Who Wants to Be A Game Show Host?


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Want to Be A Game Show HostTelevision game shows have been wildly popular since the 1950’s. Producers and networks love them because they are cheap and easy to produce. They have wide viewer appeal and can be sold in the same format worldwide. For actors and actresses game shows can be a way to revive a flagging career. Game shows such as ‘The Price is Right’ and ‘Jeopardy’ have a wide following of fanatical fans.

Game show hosts must be adept at ad libbing since the programs are not scripted and many of the great game show hosts of the 50’s and 60’s got their start in radio which prepared them for the fast paced dialog necessary for a successful host. Greats from that era include, Monty Hall, Gene Rayburn, Bill Cullen, Garry Moore, Bob Eubanks, and Tom Kennedy. Game shows have star making power which former game show hosts Johnny Carson and Regis Philbin will attest to.

Having a large following does not automatically translate into game show success as Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) and John McEnroe found out the hard way. Both were dismal failures as game show hosts. Kevin Belinkoff, vice president of programming at the Game Show Network stated, “A bad host can ruin a good game, but a great host can’t rescue a game that’s flawed. Ultimately, the game is what’s important.”

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Mr. Belinkoff has been deluged with resumes from performers, many of them well known. Most networks have at least one prime time game show and game shows are a staple on cable television with one cable channel devoted exclusively to game shows old and new.

The new game shows have sophisticated technology, lighting, extensive music cues, and expensive sets unlike the shows of the 50’s and 60’s. Game shows have star making powers. Howie Mandel was little known until he became the host of the popular ‘Deal or No Deal’ one of NBC’s most highly rated shows.

Who wants to be a game show host? For starters there is Tim Allen’s old sidekick from ‘Home Improvement.’ Alfonso Ribeiro who played Will Smith’s cousin on ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ is now the host of ‘Catch-21’ a new game show. Avid online bingo players are likely to have watched the Game Show Network’s ‘Bingo America’ with host Patrick Duffy formerly of the legendary show ‘Dallas.’ It would seem that everyone in Hollywood wants to be a game show host!

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