Game Show Contestants
Bob Boden (Vice President of Production, Fox Reality Channel) gives expert video advice on: What is the easiest game show to be cast on?; What game shows are the most difficult to be cast on?; What are game show casting agents looking for in a contestant? and more...
What is the easiest game show to be cast on?
The easiest show to get on if you have what it takes is 'The Price Is Right'. It doesn't require any audition. It doesn't require an application to be filled out. It doesn't require a background check. You simply show up at CBS when they're taping, you engage the producer in a five second conversation, get him to fall in love with you enough so that he'll want you to 'come on down', and then you're on TV.
What game shows are the most difficult to be cast on?
It's still difficult to get on Jeopardy. Jeopardy has a rather involved contestant test which is very hard to pass, and the people who get on that show truly are the cream of the crop.
What are game show casting agents looking for in a contestant?
Every show is different, and every show has different needs in casting. But there's one very basic rule of all casting directors or contestant producers for game shows: these people have to make good television. So whether it involves answering questions, or solving puzzles, or knowing prices, or just having a great personality, for shows like Deal or No Deal that don't require any kind of knowledge whatsoever, the contestant producers are out there looking for people that will spark on television and get people to identify with them, feel for them, relate to them, and laugh and cry with them.
Are there limits on how many game shows I can appear on?
Every network has different standards as to how many game show appearances contestants can have. It really varies widely. It used to be the going rule that you can only do three game shows in five years or one game show per year. That's all changed, and particularly in cable, there is much more leniency because the shows don't air as close to when they're taped as they used to. You need to check out the requirements for a particular network or a particular production company when you try out.
Can a person make a living by appearing on game shows?
After the fifties quiz shows scandals the FCC cracked down on professional contestants and established rules as to the frequency with which people could appear on shows. So the notion of going from show to show and making your life's savings on game shows is a lot harder today than it used to be. But to counteract that the prizes have gone up quite significantly and you could win a million bucks a lot easier than you could in the scandal area. So if a million bucks is enough to keep you going for a few years and you could win that million every four or five years on different game shows you probably could make a living for your entire life just being a game show contestant.
If I'm cast on a game show, will the show provide me with transportation or accommodations?
Every show's requirements and offers are different so you need to check with the specific production company before you try out for a game. Most shows will not fly you in to wherever their show is taped to appear on the show or to audition for the show. The exception is if they go to your city to recruit you and you're chosen in your city, the chances are they will fly you in and put you up but most other cases, they will not.
Who are the most famous game show contestants?
One of the most popular game show contestants of the modern era is Kent Jennings who won two and a half-million dollars by defeating opponents 74 times in a row on Jeopardy. He is a very very smart individual as you can imagine. He has parlayed his game show success into a variety of other areas. He has written books. He has appeared on other shows. He has a board game out and he happens to be a really nice guy too. Probably the most famous millionaire contestant was John Carpenter. John Carpenter was the first individual to win $1 million on ABC primetime version of the show "Who wants to be a Millionaire". What is notable about John is when he got to the million-dollar question, he had not used any of his lifelines. When Regis asked him the question, John requested to use a lifeline which was to phone a friend, and the friend he phoned was his father just to say, I am about to win $1 million. It was a great moment in game shows.
Who is the most overlooked game show champion?
An unsung hero of game shows today is Brad Rutter. Brad is perhaps not the most famous Jeopardy contestant. That would go to Ken Jennings, who won seventy four games in a row. Brad actually defeated Ken in the Grand Masters tournament, and is the Grand Jeopardy Champion of all time.
Would game show producers rather a contestant win or lose?
Producers generally want contestants to win. If people win the ratings go up and producers want the ratings to go up, so they want people to win. If people win too much, then they have to ratchet up the game a little bit, so that the game doesn't lose its credibility and the budget doesn't get out of sync. But for the most part, producers do want contestants to win. Of course, if it's a competitive game they can't root for either or one of the contestants. They have to root equally for everybody.