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Replacement Scrappy / Game Show

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  • Two instances of this happened on Tic-Tac-Dough:
    • Host Wink Martindale left in 1985 to host his own creation, Headline Chasers. Taking his place for the final season was PM Magazine's Jim Caldwell. While the show remained the same outside of a set change, Caldwell did not impress fans as host, and was often criticized for his robotic hosting and always saying that he would explain the rules of the special red-box categories "when we get to them." Although he did improve toward the end of the season (to the point that he got another hosting gig on Top Card later in the decade), the show's core fanbase had already left and were never coming back.
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    • Beyond a large number of unnecessary cosmetic changes and rules changes that cheapened the game, the main point of contention for the 1990-1991 revival was the hosting style of Patrick Wayne (John Wayne's son). Wayne often came across as fake in the interviews and read the questions and Rules Spiel in a monotone, but would scream "YOU WIN!" if a contestant won the game, or "YOU BLOCK!" if a contestant successfully blocked his/her opponent. His hosting style gained Memetic Mutation in the game show community for being one of the worst hosts out there. Not helping matters was a "Divorced Couples" week, which had divorcees competing against each other for money; the final episode saw Wayne classlessly stating to all of them that "divorced couples can still have fun together, riiiiiiight?"
  • And on Jack Barry-Dan Enright Productions' other stalwart, The Joker's Wild, Barry's 1984 death led to Bill Cullen taking over as host. Although Cullen is often regarded as one of the best game show hosts, he was clearly past his prime on Joker, and was derided for hosting the game very slowly. (According to one anecdote, Jim Peck filled in for Cullen at one point, and the producers had to stop tape to provide Peck with more questions because they had gotten used to Cullen's slower style!)
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  • The illness and later death of Allen Ludden prompted Password Plus to attain a new permanent host in Tom Kennedy, who kept the show going another 2 years. A subsequent revival, Super Password, had Bert Convy as the host; some fans consider him a replacement Scrappy due to his chatty nature and frequent bloopers, but Super lasted five years under his tenure.
  • The Hollywood Squares went through this twice.
    • The first came when the producers of Match Game decided to partner with those of Squares to form The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour in 1983-84. The Squares portion was hosted not by original Squares host Peter Marshall (who helmed the show from 1966 to 1981 and whose short-lived Fantasy was replaced by this series), but rather to Jon Bauman, best known for being Bowser in Sha Na Na (although he did not host in-character). Bauman was obviously inexperienced and stiff in the role, which was only exacerbated by original Match Game host Gene Rayburn still hosting the Match portion (and further so by the complete bastardization of the Hollywood Squares format). In addition, even Rayburn seemed to hate both Bauman and the rule changes.
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    • And it happened again with the 1986-88 revival, helmed by John Davidson. Many felt that the celebrity panel got too unruly, and that Davidson was unable to calm them down. Also, you'd think after being told thirty or forty times, he'd at least remember how to handle a "cat's game"...note 
  • Another game show with two examples is the Pyramid franchise:
    • When the show returned from a three-year hiatus in 1991, original host Dick Clark was busy with The Challengers, so John Davidson took over there as well. As on Squares, Davidson frequently tripped over the rules (many episodes have the offstage staff shouting at him when he messed up) and rarely felt as if he were in control.
    • Downplayed with Donny Osmond, who hosted the 2002-04 incarnation. While certainly no Dick Clark, and mildly derided for his over-exuberance (e.g., constantly screaming "OH! OH! OH! OH!" when someone failed to clear the Winner's Circle), his imperfections as a host were overshadowed by the many, many changes to the gameplay format relative to the prior versions.
  • Nearly any host of Family Feud:
    • After the original Richard Dawson-hosted version went off the air in 1985, creator Mark Goodson launched a revival for CBS hosted by a young comedian named Ray Combs, which ran from 1988 to 1994. Depending on who is asked, Combs is either a straight example, an inversion, or an aversion. Those who prefer Combs generally feel that Dawson's (usually) off-camera clashes with the higher-ups outweighed the warmth and wit he (usually) showed on-camera, while the pro-Dawson camp tends to see Combs as cold and smug. Still others feel that both brought their own styles to the table, and for what it's worth Combs isn't nearly as divisive as other hosts have been. (Combs was abruptly fired in 1994 in favor of bringing Dawson back out of retirement, but this did little to reverse the show's decline in ratings before this incarnation was canceled in 1995.)
    • The revival begun in 1999 originally went to comedian Louie Anderson. He was heavily panned for his weight, gravelly monotone voice, and supposedly bored demeanor (the last of which was even mocked by MADtv). After he left in 2002, a pattern began where each successive host was considered an improvement at first glance, but then the cracks began to show:
    • Richard Karn (2002-06) was originally given a pass by most of the fandom; despite his obvious inexperience, he at least seemed enthusiastic and solicitous toward the contestants. However, it quickly became noticeable that Karn was very poor at ad-libbing, to the point that he gained Memetic Mutation for constantly shouting the exact same catch phrases Once per Episode ("I'M DOUBLING THE POINTS!").
    • John O'Hurley (2006-10) also got an initial pass, because he had previously proven himself a capable host on the 2000-2002 revival of To Tell the Truth, and because Feud's YouTube account uploaded clips from his first few episodes that were very well-received by fans. But some felt that he merely seemed to be going through the motions, especially in later seasons, while others found him poor at reacting to off-the-wall answers. He was also criticized for overusing his Running Gag of jolting in surprise every time the buzzer sounded in Fast Money (to his credit, this was only done during his first season).
