See Your Favorite TV Game Show Hosts Then and Now
Everyone loves a good game show, and it takes a really special game show host to keep us engaged and excited — they’ve gotta be charismatic and knowledgeable (and it doesn’t hurt if they have great hair). We take a look back at some of your favorite TV game show hosts, from the super-classic to a few newer favorites, to see what they looked like back then, and what they’re up to now.
Then: Bob Barker, who previously hosted the long-running game show ‘Truth or Consequences,’ was tapped to host ‘The Price is Right’ for CBS. Over the years he would also host short-lived game shows like ‘The Family Game’ (for game show genius Chuck Barris) and ‘Simon Says.’ An animal rights activist, he would always end an episode of ‘The Price is Right’ by encouraging viewers to get their pets spayed and neutered.
Now: Barker retired from ‘The Price is Right’ in 2007 and passed the hosting duties on to Drew Carey. Barker set a longevity record for holding a weekday TV job continuously for 51 years. He continues to donate money to animal rights organizations.
Then: Chuck Barris got his start as a page at NBC before moving over to ABC and working behind the scenes. In 1965, he started his own production company and created his first game show: ‘The Dating Game.’ He also created game show classics ‘The Newlywed Game’ and ‘The Gong Show.’
Now: In 1984, Barris released the autobiography ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,’ in which he claims that, during the entirety of his game show career, he was working as an assassin for the CIA. In 2002, George Clooney adapted the book into a film starring Sam Rockwell as Barris. He has released seven books in total, including a 2010 memoir about the death of his daughter.
Then: In 1986, Marc Summers was selected to host the Nickelodeon family game show ‘Double Dare.’ His work on the show landed him gigs hosting Nickelodeon’s ‘What Would You Do?’ and ‘Couch Potatoes.’
Now: Summers returned to Nickelodeon in 2000 as an executive consultant for ‘Double Dare 2000,’ a revamped version of the classic game show. The host also found a welcome spot at the Food Network, where he hosted ‘Unwrapped’ and the first season of ‘The Next Food Network Star,’ and produces the shows ‘Restaurant: Impossible’ and ‘Dinner: Impossible.’ In 2012, Summers’ face was badly injured in a car accident in Philadelphia, but he recovered and you can see his post-recovery photo above.
Then: In 1966, music producer and radio personality Bob Eubanks received a call from Chuck Barris to host a brand new game show called ‘The Newlywed Game.’ The show became an instant classic, and Eubanks hosted various iterations of the show throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Now: Eubanks has guest-starred on the TV shows ‘Kenan and Kel’ and ‘That ’70s Show,’ and he’s made appearances on conventional game shows like ’1 vs. 100′ and ‘The Amazing Race 17.’ In 2004, he released his autobiography, ‘It’s in the Book, Bob.’
Then: Like several other game show hosts, Wink Martindale began his career as a radio DJ before making the leap to the small screen. His first game show hosting gig was for the 1964 NBC show ‘What’s This Song?’ but he wouldn’t host a successful game show until eight years later, when he moved to CBS to host ‘Gambit.’ In the early 90s, Martindale teamed up with The Family Channel to produce a series of interactive game shows, including ‘Trivial Pursuit,’ which he hosted.
Now: In 2006, Martindale received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also one of the first members inducted into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame. Martindale has appeared in various television commercials, but is mostly retired.
Then: In the 90s, MTV premiered their own edgy, modern take on dating game shows: ‘Singled Out’ was hosted by Chris Hardwick (with Jenny McCarthy as raunchy sidekick). The show ran from 1995 to 1998.
Now: Hardwick is the host of The Nerdist Podcast, as well as ‘Talking Dead’ and ‘Talking Bad’ on AMC. He also has a new comedic panel show called ‘@Midnight,’ which will debut after ‘The Colbert Report,’ four nights a week, on Comedy Central this fall.
Then: In 1981, game show creator Merv Griffin asked local news weatherman and radio DJ Pat Sajak to replace Chuck Woolery as the host of ‘Wheel of Fortune.’ Sajak hosted both the daytime and nighttime versions of the show from 1983 to 1989, when the daytime version was canceled.
Now: Sajak continues to host the syndicated evening version of ‘Wheel of Fortune’ to this day. He also supports conservative political causes and operates two Maryland-based AM radio stations.
Then: Former newscaster and sportscaster Alex Trebek made the jump to game show hosting in 1966, when he hosted the high school quiz show ‘Reach for the Top.’ That gig led him to hosting duties on ‘High Rollers,’ ‘The Wizard of Odds,’ and CBS’ ‘Double Dare’ (not the same as Nickelodeon’s version). And finally, in 1984, Trebek became the host of the daily syndicated version of the popular quiz show ‘Jeopardy.’
Now: Trebek continues to host ‘Jeopardy,’ and has appeared on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ He plans on retiring in the 2015-2016 season of the show, and it’s rumored that ‘Today Show’ host Matt Lauer will replace him.
Then: Anne Robinson didn’t plan on becoming a TV game show host — with a degree in journalism, Robinson worked for various UK papers and became the first female editor of the Daily Mirror. After making guest appearances on several British talk shows, Robinson hosted the British version of ‘The Weakest Link,’ which led to the US version on NBC, which Robinson also hosted until 2002. Her line, “You are the weakest link — goodbye!” became an instant catchphrase.
Now: Though the US version only lasted a couple of years, Robinson continued to host the BBC version of ‘The Weakest Link’ until 2012. She’s also hosted the BBC shows ‘What’s the Problem? With Anne Robinson’ and ‘Test the Nation.’
Then: Vanna White made her first game show appearance as a hopeful contestant on a 1980 episode of ‘The Price is Right.’ In 1982, White was chosen as one of three possible replacements for Susan Stafford when the hostess left ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ and beat out her competition for the highly-coveted spot.
Now: White continues to flip the famous ‘Wheel of Fortune’ tiles for longtime host Pat Sajak on the game show, and in her spare time she is a knitting and crochet enthusiast with her own line of yarns called Vanna’s Choice.
Then: Mike O’Malley’s entered the TV game show scene on Nickelodeon in the 90s as the host of ‘Get the Picture’ and ‘GUTS,’ the latter of which was retitled ‘Global GUTS.’
Now: O’Malley went on to star in the television shows ‘Yes, Dear’ and ‘Glee,’ and became a spokesperson for Time Warner Cable. He currently has a recurring role on ‘Parenthood,’ has written two plays, and is a writer and consulting producer on the Showtime series ‘Shameless.’
Then: A former officer of the US Navy and minor folk/country recording artist, Chuck Woolery was asked to host ‘Wheel of Fortune’ by game show creator Merv Griffin in 1975. He stepped down in 1981 over a salary dispute, and was replaced by Pat Sajak. Woolery went on to host ‘Love Connection,’ ‘The Dating Game,’ and ‘Greed.’
Now: Woolery has often spoken of his love of bass fishing and has his own line of fishing products called MotoLure. He is now the outdoor spokesman for QVC.
Then: Kirk Fogg began hosting the Nickelodeon game show ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’ in 1993, and continued to host until the series was canceled in 1995. Along with ‘GUTS’ and ‘Double Dare,’ ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’ was one of the network’s most popular game shows for kids.
Now: Fogg has written, produced, and directed two films: ‘Distortion’ (in which he also stars) and ‘Yeah Vous.’ He’s also appeared on ‘Veronica Mars’ and in several television commercials.