ALL IN THE GAME
Review: The Ultimate Fan Search
Regis Philbin is 68. Dick Clark is almost 70. Chuck Woolery is 58. Some "mature" names are being bounced around for the emcee slot of NBC's upcoming Twenty-One.
When Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? struck gold, Regis did more to reopen doors for senior hosts than Bob Stewart did for pyramids.
Given what I laud as a welcome trend for more experience to helm these new big-money efforts, I've kicked around a few possibilities of people who may fill the bill (other than the roster of game show legends, most of whom I still believe are capable of stepping in without missing a beat). The qualifications: over 50 in age and with a personality who could carry off a quiz with intelligence and enthusiasm. Who's out there?:
Phil Donahue - I was stunned to hear Fox went to Donahue first to do Greed. Further, I was stunned to learn he considered it, but his price was too high. Somehow, Phil---in my opinion---would be better suited to Twenty-One or $64,000 Question, where an authoritative host in a slower format is a catalyst.
I'd love the thought of a network striking out with one of these seniors for a prime time game. Remember, Hal March was basically an actor/comedian when he was tapped for The $64,000 Question and his entire career was transformed.
Tom Snyder - I know Tom supposedly retired earlier this year, but I wish some producer would try to coax him back for one of these shows. Tom is the kind of guy who would probably enjoy this as much as the contestants and has an infectuous sense of humor. Plus, he has the authority of a former newsman.
Vince McMahon Jr. - Not for an extremely serious show but he may be a great choice for a show like Survivor. I can't stand the gutter content of his World Wrestling Federation but I've always felt McMahon, 54, could be a great game show host.
Craig T. Nelson - Most actors cannot make the conversion to playing themselves. However, if the price was right, this is one guy who I believe has the energy to pull it off.
David Hartman - He's still doing occasional PBS documentaries and had those eleven years of hosting Good Morning America to partially hone the craft. Hartman would give it a top shot, in my view.
Hal Linden - Hal's done live concerts around the country for the last decade and hosted a number of network specials. He has plenty of stage experience. Plus, he's a familiar TV face.
Alan Alda - Sure, he's doing five episodes of E.R.. He's a TV legend. However, Alda played plenty of game shows even while he was doing the first three years of M*A*S*H. I could easily see him in front of an isolation booth. His name, alone, would be worth rating points.
Bob Newhart - I know. You think I've lost my mind. Take one of the finest comedy minds in the history of television and a man with emcee experience (he did his own variety show in the early '60s and a number of specials in recent years) and you might be surprised at the outcome.
Mike Douglas - If you've seen him on The Rosie O'Donnell Show the last two years, he looks great. He still has great enthusiasm. I wouldn't count against him.
Put yourself in the producer's chair. Who would you pick?
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