Interview: Brooke Burns Host of "The Chase"
She’s been an actress in films like “Shallow Hal”, a model, a TV star, and now she is the host of the hit game show “The Chase". Brooke Burns has done it all in this business and is really enjoying her time on the American version of the English trivia game show where contestants face off against “the beast”. Brooke sat down and talked with us here at Movie Room Reviews about her life as a host, and what it takes to make a game show.
Nick Leyland From Movie Room Reviews: You're the host of the show "The Chase", which I just watched and I think it's really cool. I've never seen anything like it before.
Brooke Burns: Oh, cool!
MRR: It premiered its second season on November 5th, right? At 8:00 PM on GSN?
Brooke Burns: Yes, it did.
MRR: Yeah. So, do you think you could tell our audience a little bit about the show and what it's all about?
Brooke Burns: Yeah, absolutely. "The Chase" is a one hour trivia quiz show that they started in the UK, and they've been running for over six seasons there, they've shot over 600 episodes, which is pretty cool. And we brought the format over to America, or I should say ITV did, and we brought over, also the original "Chaser," as we call him, and his name is Mark Labbett, or "the beast," as he's known on the show. He's a British genius. He has three degrees from Oxford, Exeter and Glamorgan Universities, he's a math genius, and he has a near photographic memory. So basically, he plays against three American contestants in speed trivia rounds and also multiple choice trivia round for up to $250,000. That's it in a nutshell.
MRR: Did he get a degree in being on a game show?
Brooke Burns: Actually before he was on the show, he was a substitute math teacher, which I think is adorable, and he would be really intimidating to the kids because he's 6'7" and 370 pounds, and he has a beastly mind as well.
MRR: From what I saw, the asks some pretty ridiculous questions, with puns intended, I guess. What are some of your favorite questions that's asked on the show?
Brooke Burns: Wow! Obviously, there are so many. I like the questions where, as I'm going over them, I'll be like, "Oh, okay, that's cool, that's historical, that's scientific," and then sometimes you go, "Wow! Out of nowhere, did not know that." [chuckle] Silly ones, like Taylor Swift got more Grammies in one year than Elvis in his entire career; that was shocking and surprising to me. Little things like, I consider myself a spiritual person and I've done a lot of reading on Mother Teresa, but never had asked what her first name was, Agnes, in case you're wondering.
MRR: Oh wow!
Brooke Burns: Different things like that. It's a great show. That's I think a big reason that I love being a part of it is that, basically, they're paying me for a continued education, instead of the other way around.
MRR: Well, how much respect have you garnered for game show hosts from the past?
Brooke Burns: Oh. You know what, I've always had an enormous amount of respect for those guys. I did another show called "You Deserve It" that Chris Harrison hosted and just watching him in action is always amazing to me, because you are at once moving the game along, you have to hit certain beats, you have to hit certain rules, you have to hit certain cameras, you have to keep it all up in a certain amount of time, and then you have to keep it fresh and be listening to what the contestants are saying, and that's what makes every show different and unique is playing off the individual lives of the contestants. So, there's a lot going on, like running a circus.
MRR: That's what I was gonna ask you next is, can you give us an idea of what it takes to film a game show?
Brooke Burns: Yeah. Like I said, it's not unlike movie-making in that it's a collaboration. There's a lot of things going on behind the scenes. There's Video Village and, obviously, on the stage you've got the audience involved, the producers, the researchers trying to get all the questions fair, random, different levels of difficulty, all that kind of stuff that you have to get together. And then there's, on actual game day, as you would have it, the X factor of the unknown, which is all of these contestants have been tested, but it's very different being given a physical test, sitting in a room quietly by yourself, versus on a stage with lights, camera, pressure, "the beast" staring down at you, and money on the line. So, there's a lot that can go wrong, and when it goes right it's really fun and amazing, but when it goes wrong it can be stressful but invigorating, how about that?
MRR: Do you ever find it hard not to whisper the answer to the contestant if you know it?
Brooke Burns: No. I haven't really had the problem of actually doing that. Obviously, in my mind, because I'm on the contestants' side, I want them to win the money. I wish I could telepathically give it to them [laughter] sometimes to help them out with the cash. But the most difficult thing is when I know that they know it, but the time and the pressure have gotten to them and they just have a brain freeze.
MRR: Why do you think the world of America, or the world, in general loves game shows so much?
Brooke Burns: I think there's something to the old school family television viewing that takes us a little bit back to when game shows were really in the height of being popular with families because kids can watch them, grandparents can watch them, families can get together and watch them after dinner, and it allows you to do something together, and also they're interactive. They bring up great conservations when questions come up and people like to play along. So I think that that's sort of the pre Facebook, Twitter, all of the exciting things that we have now social media-wise in 2013. It's kind of the first format I think, where you could play along with television show and host an audience.
MRR: Now that you're the host, how does this differ from being a model or an actress?
Brooke Burns: I've always enjoyed different formats of working. I'm not new to the hosting, I'm new obviously to the quiz aspect of the show. I'm always looking for new challenges in that way, so I like to try new things. But hosting itself, to me, in some ways... It's funny, I think it's a kind of an individual preference. I think the hosting to me has come more naturally maybe even than the acting because I genuinely like people, and I'm competitive, and I like games. So that is easy for me because it's easy for me to engage with them and there's, I guess, no acting required.
My dad used to say when I was young that I was too sensitive and I talk too much, and I told him that now I get paid for both of those things as an actor and a host.
MRR: Now he probably doesn't care so much, huh?
Brooke Burns: Yeah, exactly.
MRR: Well what can we look forward to seeing from you in the future besides hosting "The Chase"?
Brooke Burns: I'm currently filming a little independent film in Kentucky, actually, called "Produce", which is about a young boy with Downs Syndrome. So that's the next thing that I'm kind of doing and then I'm gonna take a break and go have a wonderful Christmas with my family.
MRR: Good for you. So "The Chase" is gonna be on GSN on Tuesday nights at 8 PM, is that right?
Brooke Burns: That's correct.
MRR: Well, I'll just have to check it out, and I thank you so much for talking to me with me today. I really appreciate it Brooke and have a happy holiday season.
Brooke Burns: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks, you too. Happy Thanksgiving.