The Hollywood Reporter reported some terrible Hollywood news about my favorite—because I was on it—teevee game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and I am sad because it looks like I’ll never get another shot, but there is a greater issue here, greater than me and my dream of being inside the television, and that is the systematic forced extinction of game show hosts and non-celebrity game shows.
Big-time Hollywood actors such as Alec Baldwin (Match Game), Elizabeth Banks (the apex-moronic Press Your Luck), and Joel McHale (Card Sharks) are like feral hogs tearing up the delicate employment ecosystem, trampling their way into jobs and ruining the next possible crop of real game show hosts the same way TV and movie stars have overwhelmed professional voice actors in animated features.
Real game show hosts such as such as Bob Barker, Alex Trebek, and my fave host because he gave me a pile of cash, Chris Harrison, are individuals with no apparent talent other than the ineffable gift of being able to move a game show along without being all self-aware and ironic about it, and only mildly contemptuous of the shlubs who are on as contestants.
Chris Harrison is a Presenter, a Pitchman, a Host. He’s not a movie star. Same for Trebek. Drew Carey taking over Bob Barker’s The Price is Right is marginal because he doesn’t wink at the camera like “Can you believe I’m doing this?” Carey is so Low Energy he mutated himself out of being an entertainer and is now a relatable regular person. Also I support Snoop Dogg taking over The Joker’s Wild because his job description is Rapper but he is also by profession a Master of Ceremonies.
Celebrity hosts are disrupting the natural progression of real game show hosts. There have been great presenters on the HQ Trivia game app, such as Scott Rogowsky, Sharon Carpenter, and my personal fave Matt Richards, who have hosted the live-streaming HQ game app, and they must have thought they would be in line to move to TV, but now Hollywood celebs who need to keep their resumes contiguous are hogging the mic from proper game show hosts, presenters, emcees, pitch-persons, whatever you want to call them, but basically, humans who are not already famous for being actors or otherwise famous performers, people who gain their fame by hosting game shows, not Hollywood parasites who get their wallets swolt and stay on the radar by stepping down into somebody else’s format.
Oscar-nominee Baldwin, who has won three Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, and seven Screen Actors Guild awards, seems to be doing the best, cashing paychecks cruising through episodes of Match Game. He opens a typical episode by introducing himself and saying “Of all the movies and TV shows that I’ve done, this is definitely one of them,” which is received by a weak laugh from the otherwise over-amped studio audience. He is a greedy pig taking a job away from non Hollywood-actor-types, and the prime example of self-satisfied celebs having a laugh slumming and getting paid for it, and it’s revolting. At some point the formula for television game shows will be celebrities hosting celebrity contestants in front of a studio audience filled with celebrities, and we all lose.