- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Flipboard
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Tumblr
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
Alec Baldwin knows it isn’t going to happen, but if he could have any star guest on his ABC show Match Game, he would pick Howard Stern.
Jerry Seinfeld is a close second.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter just days before the new season of Match Game with Baldwin at the helm (both hosting and executive producing) premieres, the actor talked about his game show gig, including which classic host he gleams a little from, how panel casting helps keep him on top of young talent and why he agreed to be Comedy Central’s next roast victim.
“This is an opportunity for me in indulge in something I don’t know normally do, which is to survey what’s on TV and who’s out there,” Baldwin tells THR. “With my kids and everything, I don’t really get to watch a lot of TV. About half the people who are cast on Match Game, I will turn to people much younger than me and go, ‘Who’s that?’ And they tell me that they are some famous star who has eluded me.”
A big fan of game shows in his youth (“I would watch the Virginia Graham show and The Galloping Gourmet“), Baldwin says he always got a kick out of original Match Game host Gene Rayburn.
“He was one of my favorites because he was in on it,” Baldwin explains. “A lot of game show hosts retain a kind of decorum and detachment. They are not there to entertain, they are there to be more like referees. Rayburn had a wicked smile. He was in on it and didn’t mind letting you know he was in on it.”
The show may get off the rails at times with comics and actors getting racy with their matches, but the integrity of the game is no joke, which Baldwin says he was fascinated learning.
“All these game shows live in an all but vanishing shadow of the quiz show scandal,” he says, referencing 1950s incidents when it came to light that a number of game shows were rigged with the contestants’ knowledge and assistance. “Giving away money for a competition on a TV show, that has to be legit. Everyone who is on here is examined by the producers.”
Baldwin gave an example of when there was an issue on his show.
“We had one actor who took out his card to redo it after it was dropped in the slot, and they shut the show down for five minutes to say to him you really can’t do that,” Baldwin said. “The integrity of the game is something they take very serious here. They don’t want any slip-ups about who is going to win and why.”
It was recently revealed that Baldwin would be in the hot seat for this year’s Comedy Central Roast. The decision to take some licks from “black belt comics who beat the living daylights out of you” was made to help out an old, dear friend.
“The people at Comedy Central very kindly agreed to match me $500,000 for Tony Bennett’s Exploring the Arts foundation, which funds his Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School,” Baldwin says. “When this opportunity came to come up with a million bucks for them with Comedy Central, that was really the real impetus behind this. I think it’s a question if I am even going to be alive when it’s over.”
The new season of ABC’s Match Game premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Baldwin’s Comedy Central Roast will tape this summer and air at a date to be determined this fall.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Dana Carvey Reveals Why He Wouldn’t Let Robin Williams Make an Appearance in Iconic Church Lady ‘SNL’ Sketch
‘Vanderpump Rules’ Reunion Reveals Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss’ Private Chat About Ariana Madix; Restraining Order Update
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
‘Rings of Power’ Star Sophia Nomvete on Fighting Racist Backlash: “My Place in This Show Is Not Just a Celebration, It Is an Act of Defiance”