Who are the best female game show hosts? 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.
The following female hosts are just a few of our favorites, all from American game shows. There are plenty of other great ones out there, especially if you look at foreign game shows.
Betty White is well known for a lot of things, including her prowess as a game show competitor. She’s also a fantastic host! White hosted the short-lived game show Just Men! and even though the show itself wasn’t a big hit, her role as host was. She was the first woman to win the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host (1983), and her competition for the title couldn’t have been tougher — she beat out Richard Dawson and Dick Clark.
Even in her 90s, White is still going strong, so there’s always a possibility that we’ll see her back in action as a game show host.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was a massive hit in prime time, and when the show moved to syndication a new host was needed to replace the incomparable Regis Philbin. Meredith Vieira stepped in to fill those rather large shoes and proved without a doubt that women can successfully host serious quiz shows. She brought her own version of warmth and good humor to Millionaire while still preserving the atmosphere of the program.
Vieira is one of the favorite game show hosts of all time, female or male, because she has her own unique style and wasn’t afraid to have fun with the contestants. She won two Daytime Emmys for her work on Millionaire.
Brooke Burns was the perfect host for Dog Eat Dog back in 2002, and she was also a great co-host on Hole In the Wall in 2008. While those shows were loads of fun, Burns has found her calling as the host of GSN’s The Chase. She’s clever and as quick with a quip as she is with a smile, and she does a great job as the middle-woman between the contestants and The Beast.
Burns obviously has fun hosting The Chase, and that sense of enjoyment is not only clear to viewers, but also contagious.
Known in the U.K. as the “Queen of Mean,” Anne Robinson hosted The Weakest Link first in Britain and then in the U.S. Her style was one-of-a-kind, laced with sarcasm and indifference. The show’s catch phrase, “You are the weakest link. Goodbye.” summed up Robinson’s presence pretty clearly.
Of course over the years Robinson seemed to chill out a little, and could even be caught smiling and laughing on occasion. Still, she helped to bust stereotypes about female hosts on both sides of the pond.
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 for three years before becoming a permanent fixture on the panel for over 17 years.
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!