, the star of Love Me, Love Me Not, your host, Ross Shafer!"
PREMISE: A man-versus-woman Q&A game w/a romantic flair.
The game is played between 3 panelists of the same sex (each of whom are given an initial $100 to start) and two contestants of the opposite sex; it begins w/the champion choosing one of the 3 panelists, who announces a category, followed by a statement pertaining to it (all questions pertained to love/sex/romance). The contestant must then decide whether it's true or false; if correct, that panelist is "captured", otherwise the panelist recieves an additional $100. A capture is never written in stone, however, since it can be stolen by the other contestant at any time during the game.
Play continues through two rounds until a contestant captures all 3 panelists or the maximum 12 questions have been asked (in which case the contestant w/more captures is the winner); that contestant wins $1,000 and goes on to play the bonus round w/the panelist who earned the most money (the losing panelists each recieve $100).
(NOTE: Originally, contestants were only permitted to steal their opponent's captures during round 2, with the payoff for each successful "fool" by the panelists doubling to $200 apiece in said round; these rules were dropped by the time the show was picked up in the US).
In the event of a tie between the contestants, a question with a numerical answer is asked, with the champion giving a prediction and the challenger deciding if it was higher or lower, a la "Card Sharks"; whoever gets it right is declared the winner.
In the event of a tie between 2 panelists, both tied panelists each read an additional statement to the winning contestant; if either one fools the contestant, that panelist recieves an additional $100 and is declared the winner.
If all questions are exhausted before a winner emerges (or the maximum 12 questions have already been played), a tiebreaker similar to the contestant version is used; the panelist closer to the left gives a numerical answer to a question, and the other must determine if the correct answer is higher or lower.
In the event of a 3-way tie between the panelists, each panelist writes down an answer to a numerical question, with whoever comes closest being declared the winner and recieving an additional $100.
BONUS ROUND ("The Chase Around the Daisy"):
The winners each position themselves on the giant 8-petal daisy at center stage (contestant at petal #1, panelist at petal #6), w/the contestant given 40 seconds to catch the panelist by answering a series of true-false questions posed by Ross; each correct answer moves him/her ahead one petal towards the panelist, and each incorrect one moves the panelist ahead one petal (thus making him/her harder to catch). Each correct answer is worth $100 to the contestant, and if the panelist is successfully "caught", the contestant wins the grand prize of a new car. If time runs out, the panelist recieves $100 of the contestant's money for each petal separating him/her from the contestant, and if the contestant is "caught" via a string of incorrect answers, the panelist's cut was originally doubled to $1,400, but this was later changed to a Hawaiian vacation.
Contestants stayed on the show until they were defeated or won the bonus round, whichever came first; panelists remained on the show for five days or until making it to the bonus round, after which (win or lose) s/he would become a challenger in the next game.
"Love Me, Love Me Not" was created and produced by Steve Carlin, whose company also created and produced "The $64,000 Question" (and its unsuccessful mid-70s revival, "The $128,000 Question").
The show was first seen in Italy (whose title, "M'ama, Non M'ama", means the same as its English translation), its success there and in other European countries, promting EPC to look at selling the show in the US.
The first set of pilots (which used the Italian title) were taped for ABC in Dec. 1984, w/Alex Trebek as host. These pilots featured 4 panelists (instead of 3), a completely different set and music, a slightly different format, and a significantly bigger prize budget (including 2 new cars as the bonus round grand prize). It was one of several shows under consideration to replace "Family Feud" until ABC postponed the latter's cancellation, thus eliminating the need for a replacement.
Undeterred, Carlin and Co. tried again exactly a year later, in Dec. 1985. These pilots, taped at CBS studios in New York, featured most of the elements that would make it to series, including the English title, Ross Shafer as host, and the same basic set/music/format. However, there were still several differences from the series: the 4th panelist remained intact, correct answers in the bonus round were worth $1,000 apiece (10x the series payoff!), and NY-based radio/TV voice-over legend Jackson Beck was the announcer (the only GS-related work Beck did in his 60+-yr. career).
It was this set of pilots which got the show picked up for Canadian syndication in early 1986 (and in the US later that year), with production moved north of the border to Vancouver, BC. As a result, Shafer (who is American) was required to have a Canadian native as his co-host/announcer to fulfill "Canadian content laws" regarding on-camera talent for programs produced in Canada.
In addition to his work on LMLMN, Shafer also hosted the Seattle-based late night comedy/talk show "Almost Live!" (which continues in reruns to this day), during which time he spearheaded an effort to make "Louie, Louie" the new Washington state song; although it failed, the Senate formally declared April 12, 1985 "Louie Louie Day" in the state.
After LMLMN was cancelled, Shafer continued his work on AL! before departing in 1988 to replace Arsenio Hall (who in turn, had replaced Joan Rivers) as host of Fox's "Late Show". Despite miniscule ratings, he later went on to host ABC's 1990-91 revival of "Match Game" and has since become a successful motivational speaker/author, more details of which can be found at Shafer's official website, www.RossShafer.com
One of the most notorious incidents in Shafer's career occuring during the run of LMLMN. Each episode opened w/Shafer descending the winding staircase around the aforementioned giant daisy, but on this particular episode, Shafer's feet gave out from under him during his entrance, he tripped, and the blooper was left in the show! (If this sounds like an echo of a similar incident that befell Jim Peck some 12 years earlier on "The Big Showdown", it's no accident; Ron Baldwin designed the sets for both shows).
A Shafer mishap similar to the one described above took place a few years later, this time on "Match Game" (and it was also left in the show), but this one appeared to have been staged.
After LMLMN ended its run, co-host Marilyn Smith returned to her roots as an actress, appearing in several made-for-TV films during the mid-90s, as well as series guest shots.
For a time in the late 90s/early 00s, the Canadian-based Prime Network (now known as TVTropolis) aired reruns of LMLMN on its schedule; they can now be seen on GameTV, which began airing the show from its late 2007 inception.