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January 3, 2006

Host or No Host

Last week in this space, I started the speculation about who might host a syndicated version of “Deal or No Deal” and asked for your ideas on the subject.  I received some intriguing responses that really made me think.

I put out George Gray and Todd Newton as possibles last week.  Here are some (not all, due to time concerns) of your thoughts, and my comments:

Jordan Hass threw in the ring several choices, including former sitcom star Drew Carey and “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron.  Bergeron likely would not have time to do the show, and besides he is almost as beholden to ABC as Regis is.  Carey proved his hosting-ability with “Play for a Billion” but would he fit in with the required drama element of the series?

One of Jordan’s names is rather intriguing, and not many would consider it:  Hal Sparks.  Sparks is the former host of E!’s “Talk Soup,” and most recently co-star of the Showtime series “Queer as Folk.”  I don’t know how strong of a host he’d be, but at face value, he sure does seem to have the required skills for this show – the ability to be funny when necessary, a dramatic element, and at least a little ability to ad-lib.  That last piece of information is the one that could cause problems…how well does he ad-lib, and how well would he roll with the punches that this show creates?

If we use the “Weakest Link” and “Millionaire” theories, then Brad Hasbrouck has the right idea:  he says “Cold Pizza” host Kit Hoover is a good choice.  Hoover has a little game show experience…as judge on ESPN’s “Dream Job.”  The theory I’m referencing is as follows:  the NBC series “Weakest Link” was hosted by Anne Robinson (female) and the syndie series by George Gray (male).  ABC’s “Millionaire” is hosted by Regis Philbin (male); the syndie version by Meredith Vieira (female). 

Scott Meckley, after throwing his own hat in the ring, adds another great choice to the mix:  Mark L. Walberg.  Walberg most recently hosted GSN’s “Russian Roulette,” a show that also requires humor and a little drama. 

He also mentions game show legends Chuck Woolery and Peter Tomarken.  In my opinion, probably neither of them would be suited for the series…the producers are probably looking for someone younger, or who would attract younger viewers.

Thanks to everyone who took time to make suggestions and send comments.  After considering what you’ve had to say, and thinking about it myself, here’s my take:

If – and only if – “Deal or No Deal” remains an occasional 5-day series on NBC, then keep Howie Mandel as host of both series.  If NBC wants to take “Deal” to more than an occasional series…a new syndie host must be found.  I don’t know if Walberg is interested in doing another series…but it seems to me he’d be well suited for this one if he wanted it.

Not Dancing with the Dancing Stars

Yes, it’s true.  I can’t dance.  So we’ll leave it to the stars…some of whom can’t dance either!  I have a sneaking suspicion the American public felt bad for pro dancer Ashly DelGrosso (who had a great partner last season).  That, in combination with Master P’s ‘pleas for New Orleans,’ probably led to them getting another week.  Beyond that, Kenny Mayne is probably the one who should’ve gone this week.  I think once we get past week 3 or 4 of the series, we are going to see some great dancing and great competition.  This week’s Quick Step should probably knock Master P out of the game, since he was barely moving at all last week. 

The Game Show Alphabet

Wow…two weeks in a row I remembered to do this feature!  Let’s take D…and why not?  After all, the two shows already discussed in this week’s column both start with D also.

This week’s choice is “Double Dare.”  Not the game show folks like you and I grew up with, where kids got doused with green slime.  I’m talking about the 1976-1977 version, hosted by Alex Trebek.  The game lasted just four months…and was a bit tough to follow.   Read more here:

See you next week…when I try to find a game show that starts with E.  (Wish me luck!)

Jason Elliott should really play Ultramix2 if he wants to get his dancing with the stars. E-mail him at


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