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Author Topic: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing  (Read 4438 times)

Nick

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2024, 01:24:51 PM »
I am of the mind that if Mike Richards had simply bided his time as EP and not hastily made his own coronation out of thin air, he could be less than six months away from making $10 million a year for the rest of his life hosting Wheel. But obviously, as his actions and machinations now and then show, he is not wired to wait.

As much as Wheel is a show that really doesn't need a host to keep it moving or make things exciting, would audiences really have taken to Mike?  Is it a minority opinion that he is just bland and disinteresting and not really any better than the game show host stereotype?

I think some us unfairly made the assumption that a newsperson could be dropped into a job like this for a seamless transition, but getting them up to speed and comfortable wouldn't be as hard as you're making it out to be.

I'm not understanding why people made that assumption in the first place.  To me, it's like thinking (washed up) comedians make for good game shows hosts because they're "funny".  They may keep getting hired, but with rare exception, they're terrible hosts.  I've seen and met precious few newscasters who I would say really did have the chops to transition their skills (particularly interview ones) into being a good game show host.  Not saying it couldn't be done, but thinking they were the first place to look for Trebek's successor is not where I would have looked.
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BrandonFG

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2024, 02:29:56 PM »
I'm not understanding why people made that assumption in the first place.  To me, it's like thinking (washed up) comedians make for good game shows hosts because they're "funny".  They may keep getting hired, but with rare exception, they're terrible hosts.  I've seen and met precious few newscasters who I would say really did have the chops to transition their skills (particularly interview ones) into being a good game show host.  Not saying it couldn't be done, but thinking they were the first place to look for Trebek's successor is not where I would have looked.
In all fairness J! is known for being a scholarly show, so one might think a news reporter or anchor adds a little credibility. Both Fleming and Trebek had a background in news reporting, so it wouldn't have been farfetched at all for the next host to have the same. Unfortunately, Katie Couric and Bill Whitaker went into storytelling mode and were not a good fit for the show.

Comedians work as hosts, mainly because of their ability to think on their toes, interact with contestants, and keep people laughing. And I would say more comics have done well as hosts than not: Groucho Marx, Richard Dawson, Howie Mandel, Jeff Foxxworthy, Drew Carey, and several others come to mind. This idea that performers aspire to only be game show hosts is a huge misconception. I don't think any of them expected that to be their career path, but it paid well for the number of days you work. The most iconic names in the industry come from an acting or comedy background.
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Jeremy Nelson

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2024, 02:43:10 PM »
I'm not understanding why people made that assumption in the first place.  To me, it's like thinking (washed up) comedians make for good game shows hosts because they're "funny".  They may keep getting hired, but with rare exception, they're terrible hosts.  I've seen and met precious few newscasters who I would say really did have the chops to transition their skills (particularly interview ones) into being a good game show host.  Not saying it couldn't be done, but thinking they were the first place to look for Trebek's successor is not where I would have looked.

Your statement reads "I don't understand why people in need of suits would consider starting at Men's Wearhouse."

It may not have been where YOU looked, but to most Americans, if you're in need of a host with great pronunciation, a dash of character and a gravitas with the home audience, the news seems like a logical first stop.

Shortly after Alex passed away, I ran an open survey asking people to rank their top choices for host- with the exception of Ken and Brad, every person on this list is either a newscaster, a former host, and/or a comedian.

https://shinyblackfloor.wordpress.com/2020/11/24/path-to-the-podium-a-jeopardy-succession-survey/

Quote
To me, it's like thinking (washed up) comedians make for good game shows hosts because they're "funny".
You do realize that most game show hosts who started as comedians didn't quit comedy because they couldn't hack it, right? Most of them did stand up, then parlayed that into more lucrative gigs that gave them a wider audience- Steve Harvey, Drew Carey, Louie Anderson, Jane Lynch, Craig Ferguson...the list goes on.

