Bill Todman

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Bill Todman
Mark Goodson Johnny Roventini Bill Todman What's My Line 1952.JPG
Todman at left with Mark Goodson and Johnny Roventini for the radio version of What's My Line? in 1952.
William Selden Todman

(1916-07-31)July 31, 1916
New York City, United States
DiedJuly 29, 1979(1979-07-29) (aged 62)
New York City, United States
Alma mater Johns Hopkins University (B.A., 1938) [1]
OccupationTelevision producer
Years active1948–1979
Known forTV game shows and Goodson-Todman Productions
Spouse(s)Frances Holmes Burson [2]
Children2 [2]

William Selden Todman (July 31, 1916 July 29, 1979) was an American television producer and personality born in New York City. He produced many of television's longest running shows with business partner Mark Goodson.

Mark Goodson American television producer

Mark Leo Goodson was an American television producer who specialized in game shows, most frequently with his business partner Bill Todman, with whom he created Goodson-Todman Productions.


Early life

Todman was the son of a Wall Street accountant, Frederick S. Todman, CPA, whose accounting firm was known as Frederick S. Todman & Co. and for many years was located at 111 Broadway, downtown Manhattan. The firm represented some of the United States biggest companies, including The New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, Polaroid, Eastman Kodak, Chase Manhattan Bank, and others. Frederick S. Todman lectured in post-World War II Japan as part of that country's economic reconstruction and wrote several quintessential books on Wall Street Accounting. Bill Todman's brother, Howard, was vice president and treasurer for Goodson-Todman Productions.

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Game shows

Todman teamed up with Mark Goodson for radio shows. According to radio historian J. David Goldin, among their early work together was the show Treasury Salute, a program syndicated by the Treasury Department that honored military members. They later collaborated in producing game shows for radio, then moved into television, where they produced some of the longest-running game shows in history. Their many shows included Beat the Clock , Card Sharks , Family Feud , Match Game , Password , Tattletales , The Price Is Right , To Tell the Truth and What's My Line? .

Game show Type of television or radio program where contestants compete for prizes

A game show is a type of radio, television, or stage show in which contestants, individually or as teams, play a game which involves answering questions or solving puzzles, usually for money or prizes. Alternatively, a gameshow can be a demonstrative program about a game [while usually retaining the spirit of an awards ceremony]. In the former, contestants may be invited from a pool of public applicants. Game shows often reward players with prizes such as cash, trips and goods and services provided by the show's sponsor prize suppliers.

<i>Beat the Clock</i> television series

Beat the Clock is a television game show that involves people trying to complete challenges to win prizes while faced with a time limit. The show was a creation of Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions and first premiered on March 23, 1950.

<i>Card Sharks</i> television series

Card Sharks is an American television game show created by Chester Feldman for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions. Based on the card game Acey Deucey, the game has two contestants compete for control of a row of oversized playing cards by answering questions posed by the host and then guessing if the next card is higher or lower in value than the previous one. The title "Card Sharks" is a play on the word "card sharp", a person skilled at card games. The concept has been made into a series four separate times since its debut in 1978, and also appeared as part of CBS's Gameshow Marathon. The show originally ran on NBC from 1978 to 1981 with Jim Perry hosting; a revival ran from 1986 to 1989 on CBS with Bob Eubanks as host, accompanied by a syndication production with Bill Rafferty. Gene Wood was the announcer in both the 1970s and 1980s. Another syndicated production aired from 2001–2002 with Pat Bullard as host and Gary Kroeger as announcer. Each production featured various female assistants to handle the playing cards.

Although both men created the programs, Todman gradually became less involved with the day-to-day operations of the game show business and moved Goodson-Todman into a bigger business strategy. Todman was responsible for diversifying Goodson-Todman into the newspaper, radio and real estate businesses. The television business was lucrative but not nearly as much as the other businesses in which Todman invested, which earned millions. Goodson continued to work on game shows while Todman expanded the company. It is believed that Goodson-Todman would never have survived the roller coaster of the television business, including the slow period for game shows in the late 1960s had Todman not been aggressive in expanding the company into other ventures.[ citation needed ]


Todman died two days before his 63rd birthday on July 29, 1979 in New York City as a result of a heart condition. Goodson-Todman game shows that were still running at the time continued to be billed as "A Mark Goodson — Bill Todman Production". In the early 1980s, Mark Goodson acquired the Todman heirs' share of the company. Child's Play , which premiered in 1982, was the first show to be billed as simply "A Mark Goodson Television Production".[ citation needed ] The Goodson-Todman library of game shows is now part of FremantleMedia.

<i>Childs Play</i> (game show) 1980s US game show

Child's Play is an American television game show in which adult contestants tried to guess words based on definitions given by children. The Mark Goodson-produced series debuted on CBS from September 20, 1982 at 10:30 am EST. That time slot was held by Alice for a little over two years. Despite running for almost a year, Child's Play was never able to make ratings headway against either Wheel of Fortune or Sale of the Century, two hit game shows that NBC aired opposite it; CBS ended the series on September 16, 1983 and replaced it with Press Your Luck, which performed much better for CBS. This was the first game show created and produced solo by Mark Goodson after the death of his longtime business partner Bill Todman in 1979; all subsequent shows made by Goodson were credited as "A Mark Goodson Television Production".


Bill Todman Jr. launched his career working for his father, Hall of Fame television producer Bill Todman. In 1981, Bill Todman Jr.moved to Goodson-Todman West in Los Angeles to concentrate on television production. He quickly transitioned to MGM/UA Television in 1982 as a programming executive working under the President, Thomas Tannenbaum.

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