Who Should Host the “Price is Right?” Part 1 of 1

August 12, 2007

Admittedly, the timing of this post couldn’t be worse, as CBS not too long ago tapped Drew “I made Craig Ferguson” Carey to host their long-running (soon ending?) Game Show. Replacing Bob Barker-qua-host would be a daunting task for anyone (excepting, of course, David Letterman, Ted Koppel, and ibiteyourshowcaseshowdown!), but replacing Bob Barker-qua-legend is nigh impossible. Why it wasn’t so long ago that he beat-up Happy Gilmore, and even less time since his brilliant guest appearance as Barney’s possible father on “How I Met Your Mother,” an incredibly likable if inconsistent sitcom (though still on my top-five of current comedies. The others? you don’t ask. The Office, 30 Rock, and– no, that’s it. There are only 3 really good sitcoms on American TV right now. But Dr. House makes up for it all!!!!!!!).

Only the consistent work of Bob Barker managed to keep things afloat lo these many years, separating TPIR from its mediocre brethren, and, no less important, helped to control the pet population (something the cat-ridden Zionist entity could surely use). The worry is, of course, that the “Price is Right,” the grande dame of American game shows, will go the way of the “Family Feud”: first they’ll struggle through a sequence of overweight quasi-celebrity hosts, before eventually drowning in the pond of historical expectations (note how the water imagery makes everything seem more important).

Since the powers that be have already spoken, there would seem to be no reason to use this bully pulpit to speak on behalf of the common man, to use this forum to advocate for Michael Ian Black. After all, Michael Ian Black likes motor scooters while Mr. Carey, to the best of my knowledge, has never stated his opinion about motor scooters. Never stated his opinion? About Motor Scooters? So instead of pointing out the wrongful selection and joining the naysayers in their saying of “Nay!”, I’ll instead offer a few suggestions for how best to run the host selection process in the future.

1. Democratization

If the War in Iraq and the great Late Late Show host search of ’04 have taught us anything, it’s that people love democracy. Committees should open up the host selection process and let real-time experience be the judge of a hosts ability/potential. Mr. Carey’s Late Late Show performance was terrible, while Mr. Ferguson’s showed great promise (ironically enough, the best performer that go-round was co-runner-up Michael Ian Black). Have guest hosts for a few months before you choose a permanent replacement and let people who want to host for a few days, and just for a few days, host for a few days. I’m sure CBS is regretting not having an open search for Nightly News host, given the Katie Couric debacle. With an open process they could have tried out John Roberts as an anchor before letting him jump ship, or they could have considered a Connie Chung comeback. Besides, wouldn’t just two nights of the CBS News with Tom Cruise or the CBS News with Triumph the Insult Shouting Dog have made the whole thing worthwhile?

2. Think outside the box!

Every corporate manager knows that thinking outside the box is the best way to improve your company. Don’t miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity and take a chance; use the transition to change the whole format around! Why do game shows need to have so many games? Perhaps the Price is Right would be better of as an auction show, or bridge show. And why do talk-shows need a host? Perhaps all that’s needed is a particularly demonic cat, and the show could be seeing how different celebrity guests interact with the cat. Or the producers can just have some random person from the audience be the host every night. I remember Letterman letting some guy guest host one night when Mary Tyler Moore was on, I believe in 96/97 (if anyone knows, please page me). I don’t know if these ideas would work, but I’m betting John Q. Network-Executive doesn’t know either. Take a risk!

3. Reality Shows

I’m sure someone’s already made a reality show about finding the next host for a show, but what I’m suggesting is far more extensive. First have a reality show about picking a host, then have a reality show about preparing the new show, then film a documentary of the actual production. But here’s the kicker: never air the new show! If people want to see the new host in action, they’ll just have to watch the excerpts in the documentary. There’s definitely a market for this; after all, Project Greenlight always did way better than any of the movies.

4. Arrange for the Presidential Runner-Up to be the New Host

Why not? Americans always fall for Presidential runner-ups (Gore, Dole, Kerry, Dukakis–ok, 50% of Presidential runner-ups), and their Q rating would be through the roof. I’m also willing to bet that this would have a substantial impact on people’s voting habits. Bush seemed way more likeable than Gore in 2000, surely a good candidate for host of TPIR or a talk-show. All you need is a couple of hundred people in Florida to swing their votes to Gore and, ergo, cast a ballot for Bust for host, and America becomes a much better place.

God bless the USA.

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