March 29, 2009

television personalities: how did they get so lucky?

how do people like pat sajak and alex trebek do it? i mean, they're celebrities now, but where do they come from? the only reason they're celebrities is because they started hosting a television game show that just happened to take off. trebek has been hosting since 1984 and sajak since 1983, but before that? not much. sajak was a radio dj in college and in vietnam, and trebek hosted a handful of failure game shows before jeopardy, but then they just happened to land a jackpot hosting gig...i could totally do their jobs. where's my big break?

those are just the oldies. here are a few of the current guys who are rising to stardom out of nowhere:

ben bailey - cash cab - prior to the show, bailey was a comedian doing after-hours story telling while he was in college. then suddenly some big shot lady thinks he's funny, gives him a job doing stand up in los angeles, and then a few years later he's hosting the american version of cash cab. also he is a licensed cabbie.

billy mays - infomercial allstar - okay, he's not a game show host, but he's definitely a rising television star. the guy skipped out on college and just started as a salesman on the streets of atlantic city. then he started doing sales at home shows and state fairs. one day the founder of Orange Glo International happens to see his sales style, likes it, puts him in a commercial. suddenly in 2009 he's in something like 819 informercials and lives in a $1.8M home in florida.

i could do those jobs. things like going pro in basketball - i don't have those skills - but i have game show hosting skills. now all i have to do is meet some big timer who will catapult me to stardom in a moment.

maybe i'll just spend my sunday afternoon watching basketball and brainstorming terrific game show ideas. like this one where people dress up as toy story characters, run up a ramp, get repeatedly pummeled by rolling soda cylinders and end up in a rectangular pool of icy water.

absolute genius. excessive yen and major stardom for woody overnight.


props to marko for the vid.


Pat Sajak said...

Well, here's how I did it. Keep in mid that we didn't have the Internet to post complaints about why no one would hire me. Instead, I studied communications and journalism in school. I joined the Army, went to Vietnam and spent time with Armed Forces Radio in Saigon. After the service, I worked at a series of small radio stations in places like Murray, Kentucky, gradually moving to local television in Nashville. The local NBC station in Los Angeles eventually hired me away, and I moved to the West Coast where national producers called and asked me to do various pilots for network television shows. I had a couple of offers for prime time shows, but I turned them down. When the original host of the NBC daytime version of "Wheel" left, the producers asked me to sign up. (They liked my work doing the news, weather and talk shows on TV in L.A.) I did, the show took off, and we added the nighttime version of the show a couple of years later. My advice would be to stop whining and get to work. And good luck.

adam paul said...

man i hope the above comment is real. that would rule.

karlie nicole mann. said...

wheel of fortune is the best show ever. pat, if that's really you then you are awesome.

luke said...

so do you think pat sajak just googles his name every day to see what people out there are writing about him?

Jenna said...

Yeh! What he said! Get to work! haha. No really, you'd be a good host.

Hank said...

He probably has Google Alerts keyed on his name. The service sends you an e-mail every time Google's crawl comes across a page with your name in it. If I was famous I would do things like this all day, just to brighten some fan's day (or crush their dreams, as necessary).

Holly said...