NEW YORK — The poker craze has hit Hollywood, motivating the Travel Channel to round up Jack Black, Drew Carey, James Woods and other celebrities to play poker on camera.
Steve Lipscomb, one of the executive producers of the celebrity poker games, said the plan is to tape enough games early next month to cover four primetime two-hour specials to air on Travel next March and April, under the umbrella title “Hollywood Home Games.”
The Travel Channel’s specials follow the announcement last month of Bravo’s strategy to tape six one-hour primetime specials at the Palm Casino and Resort in Las Vegas featuring celebrities such as Ben Affleck, David Schwimmer, Martin Sheen, Hank Azaria and Coolio. Hosted by Kevin Pollack, these specials, called “Celebrity Poker Showdown,” will run on Bravo Tuesdays at 9 beginning Dec. 2.
For Travel, Lipscomb said he and his staff will tape the celebrity competitions mainly in a specially built Los Angeles studio that will try to create what he calls “a Hollywood mystique” to give the feel of movies like “The Cincinnati Kid,” “Rounders” and “House of Games.”
But other games, he said, will take place in individual celebrities’ living rooms. Fred Willard’s house turned out to be the first home shoot for the Travel Channel series. Other celebs on board for Travel’s specials include Michael Vartan (“Alias”), Camryn Manheim (“The Practice”), Lou Diamond Phillips, Jennifer Tilley and Aisha Tyler (“Talk Soup”).
If the “Hollywood Home Game” draws as many viewers to Travel as its ongoing weekly hourlong series “World Poker Tour” Wednesdays at 9 p.m., Lipscomb said he’ll go into production with a second set of celebrity matches.
The supervising producer of “Hollywood Home Game” is Bill Olson. Executive in charge is Robin Moder.