I want to be a game show host.
Some children have aspirations to be astronauts, police officers or doctors when they grow up – professions that truly better human life. And then there’s me.
In my constant quest for game show satisfaction, I’ve seen many hits and many flops. A successful game show needs to have much more than a unique concept. What truly makes the show is the host.
In honor of the first televised The Price is Right hosted by Drew Carey, I’ve developed a top 10 list of the best game show hosts ever.
10. Ben Stein
The comical, arrogant, ex-presidential speechwriter had a hit with 1997’s Win Ben Stein’s Money. Sure, it was his only game show, but he did it well.
Some might say he is the “bizarro” Alex Trebek, whom you proudly will not find on this list. For one, Stein never freaked us out with a scary mustache.
9. Regis Philbin
I’d feel guilty not putting Philbin on this list, even though he’s only hosted one successful game show. But the daytime talker began a national phenomenon with Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
He’s getting old. Maybe his response skills are becoming comparable to Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas’. But the Reg is a living legend. Plus, he released a CD in which he sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with the talentless Donald Trump. Need I say more?
8. Anne Robinson
In the U.K., you’d be scolded for not knowing Robinson, who’s been in the spotlight since 2000. She hosts The Weakest Link, which still airs overseas.
Quick on her feet with sarcasm and wit, she wasn’t able to capture U.S. viewers in 2001 and lasted only one year. That truly makes us the weakest link. Goodbye.
7. Dick Clark
It would be a crime not to put this man on the list. Another living legend, he is best known for The $10,000 Pyramid and subsequent series, which aired from 1970 to 1989.
On that note, you will not find Donny Osmond on this list for his updated version of Pyramid. I would lose all accreditation as a human.
6. Alan Ludden
This man could be considered the modern “Father of Game Show Hosts.” He hosted the original Password from 1961 to 1974 with professionalism and humor. He was truly respected in his time and can serve as a model for hosts everywhere.
Plus, he was married to “Golden Girl” Betty White. This guy had it made.
5. Gene Rayburn
“Dumb Dora was so dumb. . .,” Rayburn says.
“How dumb is she?” the audience screams in return.
The Match Game captivated America for nearly a decade, mainly because of the chemistry between Rayburn and his counterparts. He made it into a sitcom rather than a game show. The interactions among Rayburn and his legendary panelists will forever live on through the Game Show Network.
4. Tom Bergeron
If you were to ask me what I want to be in life, I would tell you “Tom Bergeron.” You know him today for hosting Dancing with the Stars and America’s Funniest Videos, but he got his start back in 1998 on the new Hollywood Squares. In my opinion, he would have been the perfect fit as new host for Price, but I don’t work for CBS.
3. Richard Dawson
GSN has proved the influence of Dawson by airing at least one episode of Family Feud per day. He left The Match Game in 1976 to host Feud, turning it into a franchise that just cannot be brought down. Even the atrocious Louie Anderson couldn’t hurt it.
Plus, he kissed every female contestant and even married one. Ain’t that the life.
2. Pat Sajak
Sajak is on here and Trebek is not. Cry me a river and spin me a wheel.
Sajak is the epitome of what a game show host should be. The most entertaining part is his interaction with the contestants.
Sajak adds variety, kindness and laughter into what’s basically an updated form of Hangman. It takes a talented person to make that into one of America’s most-watched shows.
1. Bob Barker
I don’t think it would be a stretch to say every somewhat-knowledgeable person in America recognizes the name Bob Barker.
Even by the time he retired at 83 years old, this man was still at the top of his game. Yes, he may be hard of hearing, but he unites generations of Americans from the youngest kindergartener to the oldest grandmother through a game show. If that’s not power, I don’t know what is.
And finally, help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Goodbye, everybody!
Chris Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.