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Author Topic: What Makes a Good Host?  (Read 905 times)

Dbacksfan12

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What Makes a Good Host?
« on: September 20, 2019, 01:54:41 AM »
We've discussed our lists of favorite hosts before, but I don't think we've discussed this.  In your mind, what makes a good host?  I'll give a couple of examples...

I think a good host can tailor his hosting to the show he's working on.  I feel Jim Peck does a good job of this.  IMO, he did a good job stirring the pot on 3's a Crowd. However, he was far more professional on his other series.  The opposite would be Bob Eubanks, who was a smarmy asshole on Card Sharks.

Something else I enjoy is watching Monty Hall present the Big Deal of the Day.  He's able to present the three doors a little differently each time with varying verbiage.  Small effect, but its something I notice.  It's also something I don't think I'd be able to pull off myself without a prompter. 

Other entries?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 02:57:09 AM by Dbacksfan12 »
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BrandonFG

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2019, 02:15:54 AM »
I think it depends on the type of show. Regardless of genre, delivery and the ability to ad-lib goes a long way, esp. following a spontaneous moment. To me, there's a reason news/sportscasters or comedians make good hosts: working in live situations gives the ability to improvise. Having hosted a few games at various Throwdown events, I will say I've developed a great appreciation for broadcaster who can handle situations gracefully. :P

Dick Clark, Bill Cullen, and now Michael Strahan did/do a great job either building up a dramatic situation, or making light of a funny, yet inappropriate clue on Pyramid, without spelling out the gag. One example that comes to mind is from the 80s version...the contestant is describing "Brownies" to Betty White, and basically describes an edible. After the round ends and the laughter dies down, Dick recaps the score and adds "We'll discuss your baking skills later..." It was a simple quip, and the game continued. Some hosts would take that and run with it, and the gag dies quickly.

Another example is Match Game, a zany show where you need a host who can rein in the celebrities*. Gene was naturally a master at this; Michael Burger let the inmates run the asylum at times, so it didn't work as well. Alec is solid, but I think the smarmy one-liners get tiring on every single question. Less is more at times.

As for LMAD, Wayne is a great host, but Monty nailed the perfect balance of charming emcee and sneaky used car salesman. Granted, LMAD was his baby, so I'm sure he had his vision for the execution. That said, Split Second is one of my favorites, but Monty was out of his element on this one, and was a little too charming. I think a trivia show benefits from an informed host who seems believable when reading tidbits from an index card, if that makes sense. When Alex explains something on Jeopardy!, it sounds like he actually knows the info. When Ty Treadway explained something on Merv Griffin's Crosswords, he looked like he was reading it straight off the teleprompter.

*See also, Peter Marshall/Tom Bergeron vs. Jon Bauman/John Davidson on Hollywood Squares
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Loogaroo

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2019, 06:43:47 PM »
Game awareness, rapport with contestants, rapport with viewing audience, authenticity. Master those four things, and you'll be in good shape.
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tyshaun1

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2019, 07:10:15 AM »
The opposite would be Bob Eubanks, who was a smarmy asshole on Card Sharks.

I find  it interesting when people bring this up, considering they eventually tailored the entire show to his hosting style. Not saying I disagree, but it seemed to keep the show on longer that it probably should've.
What the hell did I just type?

chrisholland03

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2019, 12:20:20 PM »
I'd argue that NBC's show shuffling was more of a contributing factor to Card Sharks sticking around longer than it should have.


BillCullen1

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2019, 12:35:04 PM »
I think the previous posters summed it up pretty well. IMO, there are two types of hosts. Your great hosts, who can do their job and have the personality and charm to add to it. I consider my username, Tom Kennedy and Wink Martindale to be the golden trifecta of hosts. Give them any format or idea, explain the rules, and they can go out and execute them almost flawlessly. Other hosts who fit in here are Trebek, Hall, Clark, Rayburn, and Barker.

Then you have your competent hosts. They may lack some of the personality and charm, but they keep the game moving and get the job done. I consider Jack Barry, Dennis James and Regis Philbin to fit in here.

Of the newer hosts, I think Jeff Foxworthy, Howie Mandel, Jamie Foxx and Michael Strahan have potential to become great hosts. Alec Baldwin, Anthony Anderson, Joel McHale, Sherri Shepherd and Joey Fatone are competent hosts.

Since they're both on every day, I'll say that I feel Wayne does a better job on LMAD than Drew does on TPIR. Wayne seems to show more enthusiasm and seems more engaged with the contestants, especially during the interviews. Drew tends to ask "stock questions" like "Where are you from?" and "What do you do?" I know there are time restraints on TPIR but still . . .