Comedy is subjective, yes, but you calling them washed up is about as far from the truth as possible.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2024, 03:01:41 PM by Jeremy Nelson »
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Loogaroo

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2024, 04:41:53 PM »
Let's get one thing straight: the era of Game Show Hosts Hosting Game Shows is dead. Finito. Kaput. Stop trying to make Todd Newton happen. It's never going to happen.

That doesn't mean that there won't occasionally be a personality who gets dropped into the role of emcee who takes to it well enough that they're well-regarded for their talent and perhaps considered for another game show when the one they're doing peters out, but the notion that there's a stable of Bill Cullens, Tom Kennedys, Peter Tomarkens, and even Tom Bergerons that networks will regularly draw from is plain fanciful at this point. The reason you have people like Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Jones, Joel McHale, and Rob Lowe hosting game shows today (or very recently) is because they need to work every possible angle to draw viewership to their shows, and the host is one of those angles. Some of these names, like Jay Pharoah or Damon Wayans Jr., might seem like they don't have much name recognition, but Pharaoh is an SNL alum and the Wayans name has 30 years worth of pedigree, and that means something when the time comes to choosing who represents the show and what they put in promos. The only exception I can find to this rule in prime-time or major syndication is Sara Haines hosting The Chase, but that show gives the Chasers top billing anyways.

As it pertains to the Jeopardy! gig, I don't know how Richards would have done had he been given the podium long enough to hit his stride. Considering how to-the-bone television shows get edited nowadays, I'm not sure it matters if he would have been the life of the party or blander than a bowl of oatmeal; anything that's not pure gameplay gets left on the cutting room floor.
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Jeremy Nelson

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2024, 04:57:46 PM »
Let's get one thing straight: the era of Game Show Hosts Hosting Game Shows is dead. Finito. Kaput. Stop trying to make Todd Newton happen. It's never going to happen.
Even Todd Newton has seemingly made peace with the fact that Todd Newton is never going to happen.

Seriously though, as much as I would love to see good hosts get consistent work in the genre, that mindset also edged out other people who also would have done well with those gigs. We now have more women and people of color hosting game shows than ever before, and that doesn't happen if we keep giving right of first refusal to the same six or seven people.
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Neumms

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2024, 05:17:28 PM »
Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace, Meredith Viera and John Daly were newsmen and game show hosts (uh, or panel moderators). They’re good broadcasters, just as Uncle Bill was, and show a sense of humor.

Now, Bill Whittaker is a great reporter but not known for wit, however Katie Couric was a very reasonable candidate. I hoped for Brian Williams—good delivery, good presence and very wry. Paul Magers was an anchor in Minneapolis and on KCBS in LA. Smooth as heck and funny, too, just not a national name. Morning anchors in particular do so much chatting they fit the hosting gig.

My problems with Mike Richards are that he’s not interesting or engaging (as noted), and was so brazen about hiring himself. Granted, Jack Barry and Monty did, but at least they created the shows. 


RMF

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2024, 06:35:05 PM »
That doesn't mean that there won't occasionally be a personality who gets dropped into the role of emcee who takes to it well enough that they're well-regarded for their talent and perhaps considered for another game show when the one they're doing peters out, but the notion that there's a stable of Bill Cullens, Tom Kennedys, Peter Tomarkens, and even Tom Bergerons that networks will regularly draw from is plain fanciful at this point. The reason you have people like Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Jones, Joel McHale, and Rob Lowe hosting game shows today (or very recently) is because they need to work every possible angle to draw viewership to their shows, and the host is one of those angles. Some of these names, like Jay Pharoah or Damon Wayans Jr., might seem like they don't have much name recognition, but Pharaoh is an SNL alum and the Wayans name has 30 years worth of pedigree, and that means something when the time comes to choosing who represents the show and what they put in promos. The only exception I can find to this rule in prime-time or major syndication is Sara Haines hosting The Chase, but that show gives the Chasers top billing anyways.

To be a bit provocative, one could argue that, with game shows in prime time, it was always thus.

