Though Hollywood Squares was a legitimate game show, the game largely acted as the background for the show’s comedy in the form of joke answers (commonly called “zingers” by the production staff), often given by the stars prior to their real answer. The show’s writers usually supplied the jokes. In addition, the stars were given the questions’ subjects and bluff (plausible, but incorrect) answers prior to the show. The show was scripted in this sense, but the gameplay was not. In any case, as original host Peter Marshall explained at the beginning of the Secret Square game, the celebrities were briefed prior to the show to help them with bluff answers, but they heard the actual questions for the first time as they were asked on air.
In 2013, TV Guide ranked it at No. 7 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.
Internationally, there have been multiple versions produced under a variety of names (see International versions below).