Game shows have been entertaining guests since the 1940s. Many believe that its golden years were during the ‘70s with shows such as “Let’s Make a Deal” and “Price is Right” leading the charge. As the years passed by many games would lose their way and fade into the history books of entertainment. Now in the age of Hollywood where pretty much everything is a remake or a revival game shows are getting a second life. Most recently “Press Your Luck,” the hit game show from the 1980s has been given life again on the ABC’s new game show night. Hosted by big-name film actress Elizabeth Banks, “Press Your Luck” still follows the same format it did 30 years ago. The ABC also brought back “Match Game” with host Alec Baldwin and “Card Sharks” with host Joel McHale. So far, the three classic games shows have had solid ratings, but that might be due to what I like to call the “nostalgia” effect on viewers. I mean these games shows were canceled at some point, so will history repeat itself? Only time will tell.
The only change that ABC really made was to bring in a big-name film/tv actor to take over the role of the host. Instead of going out and finding a new unknown host, ABC is banking on the idea that a big name will bring ratings to an otherwise stale game show.
So the question becomes why are big-name celebrities taking on the role of network television game show host?
Alec Baldwin, who is a very talented award-winning actor and also proved in ’30 Rock” that he is a hilarious comedian, accepted a game show host roll. What is the attraction for big-name talent to host a game show that was canceled years ago?
When they announced Elizabeth Banks, who shined in the “Hunger Games” series, as a game show host I found myself scratching my head as it just didn’t seem like something she would want to do. The only host I found that kind of made sense was Joel McHale for “Card Sharks,” but then he has to really tone down his personality to host a network game show. Joel’s talent lies in his comedic bite and opinionated personality, which made “Talk Soup” such an amazing show and “Community” so great. So why would the edgy comedian take on a toned down game show host role? You even have a comedic talent such as Ellen Degeneres hosting the game show “Game of Games.” Jamie Fox, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “Ray,” is hosting the game show “Beat Shazam.”
What am I missing here in this equation? Are these talented actors hurting financially? I can believe networks would be dealing out big sums of money on revived gameshows. But the missing link here is why do A-List actors want to host game shows? Also, why are networks using a big chunk of their budget to get this talent? I mean they could hire someone like me for probably a fourth or just a hot meal for what they pay Alec Baldwin. I do like that they are bringing these classic game shows back, but I believe the games definitely needed to be updated and modernized for the 2019 audience.
This then brings us to another thing that is happening in the game show world as shows such as “Celebrity Family Feud,” are replacing regular people contestants with celebrities. Shows such as “Drop the Mic,” “Lip Sync Battle,” and “The Masked Singer” are doing the same. Is this going to be the history of game shows? Are celebrities slowly just going to take over like in the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”? I mean they already have the money and fame, why take anything away from the Average Joe that just wants to be on TV and win a few bucks. That’s why we all watch game shows, to begin with, because we want to see real people get a chance to win big. We want to see the real pure excitement that comes from a real person winning a combo washer dryer.