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It's probably not a stretch to say that most people who watch game shows don't give too much thought to the hosts. Sure, we might watch partly to see Drew Carey, Steve Harvey, Wayne Brady, Alec Baldwin and their ilk crack jokes and congratulate winners, but many game show fans likely don't give much thought to how much work goes into hosting a show like The Price Is Right. Viewers are so caught up in watching the game unfold that they don't give much thought to all the moving parts involved that require the attention of the host at any given time. Well, one executive producer for that long-running game show, Mike Richards, has revealed what the hardest part of hosting actually is.
You have to be able to manage the clock, manage the game, manage the tension. I'm not sure people fully grasp how Wayne has more than 200 deals to keep track of while taping Let's Make a Deal and Drew has 77 different games he's got to be aware of during The Price Is Right. A good host has to be a really good producer out there, so maybe that's why it's been relatively easy for me to make that transition.
Phew. I have to admit, I've gotten a little overwhelmed just thinking about trying to juggle that many deals, games and assorted other game show factors and all I have to do is read about what a host has to deal with. Mike Richards spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what it really takes to be a good game show host, and, to him, it means mastering the difficulty of not only knowing your game through and through, but handling all the tension, the time limits and the expectations of the contestants as they play.
Mike Richards should know how hard it is to stand in front of a live studio audience and keep a game show running smoothly. He was an executive producer on The Price Is Right from 2009-2016 and held the same job on Let's Make a Deal from 2009-2015. He also hosted The Pyramid in 2012 and currently hosts GSN's new game show Divided. I would have thought that the hardest part of being a game show host would be dealing with people when they lose or get answers wrong, but it turns out that those things are just the tip of a very complicated game show iceberg where the host basically has to keep eyes, ears, and a lot of mental energy attuned to every aspect of the show.
Well, I just gained a whole new respect for the Alex Trebeks and Chuck Woolerys of the world. I'll certainly be more likely to pay attention to the host of any game show I watch next; it turns out that those fine men and women really deserve it.