For decades, game shows have proven to be a beloved television programming staple; and now top talent are vying to headline them. Comedian David Spade, host of the new FOX game show Snake Oil, talks with emmy about his foray into the genre in the award-winning official publication of the Television Academy, on sale Oct. 16.
TV audiences have tuned in for decades to watch game shows that made their hosts nationally known celebrities, but modern game shows are increasingly launched with popular, award-winning talent. As the new host and producer of Snake Oil — a Shark Tank-like game show where contestants guess which product pitches are real and which are fake — Spade reflects on how things have changed. "It used to be, Don't do a game show, don't do commercials. But then, one day, it was like, Why are we so precious about all this?"
Spade was glued to TV as a child. "I loved games shows like Match Game, which is back now, and Card Sharks, Wheel of Fortune and Hollywood Squares," he says. "Those shows were all pretty basic, but now game shows have really advanced. Snake Oil has a huge stage, and there's a lot going on. And the audience really gets into it. I was surprised. With one crowd, we had to tell them to tone it down."
In "Game On," Spade talks with emmy about how the hosting opportunity came to him through his friend Will Arnett, who is one of the executive producers. "He thought I might be a good host," Spade says. "At the initial meeting, I said, 'I don't think I'm really good at this. I'm not Ryan Seacrest.' They said, 'We want an anti-game show host,' [and] I thought, Well, that makes it a little different. I can handle that."
Spade has turned out to be a great fit. "I liked the idea, and I am kind of snarky on TV and in my shows. [In ] I get to make fun of the contestants, the crowd and the celebrity advisors. That part is fun. But I'm really the straight man trying to organize the show," he says. The show itself is not easy to host, nor is it easy to win, with many unable to determine the truth among the lies. "People will say, 'This is fake.' But you never know. So many people get it wrong! That's what we're loving." And was he ever fooled? "Oh, I was wrong most of the time."
In the accompanying emmy story, "Game Time," game show creators, producers and experts weigh in on the popularity of the genre and why audiences continue to tune in. New to the Emmy Awards competition administered by the Television Academy, the categories for Outstanding Game Show and Outstanding Host for a Game Show will be part of the 75th Emmy Awards in January.
Additional feature highlights from the new issue include:
- In "The Director Is In," prolific television director James Burrows reflects on his decades-long career behind the camera with hits such as Cheers, Friends, Will & Grace, The Big Bang Theory and Frasier. Burrows talks with emmy about bringing Frasier back to the screen on Paramount+ and his thoughts on the many changes in television over the years.
- Craftspeople behind three new period limited series — Apple TV+'s Lessons in Chemistry, Netflix's ,em>All the Light We Cannot See and Showtime's Fellow Travelers — reflect on how they recreated the looks and set pieces of bygone eras in "Committed to the Craft."
- In "Where the Buffalo Roam," executive producer Ken Burns talks with emmy about exploring the inextricable link between indigenous people and the once-plentiful bison in the two-part documentary The American Buffalo, premiering Oct. 16 on PBS.
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider's view. With wide-ranging, inclusive subjects representative of the Television Academy membership and the medium as a whole, emmy showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make it happen, from the stars of top shows and artisans behind the cameras, to programming trends and technological advances. Honored with dozens of awards for editorial excellence, emmy is published 12 times per year and is available on selected newsstands and at TelevisionAcademy.com for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.
Download the press release here.
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