"The Name's the Same," from producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, was very similar to their "What's My Line?" which had premiered about a year earlier, except in this case, the celebrity panelists attempted to guess contestants' names. The gimmick was that the contestants all either had the same name as a famous person, or their last name was that of a common object.
Each of the four panelists was allowed to ask 10 yes or no questions of the contestant; if a panelist was stumped about what to ask next, they could pass their turn to the next panelist, and continue asking questions once play came back to them until they had used up their allotment. For each panelist who ran out of questions, the contestant was awarded $20, for a potential total of $80.
It was also possible for home viewers to win money: anyone who had submitted the name of someone they knew to the producers won $10 if that person ended up as a contestant.
The show premiered on ABC on December 5, 1951, and ran until October 7, 1955. Robert Q. Lewis was the host for most of the run, replaced by Dennis James in 1954, then by Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding as co-hosts briefly in 1955, and the final host was Clifton Fadiman.
The only regular panelist to be with the show from beginning to end was Joan Alexander. The regulars who were with the show for about two years each were Meredith Willson, Gene Rayburn, and Bess Myerson. Among those who were regular panelists for brief periods of time: Bill Stern, Audrey Meadows, Carl Reiner, Mike Wallace, and Basil Rathbone.