Game show host Todd Newton has worked on some really fun game shows. He hosted Hollywood Showdown and Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck on GSN, the Powerball Instant Millionaire, and has been one of the rotating hosts for The Price is Right Live show in Las Vegas for several years.
Newton's latest game show, Family Game Night, is a great format that allows him to interact with kids and their parents as they navigate giant versions of popular board games. He's enthusiastic about the show, and why wouldn't he be? Family Game Night celebrates all that is positive and fun about the game show genre.
Todd Newton graciously agreed to answer a few questions about Family Game Night - and a few other things!
About.com: Hi Todd! Tell us about Family Game Night - you seem to be enjoying yourself with this show!
Todd Newton: I am! I love this show. I've been so fortunate to host fun shows like this in the past, and now this one really hits home because I'm a dad now. I have a 10-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter, and there's a game chest in the living room that's cracked because it's overflowing with board games. Family Game Night is great because it's based on the games that we all play in living rooms across the country. It's the perfect example of when preparation and opportunity come together.
I used to play Connect Four when I was a kid, and I always beat my brother - I had great strategy in that game. Now, when the kids are playing it on the show, it's hard to keep my mouth shut! I want to shout out and tell them where to play so they can win!
About.com: Is it a challenge to work with young kids in this environment, since you can't really know what to expect from them?
Todd Newton: I wouldn't call it a challenge. As you said, I have no idea what to expect, but that makes it exciting. And since I have kids of my own I can speak their language! As a parent you get to see the world through your children's eyes. With this show I get to see the game through the eyes of the kids playing.
What I love most, and this is true of any game show I've hosted, is that I get to stand next to contestants as they win. I've given away over 28 million dollars over the course of my career. With Family Game Night it's one win after another, so there's lots of excitement especially with the kids.
About.com: Which Family Game Night game do you think is the most difficult?
Todd Newton: It's difficult to say, since all of the games require different skills. With Sorry Sliders for example you need just the right amount of oomph to get those pieces moving. I think the hardest game though is the Bop It! Boptagon because you can't let your guard down. The more successful you are in the game, the harder it gets!
About.com: Most of the game shows you've been involved with have been upbeat and lighthearted. Is that intentional, or would you consider a more serious quiz show?
Todd Newton: I love the whole game show genre, and the entire bright, upbeat, energetic feel. I'm at home with that. As I've worked on more and more shows I've fallen deeper in love with the genre. At this point I would love to be part of a high drama quiz show, something like a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for example. I did the Powerball lottery show and I loved that - the drama and tension.
I'd be interested in doing any game show where no one gets humiliated or hurt. You see some of these shows where people are put through all kinds of things and it's not always a positive experience. I don't want to be the guy who embarasses people on television.
About.com: One of the shows you did recently, World's Wildest Game Shows on the Travel Channel, featured some really insane games. Do you think American game shows are starting to move towards that kind of format?
Todd Newton: I do a lot of traveling, not just for that show but for my public speaking and life coaching, and I've spoken with a lot of game show people and seen some of these shows in person. I think that kind of show might be a little much for an American audience. One thing I learned is that, in the first two minutes of a game show, audiences want to see a contestant they can root for. Then they want to see that contestant win a lot of money. Successful game shows are always the ones in which viewers can play along or guess along with the contestants.
Todd Newton: I am still involved! I'll be starting an 8-week run of the show in Atlantic City at Bally's, from September 24th to November 16th (2011). I always give a nice tip of the hat to the show and to Bob Barker. Hosting is an art, and there will never be anyone as good at this as he was.
Anyone who works on a game show in any capacity is aware of the longevity of The Price is Right - it's an important part of television. I will definitely acknowledge the 40th anniversary.
About.com: If you could take a classic game show, give it a makeover, and bring it to prime time (and host it of course!), which show would you choose?
Todd Newton: Press Your Luck! I had so much fun with Whammy!, and Press Your Luck is such a well-developed game. It has so much recognition, I'd love to make it big and loud and bright, and expose a prime time audience to the game.
About.com: Thank you very much for your time, and best of luck with everything!
To learn more about Todd Newton and all of his ongoing projects, visit his official website at ToddNewtonOnline.com.