Two cases where a host surprised me, one for better, one for worse:

When I heard Donny Osmond was hosting "Pyramid" I said "Oh no - here's another pretty boy like John Davidson who thinks he can be a host." But I was pleasantly proven wrong. Donny had grown up watching the show with Dick Clark, so he was familiar with the rules, unlike Davidson. He was able to schmooze with contestants and celebs. He kept the game moving and you could tell he was having fun. That's the key. "Donnymid" had its problems, but Donny was the least of them.

Now the flip side of the coin. When I hear Louie Anderson was hosting FF, I said "All right, a host used to being in front of an audience and thinking on his feet. This should work out great!" We all saw the train wreck that ensued.

Neumms

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2019, 03:37:39 PM »
The best ever, to me, are Cullen and Barker. They...
--Made the game understandable.
--Knew how to manipulate pace and suspense.
--Drew out contestants.
--Were funny.


whewfan

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2019, 08:06:46 AM »
I think the previous posters summed it up pretty well. IMO, there are two types of hosts. Your great hosts, who can do their job and have the personality and charm to add to it. I consider my username, Tom Kennedy and Wink Martindale to be the golden trifecta of hosts. Give them any format or idea, explain the rules, and they can go out and execute them almost flawlessly. Other hosts who fit in here are Trebek, Hall, Clark, Rayburn, and Barker.

Then you have your competent hosts. They may lack some of the personality and charm, but they keep the game moving and get the job done. I consider Jack Barry, Dennis James and Regis Philbin to fit in here.

Of the newer hosts, I think Jeff Foxworthy, Howie Mandel, Jamie Foxx and Michael Strahan have potential to become great hosts. Alec Baldwin, Anthony Anderson, Joel McHale, Sherri Shepherd and Joey Fatone are competent hosts.

Since they're both on every day, I'll say that I feel Wayne does a better job on LMAD than Drew does on TPIR. Wayne seems to show more enthusiasm and seems more engaged with the contestants, especially during the interviews. Drew tends to ask "stock questions" like "Where are you from?" and "What do you do?" I know there are time restraints on TPIR but still . . .

Two cases where a host surprised me, one for better, one for worse:

When I heard Donny Osmond was hosting "Pyramid" I said "Oh no - here's another pretty boy like John Davidson who thinks he can be a host." But I was pleasantly proven wrong. Donny had grown up watching the show with Dick Clark, so he was familiar with the rules, unlike Davidson. He was able to schmooze with contestants and celebs. He kept the game moving and you could tell he was having fun. That's the key. "Donnymid" had its problems, but Donny was the least of them.

Now the flip side of the coin. When I hear Louie Anderson was hosting FF, I said "All right, a host used to being in front of an audience and thinking on his feet. This should work out great!" We all saw the train wreck that ensued.

I thought first season Louie was all right, certainly not perfect, but I think his lack of stamina affected his hosting... sometimes he looked TIRED. (The MADtv parody does a good job of reflecting this). However, he did have his moments and those were always fun. I think with the format, it conceivably allowed Louie ample time to joke around. With the Feud today, all the family intros and other former Feud formalities have been taken out to maximize Steve Harvey's skills. Louie DID last for three seasons, and Louie revealed in his recent book that his salary demands got him axed from Feud, not really ratings. He mentioned in the book that he enjoyed doing the show.

Neumms

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2019, 12:51:11 PM »
I thought first season Louie was all right, certainly not perfect, but I think his lack of stamina affected his hosting... sometimes he looked TIRED. (The MADtv parody does a good job of reflecting this). However, he did have his moments and those were always fun.

I agree, though I'm biased because Louie is a Minnesotan. I don't think he was as bad as most of the Forum thinks. The dank set and crummy music didn't help perk up the proceedings.

Mr. Armadillo

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2019, 03:29:36 PM »
True that.  I always wondered how they made a set that looked so bright and open in the Combs days and made it look like they filmed the whole thing in somebody's basement.

whewfan

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Re: What Makes a Good Host?
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2019, 06:26:55 PM »
I saw the Louie Anderson set in person years ago. It does look rather dark in person as well, especially without the lights. I thought the revamped look when Richard Karn took over was an improvement. The family names were now on picture frame like sets, and the set had brown and blue earth tones, likely a nod to the Dawson era set. The last set from the Karn era, though, was a real eyesore. I thought the even more retro John O'Hurley set looked and felt more like Family Feud, and I miss O'Hurley.