Does Cedric Entartain on Millionaire?
Originally posted: September 8th, 2013
By Jim Williams
The biggest change to the syndicated game show landscape as we enter the
2013-2014 season without question is the arrival of Cedric the
Entertainer as the new host of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Cedric
replaces Meredith Vieira who made the show her own over the previous 11
seasons. Cedric's prior game show experience consists of his hosting the
2011 summer replacement series "It's Worth What?" on NBC. On one of our
recent DAotW videos on YouTube, I offered a humorous preview of what
might be in store by splicing video and audio from "It's Worth What?" to
a recent one and done moment from "Millionaire". And while I cynically
was expecting him to break out catch phrases like "sure-sure" and "It's
worth WHAAAAAAAAAAT?", I truthfully didn't know what to expect out of
Cedric on a straight-quiz like "Millionaire". So, what do I think of
Cedric's performance through the first few episodes of his first season
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Honestly, he's alright in front of the "Millionaire" table. He brings a more relaxed vibe to what some would deem to be a semi-serious program. The biggest plus I've seen from the small sample of shows I've viewed is that he does a great job at putting the contestant's at ease by relating back to things a contestant had mentioned earlier and the occasional one liner. He's less of a traffic cop and more of a party host, you might say.
Inevitably, he will be compared to his predecessor, and rightly or wrongly, that just goes with replacing a long standing host. The best way I can compare Meredith and Cedric is as follows: Meredith was like a motherly figure guiding you through the questions with an occasional zinger as needed while Cedric is like your cool big brother who keeps things as "chill" as possible. He sincerely celebrates your successes while he also sincerely commiserates when a contestant loses out.
Make no mistake, Cedric is still growing into the role of host. Sometimes he makes mistakes reading questions, but he plays things off well enough, as best as I can tell, to not require extra post-production work and re-reads. The reveals on the correct answers are often more drawn out and less matter-of-fact than when Meredith was hosting, but it's not obnoxious to the point where you're going to be reaching for the remote. Simply put, Cedric is still trying to find his comfort zone.
So, does Cedric make "Millionaire" a better show? I can't say that he does, but I assure you he definitely doesn't hurt the show either. Ultimately, the show's bastardized shuffle format is what breaks the show, as any loyal viewer of the show will tell you. Cedric is harmless, for lack of better terms. He adds and injects his own style to the show, and I personally don't mind it at all. He doesn't have the mechanics of Regis or Meredith yet, but his years in stand-up give him a leg up when it comes to relating to the contestants and audience as well as ad-libbing. Many fans believe the show has already run its course, and I'm inclined to agree with that segment of game show fans. But if you're looking on where to point blame, don't look at Cedric. He's doing the best he can with a format that is a shell of its former greatness.
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