You can call Bob Saget a lot of things – wholesome, vulgar, even unpredictable. But what you shouldn’t call him is a game show host; at least, that’s how he sees it.
“I just consider myself a comedian who wound up on TV,” Saget said. “I don’t look at myself as a game show host, but I guess people do because I’m hosting one, right?”
The man formerly known as Danny Tanner is referring to his new role in the new trivia show “1 vs. 100”, an international hit that’s made its way to the States courtesy of NBC and Endemol USA. Saget, whose credentials include involvement in two little shows known as “Full House” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, said he’s been approached by a lot of people to do reality TV and other game shows in the past, but that this one especially caught his eye.
The show is basically “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with a twist – a rather large one at that. One contestant must go up against “the mob,” a group of 100 opponents that includes valedictorians, geniuses and a few other know-it-alls like “Jeopardy!” wiz Ken Jennings. They all must answer questions correctly each time. Should a member of the mob answer incorrectly, he or she is out, and if the player can eliminate all 100 mob members, the player wins one million dollars.
The catch is if the player gets one question wrong, he or she is finished and the mob splits his or her winnings and a new contestant takes on the mob.
So what does Bob Saget have to do with any of this? What’s he got to add to the mix that’ll help push the show forward in the States?
“The biggest thing I contribute to it is my height,” he said with a laugh.
In truth, it’s probably Saget’s ability to appeal to a lot of age groups, especially college audiences. His work in “Full House” turned him an 1980s pop icon (so there’s the nostalgia factor), while his infamously perverse stand up routines and cameos in movies like “Half-Baked” and “The Aristocrats” showcased a surprisingly darker side to Danny Tanner that college crowds have eaten up.
“I relate to them more,” he said. “Maybe I was held back emotionally.”
Whatever it is, it’s worked. “1 vs. 100” debuted with NBC’s highest slot result since December 2002 and the original plans to only air five shows have been extended to ten more.
Saget said he was attracted to the concept and unscripted nature, which would allow him to flex his stand-up skills and grill contestants a la Groucho Marx in “You Bet Your Life”. After talking it over with Mandel, his good friend of 25 years, he was in.
“All I want do is entertain people. It sounds all Liza Minelli-like, but it’s true,” Saget said. “And I seem to have found an audience for that in different aspects of my career. I think this is real good entertainment for a lot of people, and I’m proud of that.”
“1 Vs. 100” airs Friday nights at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Rafael Sangiovanni can be contacted at email@example.com.