“I’m now sacrificing my career coming out as a conservative,” said The Dating Game’s Woolery, a born-again Christian, during a 2009 appearance on Mike Huckabee’s Fox News talk show. “So I’ll never be hired in Hollywood again once they find out I’m doing it on your show.”
Is there something about the traditional game-show format—its reinforcement of old-fashioned family values, its populist sensibility, its neat 22-minute crystallization of the American dream—that draws a more conservative type to host? Is it that the show’s core audience, residing in the flyover states, generally prefers a certain red-blooded sort of man in charge? Is it all just a silly coincidence?
“It makes sense to me that these hosts are pretty heavily Republican,” said Olaf Hoerschelmann, a professor at Indiana University, author of Rules of the Game: Quiz Shows and American Culture and perhaps the world’s leading (“only,” in his words) expert on game shows. “To have the right sensibility to be a game-show host, you do have to have a belief in rugged individualism—either you make it or you’re not worth it.”