Bob Barker. Bob Eubanks. Chuck Woolery. Alex Trebek. These men mastered the art of being a game show host.
If you want to emulate your favorite game show host and host a game show of your own, there is a career pathway to follow. With the right experience and education, you could be in front of a studio audience, interact with contestants, and give away great prizes, too.
Gregarious People Should Apply
Game show hosts are responsible for talking with contestants. Therefore, you must learn how to conduct interesting interviews and talk to strangers. The best game show hosts seamlessly chat with contestants, explain the rules, and keep the show moving. They are also able to manage any unexpected moments that could happen with contestants, equipment, and studio audiences. If you do not like interacting with people, then being a game show host is not going to be a job that you enjoy.
Another important consideration for people who want to be a game show host is to be a creative contributor. The staff that runs the show has regular meetings, and the host should always be included in those. As the host, you should be able to accept evaluations from the staff and be able to provide ideas that improve your own performance, as well as the show. You should be able to offer ideas that could make the show more entertaining and sustainable.
People who love being on stage and interacting with others certainly thrive if they can get a job as a game show host. It is helpful to gain experience in broadcasting, so you learn how television programs are produced. Some game show hosts started in the business behind the scenes as cameramen or assistants.
Also, many people who become game show hosts begin their television careers working on television shows in other genres, such as a newscaster or sidekick, where they gain fame by showing off their skills working with people in front of the camera.
How Much Do They Get Paid?
Game show hosts take home very nice salaries. For hosts, like Pat Sajak and Vanna White, salary contracts are between $8 million and $12 million annually. It is common for game show hosts to take home salaries around $10 million. This is quite an upgrade from the salaries that game show hosts once made.
For example, Chuck Woolery, who was the original host of Wheel of Fortune, was let go because he asked for a raise from his $45,000 salary, so he could be closer to the $500,000 that other hosts were making.
The federal government keeps a close eye on the average salaries for careers in the United States. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not have an accurate range for men and women who want to be game shows hosts. But, if you look at a similar career, such as radio and television hosts, you see that they make about $42,000 annually. These are usually in small, local markets. Since game shows are shown on cable networks all over the world, the hosts make significantly more money than small market radio hosts.
Another statistic that the federal government keeps an eye on is the outlook for careers. Like the salaries for game show hosts, the government does not have a statistic for the outlook of this fun career. But radio and television hosts as a whole see a stable market with very little change in the next few years. So, it is safe to correlate this to game show hosts.
The biggest problem for people who want to become game show hosts is that the ones who are currently hosting tend to keep their jobs for a long time. For example, Alex Trebek has been hosting Jeopardy since 1984. Pat Sajak has been hosting Wheel of Fortune since 1981. There appears to be very good job security for game show hosts. Of course, when long-time hosts decide to retire, there are plenty of people who want to take their places, so competition can be rather fierce as television networks and producers want to hire only the best.
Education and Experience
Sadly, people who want to become game show hosts cannot earn a degree in hosting game shows. People who want to work in television need to have at least a high school diploma, and it is a good idea to have some training in working in front of the camera. People who have college degrees in journalism, broadcasting, or communication often have a better chance at finding jobs in a tough market, like television hosting. Another useful degree for someone who wants to host a game show would be acting because each game show host has a unique persona while on stage.
Many of the long-time game show hosts worked their way through various television programs. Some were in broadcast news, some were weathermen, and some worked as comedians and actors.
Bob Barker of The Price is Right worked in radio while in college and afterward, prior to his transition to television. Bob Eubanks of the Newlywed Game also got his start in radio. Many of today’s popular game show hosts, like Drew Carey, Steve Harvey, and Wayne Brady, all worked in comedy prior to hosting their shows.
Becoming a game show host is not an easy career path, but it certainly is rewarding. Clearly, people who have this job love it because they keep it for such a long time. With the right background and a gregarious personality, becoming a game show host could be a reality. Which game show would you like to host?