When it comes to tv viewing, I usually stick to the fiction end of the spectrum. I have often expressed my distaste for the reality genre. That being said, there are times when I enjoy a non-scripted show, and a likable host is a big part of that. My husband is a big fan of Discovery Channel’s hit show Dirty Jobs, and while I can’t always stomach the show’s revelations about the nasty work that some people do for a living, I still find myself drawn to it. Why is this the case? Well, because my favorite tv personality happens to be the host! I define a tv personality as any one who plays a version of themselves on tv. They could be a talk show host, a variety show judge, an emcee, or even a reality show star. I have compiled a list of my favorites below:
- Mike Rowe – Most recently, you might recognize Mike as the spokesman for Ford, in their “Why Ford. Why Now” commercials. But for years he has been lending his voice as narrator to many Discovery Channel shows, and his real claim to fame is as host of Dirty Jobs. The show, which started in 2005 and is now in its sixth season, was based on a concept that he developed while working on a San Francisco program called “Somebody’s Gotta Do It.” He has a great voice, which is why he’s done so much work as a narrator, and he’s also charming, down to earth, and attractive. I mean, anyone who can still be called attractive while standing in the middle of the sewers or while cleaning out a garbage truck, has a special charisma. And that he does. It is also interesting to know that he used to be an opera singer! Check out this video, which gives a taste of his hosting duties on Dirty Jobs, and gives a sample of his singing:
- Neil Patrick Harris – Next on my list is little Doogie Howser, who years later regained fame by suiting up as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. He also impressed and entertained with his role as Dr. Horrible in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. It seems that Neil Patrick Harris can do it all: child genius, manipulative bachelor, diabolical mastermind, Emmy host… It’s that last bit that qualifies him for this list. His suitability to hosting gigs became apparent when he subbed for Regis several times on Regis and Kelly. He is one of those people who looks so at ease in front of the camera, seems to be having fun, and seems like he’d be fun to hang out with. A host who is that personable makes me want to watch a show, which is why I tuned in to every minute of last year’s Emmy Awards. He was a natural, and, in my opinion, was one of the best hosts an awards show has seen since the days when Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars. Check out his opening musical number from the Emmy Awards:
- Cat Deeley – The one reality show that I watch is So You Think You Can Dance, and really it is more of a variety show than reality. I have been a huge fan of the show for several seasons now. I love that it showcases such amazing talent and features a variety of dance styles. One of the things that holds each episode together is Cat Deeley’s presence. With her distinctive clothing (the hair, makeup, and costume departments go crazy with her!), her pleasant British accent, and her cheerful demeanor, she is like a mother hen to the contestants. When they are excited, she is thrilled along with them; when they are devastated, she cries alongside them. She’s always there to give an encouraging word or hug, and every bit of it seems genuine. I much prefer her hosting style over Ryan Seacrest’s cheesy, artificial one on American Idol. So kudos to Cat, for a great job hosting her show. Many of the judges have put on their dancing shoes and performed on the show – I’d like to see Cat join in one day!
- Conan O’Brien – Of all the late night talk show hosts out there, Conan is my favorite. I can’t say that I stay up every night to watch The Tonight Show, but whenever I do I am never disappointed. I love his self-deprecating, sarcastic sense of humor, and his willingness to do all sorts of zany things to entertain us. I hope that when the dust settles from this Jay Leno fiasco, Conan is able to walk away with the better end of the deal, whether that means staying on The Tonight Show, or moving to another network that will treat him with more respect.
- Adam Shankman – And so another member of the So You Think You Can Dance team makes an appearance on my list. There have been many judges and guest judges on the show, but my favorite is Adam, director/producer/choreographer extraordinaire. He is so passionate about dance, and gets so excited when the contestants give a knockout performance. And his critiques are actually useful, unlike some other reality show judges I can think of. He gives both gushing praise and constructive criticism. His enthusiasm for dance is contagious, and so his presence on the show makes it more exciting to watch. I look forward to seeing what he does as a producer on this year’s Oscars telecast.
- Ellen DeGeneres – Representing the world of daytime talk on my list is dancing, tennis shoe-wearing Ellen. Like Conan O’Brien, she has an understated, sarcastic brand of humor, but she is also very personable like Neil Patrick Harris. Sometimes her rambling comedic style comes across as awkward, which is why she works better in the comfort of her own afternoon show than as host of an awards show. I haven’t been as impressed with her stint as a judge on American Idol, since she basically brings no expertise to the table, and gives about as much feedback as any of the couch potatoes watching could. Maybe that’s the idea, but I’d rather see someone else in the music business sitting on that panel. But then, I don’t even really watch that show, so I’ll just continue to appreciate her presence on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Who are your favorite tv personalities, and why? Did I forget about someone who is really incredible?