Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You can learn a lot from a troll.......

Google's newsgroups are littered with "trolls", self-serving online pranksters whose primary mission is to irritate as many people as possible for their own amusement. They act childish, and have no remorse for their actions. One troll, however, actually opened a doorway of knowledge in pointing out a recent television trend, which is the real reason for this post.

The troll in question, whom we'll call "Lester", mockingly took umbrage over the recent decision of Fremantle Media, the current rights holder to the Goodson-Todman family of game shows, to appoint actor-comedian-radio personality Steve Harvey as the incoming host of Family Feud, beginning next month, succeeding John O'Hurley (ex-Seinfeld). Harvey currently has a morning radio gig in New York, with Feud being his first TV gig since the end of his self-titled sitcom on the WB. We'll all find out together if he has the chops to be a top-of-the-line game show host.

Fellow entertainer Wayne Brady has made that transition, and fairly easily at that. In the last decade, Brady has gone from being part of Drew Carey's repertory company on Whose Line is it Anyway? to hosting his own ABC variety show, a 2-year run with a syndicated talk show, and was the original host of Fox's Don't Forget the Lyrics, which returns in syndication next month with singer Mark McGrath replacing Brady, who has gone on to the revival of another cherished game show, Let's Make a Deal. In landing the Deal gig, Brady became the first African-American to host a network game show in nearly 20 years, the last one being sportscaster Ahmad Rashad, who hosted something called Caesar's Challenge for NBC around the early 90's. Harvey becomes the 2nd, and there's another one on the way.

Actress-comedienne Sherri Shepherd, part of the roundtable on ABC's The View, is reportedly in line to take over GSN's revival of the Chuck Barris classic, The Newlywed Game, taking over for singer Carnie Wilson, who is leaving after 2 years. The irony here is that the ribald, often risque content of Newlywed presents a challenge for Shepherd, who is also a born-again Christian. "Lester" wasn't aware of this development when it was raised a couple of weeks back, although he did acknowledge that Carnie was leaving the show.

What prompted "Lester"'s rant is the common thread of African-Americans being hired to host classic game shows. He used the "N" word to describe Brady & Harvey, but as I noted at the start, "Lester", at his core, is a troll. Even when he's trying to spur some actually serious discussion, no one wants to pay him any attention because of his stale routines, which include asking what game show a recently deceased star will host, or claiming that someone had "an accident" or allegedly drank "boar semen", and claim it actually happened without having any evidence to support his claims. Instead of flooding the newsgroups with his juvenile writing, "Lester" should find something a little more rewarding for his talents. I hear that tabloids like The Globe are hiring..........

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