Ralph Andrews, the producer behind numerous game shows including Lingo, Liars Club, Celebrity Sweepstakes and You Don’t Say, died today of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 87.
Andrews launched his showbiz career in radio as an announcer and disc jockey in Saginaw, MI. After moving his family to California, he took a job as a page at NBC. By the 1960s, he had segued into TV producing. After brief stints with Don Fedderson Productions and Ralph Edwards Productions, he launched his first production company in partnership with David Wolper. They produced Divorce Hearing, which used real people rather than actors, and Lie Detector, a series Andrews also hosted that challenged newsmakers to take a polygraph test.
He then took over as director of live programming for Desilu Productions and began his long association with game shows, starting with By The Numbers, Zoom and Show Me for KTLA Los Angeles. Upon leaving Desilu, Andrews launched Ralph Andrews/Bill Yageman Productions, which later became Ralph Andrews Productions. He landed his first network game with NBC’s You Don’t Say with Tom Kennedy and followed with a string of network and nationally syndicated shows include I’ll Bet, Wedding Party, The Family Game, the Vin Scully-hosted It Takes Two, It’s Your Bet, Liars Club – originally hosted by Rod Serling and later Allen Ludden, Celebrity Sweepstakes and 50 Grand Slam. He also produced NBC’s musical variety series Mickie Finn’s and pair of one-hour comedy specials for CBS titled The Super Comedy Bowl.
He produced and hosted the game show Lingo in Canada for the CTV network and later formed IDRA Global Entertainment in Holland in partnership with IDTV, one of Europe’s largest production companies.Under Andrews’ direction, IDRA produced Lingo, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit, Grand Slam and Initial Reaction in Europe.
In the early 1970s, then-Republican National Committee Chairman Bob Dole offered Andrews the job of Director of Education and Training in Washington. As part of the job, Andrews took part in the on-camera training of many congressional, senatorial and gubernatorial candidates throughout the U.S. He later bought a controlling interest in KPLM-TV, an ABC affiliate in Palm Springs, became its GM and program director and hosted talk show The Troublemaker.
In 1983, Andrews co-founded the Entertainment Industries Council with Washington columnist Jack Anderson and served for two years as its first chairman. He remained on its board of directors for more than two decades.
Andrews is survived by his wife, five sons, two daughters, 15 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. His family requests that donations be made in his honor to The Alzheimer’s Association.