Ricki Lake has signed on to host CBS’s upcoming retro quizfest “Game Show Marathon”– and she’s getting more than a lifetime supply of Rice-a-Roni for her efforts.
Former gabber has been named a producer on the skein, in which celebs square off against each other in faithful re-creations of classic quizzers. As part of the pact, Lake has also snagged a housekeeping deal to develop unscripted projects with producers FremantleMedia North America and Granada America.
Eye has also finalized a number of other key details about the show:
- Stuart Krasnow (“Average Joe,” “Weakest Link”) is aboard as exec producer-showrunner.
- Series will kick off with celebs playing “The Price Is Right.” Other quizzers selected for the first season are “Let’s Make a Deal,” “Match Game,” “Card Sharks,” “Press Your Luck,” “Beat the Clock” and “Family Feud.”
- The core celeb contestants for “GSM” have been chosen. They include comic thesp Leslie Nielsen, former “Saturday Night Live” star Tim Meadows, ‘N Sync’s Lance Bass, Kathy Najimy; ex-“Trading Spaces” host Paige Davis and “America’s Next Top Model”/”My Fair Brady” co-star Adrienne Curry.
Several other celebs will also pop up throughout the seven-episode run of “GSM,” including Betty White and George Foreman. They’ve been booked as panelists on the “Match Game” portion of the show.
And the “Barker Beauties” from “The Price Is Right” will serve as models for all shows that require them.
Krasnow and Lake have worked together before: Krasnow was exec producer of “The Ricki Lake Show” during its first 2½ seasons. He went after her for the gig because he believes that, in addition to being “appealing and relatable,” Lake has the necessary chops for hosting seven different quizzers.
“You need someone who can really run a show,” Krasnow said. “A comedian’s too worried about being funny, and Ricki really has a familiarity with and love for these games. She grew up on them.”
Lake has already been studying tapes of the original shows, “channeling her inner Monty Hall and Gene Rayburn,” according to Krasnow. She also plans to dress in period garb when appropriate.
Replicating the look and feel of the original shows is key to Krasnoff, who promises plenty of shag carpet and skinny microphones. In a bid for historical accuracy, producers even went so far as to borrow an original “Card Sharks” card from Fox Reality exec (and gameshow historian) Bob Boden so that they could re-create the card for “GSM.”
“The other day, we were passing around some original Whammies like they were the Mona Lisa,” Krasnow said, referring to the game-stopping villains of “Press Your Luck.”
Fremantle North America CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Granada America’s Curt Northrup will also serve as exec producers of “GSM,” with ex-Granada exec Paul Jackson aboard as an exec producer on the first episode.
“GSM” is based on the hit skein “Ant & Dec’s Gameshow Marathon,” which Granada originally conceived in the U.K. as part of ITV1’s 50th-anniversary celebration.