Let us look at the Goodson-Todman programs of the 1950s and 1960:

-What's My Line?, often seen as the classiest of the programs, had a host in John Charles Daly whose career had been in journalism- and, for the first decade or so of the run, was hosting ABC's nightly news program simultaneously.

-I've Got A Secret may have been the most popular of these series- its first host, Garry Moore, had been involved in game shows since Beat The Band in the early 1940s, but had also been of prominence as a radio comedian turned television variety show host, and in certain regards was the sort of light entertainment personality who bounces between the genres that is seen overseas but hasn't been that common in the United States.

-Bud Collyer, who seems to have been among Goodson-Todman's first choices for new programs during this time, had been highly active as a radio actor/announcer before turning to game shows in the late 1940s- and didn't give up work in the former immediately after starting with the latter.

-Two For The Money is a case in point in two regards- it was originally meant for Fred Allen (whose reputation had been as hostile to the genre), and, when his health made him unable to host, it went to Herb Shriner, at a point where he was seen through his radio, television, and stage work as a rising comedian.

-Even The Name's The Same, an ABC program when they were very much the third network, demonstrates this point- there was a massive continued push during the late 1940s and 1950s to establish Robert Q. Lewis as the next great variety star on both radio and television, though it never quite took.

Moreover, an examination of other prominent primetime game shows by other producers suggests that this isn't just a Goodson-Todman thing:

-The $64,000 Question's host, Hal March, had been an actor/comedian before turning to that series- and, when the scandals hit, largely spent the rest of his career as a comedian.

-Jack Barry had turned to producing and hosting game shows after first obtaining a reputation as a producer/moderator of panel programs (Juvenile Jury, Life Begins at 80 and then as a broader television personality (Winky-Dink and You).

-Even something as second-tier as Masquerade Party demonstrates this- among its string of hosts were the host of CBS's nightly news program, one of Fred Allen's associates, and a movie star of the previous decade.

I make no claim that my list is exhaustive, and I am aware of counter-examples (The Price Is Right being a key one with Goodson-Todman)- but I believe this point demonstrates that there was no real history during the era when game shows were commonly in prime time of basing who was hired to host on prior experience in and chief association with the field, and that, if anything, the sort of approach with game show hosts of hiring the field veterans is some something that develops when it becomes more chiefly something programed in the daytime (though, even there, we can all point to various times when producers or network executives have decided on other approaches).

Dbacksfan12

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2024, 06:56:41 PM »
Not to go to far afield from this, but the last couple lines of RMF’s post brought something to mind:  Was there some kind of push from the networks in the late 80s-early 90s to bring in sports personalities as hosts?  You had Lynn Swann, Jimmy Cefalo, and of course, Rolf.  I think I’m forgetting a couple too.

I feel like you’re seeing it again here recently; Peyton and Kelce come to mind immediately.
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Matt Ottinger

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2024, 08:29:39 PM »
I don't see how it's revelatory to note that many of the original hosts weren't game show hosts from the beginning.  For one thing, it was the beginning of the medium, much less the genre.

Practically any of the "classic" game show hosts you want to name did not grow up wanting to be game show hosts, and many of the successful ones still saw themselves as something else first.
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Jimmy Owen

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2024, 09:55:56 PM »
Bert Parks was the archetype
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Jeremy Nelson

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2024, 10:11:50 PM »
Was there some kind of push from the networks in the late 80s-early 90s to bring in sports personalities as hosts?  You had Lynn Swann, Jimmy Cefalo, and of course, Rolf.  I think I’m forgetting a couple too.
Rolf was highly regarded among the public, which is why Merv hired him. Considering a weatherman got hired after Sajak and everyone had a word puzzle game to sell after Wheel took off, this seems like another instance of people trying to figure out Wheel's secret sauce.
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SuperMatch93

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Re: People: Mike Richards speaks about J! experience, firing
« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2024, 11:57:33 PM »
and many of the successful ones still saw themselves as something else first.

It's good to be reminded of this now and then. Wink Martindale is on record saying that he would have pursued sportscasting instead of game show hosting had he known how big a field it was to become.
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