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Game Show Hosts

Game Show Hosts

Bob Boden (Vice President of Production, Fox Reality Channel) gives expert video advice on: Who was the most underrated classic game show host?; How did Bob Barker influence game shows?; Will The Price Is Right survive the departure of Bob Barker? and more...

Who was the most underrated classic game show host?

One of the best classic game show hosts of all time was Bill Cullen. Bill started on television in the late forties in Winner Take All and had an illustrious career spanning almost forty years, ending with The Joker's Wild in the eighties. Bill was charming, Bill was funny. Bill got the most out of people, everybody trusted Bill, everybody liked Bill. He knew how to phrase a question and he knew how to have a good time, and he was just such a joy to watch. In many ways, somebody like Bill Cullen might not even get on television today because he wasn't all that attractive, he walked with a limp, he didn't have any particularly outstanding positive physical features. But he was just the nicest man, and when he hosted a show you just knew it was going to be fun to watch.

How did Bob Barker influence game shows?

The most enduring game show host of all time and arguably, the best of all time is Bob Barker. He just retired after 35 years of doing The Price is Right and after 50 years of hosting game shows on television and nobody, ever, will do it like Bob Barker. He had a style, an enthusiasm, a great comedic sense, an amazing ability to play games and make the contestants the star. Bob never grabbed the spotlight for himself, it was always about the civilian standing next to him. To be able to work on any show for 35 years and especially a show as complex and difficult to master as The Price is Right, I don't think they'll be anybody ever again like Bob Barker.

Will The Price Is Right survive the departure of Bob Barker?

I don't think anyone can ever fill the shoes of Bob Barker. Drew Carey, although he is different in style and energy than Bob Barker, is a tremendously talented man and has beautifully taken over the reigns of The Price Is Right. He is genuinely having a good time. He is helping the contestants win. He's their friend. He's funny, and I think that he has breathed new life into The Price Is Right and it may well go on for another 35 years with him.

How has Alex Trebek influenced game shows?

There are many game show hosts who have done a variety of shows, but for one reason or another they have settled into one format that they have owned. The best example of that is Alex Trebek. Alex hosted a number of game shows from 1973 to 1984 when he took over Jeopardy and Jeopardy is so much Alex Trebek now. He is so identified with the show, when you think of him you think of the show, when you think of the show you think of him, and he's so darn good at it.

How has Pat Sajak influenced game shows?

Pat Sajak was a local weatherman on KNBC television in Los Angelos and when Chuck Willery left Wheel Of Fortune, Pat Sajak was asked to take over. As he didn't know if it would last, Pat chose to stay doing the weather for the first thirteen weeks of his contract with Wheel Of Fortune. Well, twenty-five years plus later Pat Sajak is still doing Wheel Of Fortune and is still doing a tremendous job. He is one of the few hosts who are so identified with the show that even though there have been other hosts that preceded him on Wheel Of Fortune, I can't imagine anyone else doing that show.

How did Chuck Woolery influence game shows?

Chuck Woolery is one of the most talented game show hosts around and has had quite an enduring career. He started in 1975 on Wheel of Fortune and hosted that show for seven years. He left that show in a contract dispute with the late Merv Griffin and actually went on to do another series of hits. Notably, Scrabble in daytime, Love Connection in syndication and then many years later he did one of the prime time game shows that followed Millionaire. The game show was called Greed, which is the show I was involved in. Chuck always has a good time. Chuck is Chuck, he is enjoying himself, he never worries all that much about every nuance, every single rule, he is more about lets play a game, lets have a great time doing it, lets laugh and have some fun.

How did Monty Hall influence game shows?

Monty Hall will always be America's big dealer. He is a smart business man, he was also the executive producer of 'Let's make a Deal' and every show that he hosted pretty much. He is so talented and really brought a style, an energy, and a pace to that show that nobody was ever able to replicate in all of those who have stepped into that role since his time. He is just, such an amazingly talented host.

What are the qualities of a great game show host?

The classic definition of a game show host is someone like Bill Cullen who was charming, funny, sweet, and engaging. He could get the best out of people, never at their expense, but always with a wink towards the audience that he was just having a grand old time. The modern era of games has been proliferated by comedians, and people like Howie Mandell, Bob Saget, Jimmy Kimmel, and Drew Carrey among others, have been tapped to host games show, and have done a very very good job. It's not an easy job to do, but they bring a style and a performance to the game that takes it beyond just being the master of ceremonies, the MC, and truly being a performer, at the same time as a host.

What are the challenges of being a game show host?

Hosting a game show is a lot harder than it looks. And if you think about the classic game show host, the Bob Barkers, the Dick Clarks, the Chuck Woolerys, Alex Trebec, Pat Sajak, Bill Cullen, these guys not only keep the show going, but they have a sense of performance, a sense of style, their not acting in the classic sense of reading dialogue, but they are playing a role. And the role their playing is to make the civilians look good, to keep the game paced, and moving, so that it doesn't drag, to hit the commercials at the right time, to step on the mark at the right time, not to bump into the furniture, and to truly, truly enjoy what they're doing, because the more they enjoy what their doing, the more we enjoy watching them.