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Top Five Female Game Show Hosts

Ground-Breaking Women in Game Shows


When you think about all of the game show hosts out there, past and present, not a lot of women come to mind. For some reason, networks seem to prefer male hosts for their game shows. This fact is really a shame, because there have been some talented women who have fronted popular games over the years and it would be great to see more of them today.

With that in mind, let's pay tribute to five of the most memorable female game show hosts!

1. Anne Robinson

Anne Robinson Host of "The Weakest Link"
Courtesy Getty Images Entertainment
Anne Robinson hosted The Weakest Link in both the UK and the US. Before this show came along, women's roles in game shows seemed to be limited to showcasing pretty faces and designer gowns as the (male) host's sidekick. Robinson was sarcastic, stern, and tougher than most male hosts have ever been. This was not a feel-good show, and Robinson was not a warm-and-fuzzy host. Even though the quiz-show ultimately didn't last long here, Anne Robinson made a lasting impression as she broke down stereotypes.

2. Meredith Vieira

Courtesy NBC
When Who Wants to be a Millionaire? went into syndication, a new host was needed. Prior to Meredith Vieira coming on board, women generally didn't host quiz shows. Most female game show hosts before this time were featured on dating shows, shopping or fashion-based programs, and silly (but fun!) shows like Win, Lose, or Draw. Vieira took over the hosting duties from Regis Philbin, and the show has been on the air in syndication, with fairly strong ratings, ever since.

3. Betty White

By Frederick M. Brown, Courtesy Getty Images
Betty White isn't best-known for her role as host of Just Men! – in fact, the show itself was quite forgettable and only lasted for three months. She has appeared as a celebrity panelist on many iconic game shows, including Password, Pyramid, and Match Game, and these gigs are far more memorable than her hosting job was. The reason she's on this list, however, is because she was the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host, for Just Men! in 1983. She was up against Richard Dawson for Family Feud, and Dick Clark for The $25,000 Pyramid.

4. Arlene Francis

Courtesy Getty Images Entertainment
Arlene Francis is the original trail-blazer for women on game shows. In the 1940s, Francis hosted a radio game show titled Blind Date, and when the show moved to television in 1949, Francis was along for the ride. She was the very first female game show host on TV, and hosted Blind Date for three years before becoming a permanent fixture on the panel for What's My Line? for over 17 years.

5. Vanna White

Courtesy CBS
It could be successfully argued that modeling designer dresses and turning letters does not qualify anyone as a game show "host." Vanna White, however, has broken out of this mold and become a game show legend, getting equal billing with colleague Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune. As the official co-host of the show, White has taken her supporting role and turned it into an empire, and no Wheel fan could ever imagine the show without her. It takes a certain amount of savvy and smarts to evolve the letter-turner role into something this big!
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