    • Even Steve Harvey (2010-), who has brought the show its highest ratings in years, isn't immune. Harvey instantly gained fans due to his Large Ham reactions to stupid answers, which (as in the prior incarnations) were usually organic, off-the-cuff reactions. However, the producers decided to try enforcing Harvey's Wild Takes as often as possible, leading to a more sophomoric level of question-writing that baited contestants into giving lurid answers (and a large number of cut corners in editing to cram in as much of said wild-takes as possible). The increasing focus on humor at the expense of gameplay has even caused some fans to look back and re-evaluate nearly every other predecessor, to the point that even Karn and Anderson have started to gain minor appreciation simply because their incarnations weren't as lewd or heavily-edited.
  • Many long-time watchers of The Price Is Right were wondering "What were they thinking?" when the show decided to replace the retiring Bob Barker with Drew Carey as host. In Carey's defense, it would be hard for audiences to see anyone replacing Barker, since he had hosted the show for an amazing 35 years. Those who hate Drew criticize him for trying to inject humor at inappropriate times (most notoriously, his decision to incorporate The Announcer into "comedic" showcases that generally elicited negative reactions from the fanbase; to be fair, Drew got the message), fluctuating enthusiasm (he seems to act more placid when contestants are performing poorly), and talking way too fast. Some longtime watchers also applied this to Tom Kennedy and Doug Davidson, who hosted various syndicated versions in the 1980s and 1990s, if only simply because they weren't Bob Barker. Criticism of Carey has declined over the years, especially as he began toning down the forced humor and hosting more professionally.
    • This can also apply to the announcer's booth. After Johnny Olson's 1985 death, Rod Roddy's 2003 death, and Rich Fields' 2010 departure, the show tried out various guest announcers on-air before determining the successor. The substitutes (with the possible exception of Randy West) are all victims of Replacement Scrappydom to some extent, but some of the more prominent ones include:
      • Of all people, veteran announcer Gene Wood was considered one of these when he filled in after Johnny's death. Wood was probably the most prolific game show announcer besides Olson himself, but many felt that his style was just too mellow for Price.
      • Rich Jeffries only did a couple weeks after Johnny's death. Many feel that his flat, nasal voice shouldn't have been behind the mic of any game show, especially a show such as Price which requires a lot on the announcer's part.
      • Rod's increasing illness in the late 90s-early 2000s resulted in many fill-ins by Burton Richardson, best known for announcing The Arsenio Hall Show and the short-lived 1994 syndicated version of Price hosted by Doug Davidson. He is sometimes criticized for over-enunciating and drawing out his words to the point that some think he sounds like a parody of a game show announcer.
      • Another fill-in during Rod's surgery was Paul Boland, who previously did the 1998 revival of Match Game. His main criticism was being way too enthusiastic; on one episode, he announced a bottle of cough syrup with the enthusiasm that Olson or Roddy would have given to A NEW CAR! He ended up announcing only one week after refusing demands from Price staff to tone it down.
      • Among those who filled in after Rod's death, Daniel Rosen was universally hated for a serious lack of enthusiasm and general sloppiness. One episode has him saying "Uh" before the Opening Narration; one has him completely deadpan the intro to Punch-a-Bunch; and there are at least two confirmed cases of him having to do retakes because no one in-studio could hear him. Fans also noted that Rosen seemed to be imitating Rod at times by wearing loud clothing and drawing out his name when signing off. He also allegedly astro turfed fan forum with about 50 sockpuppets praising his own performance. However, he did manage to become one of the rotating announcers for The Price Is Right Live, a traveling show that performs mock games of Price at casinos.
      • Despite the many other fill-ins after Rod's death, most had at least some supporters. However, Don Bishop got some hatred from fans for outright refusing to go off-script, while (according to one fan forum) Price staff nearly kicked Jim Thornton off after only one episode, possibly due to his voice cracking.
      • Rich Fields himself started to become this over time, in part because he was picked over fan favorite Randy West, and in part because many felt that Rich did not have a good voice — particularly in later years, when he became increasingly loud and grating.
      • After Rich was fired (supposedly for reasons that had nothing to do with the show), six more substitutes rotated until George Gray (former host of Extreme Gong and the syndicated The Weakest Link) became the show's fourth permanent announcer. Among the substitutes, Steve White and Brad Sherwood were hated for their fake enthusiasm (and White even more so for giving Drew silly nicknames), while former Shop 'Til You Drop host JD Roberto was seen as So Okay, It's Average but lost points for insulting a contestant (although he later got to announce the 2012 revival of Pyramid). While there was some pushback over Gray getting the job (his first few episodes were shaky; some fans thought that David H. Lawrence XVII or Jeff B. Davis had better voices; and some felt that Gray only got the job because he was friends with executive producer Mike Richards), he has ultimately averted this trope and most fans feel that he is a worthwhile successor.
    • Bart Eskander, the show's director from 2000-2009 (and the show's third after Marc Breslow and Paul Alter), was hated by most of the fanbase for his oversimplified and stiff style. It’s a good wonder he lasted about nine years.
    • Mike Richards (the show’s executive producer from 2009-2019) got flak for replacing Roger Dobkowitz as series producer in Season 37 due to Fremantle Media's decision to put the show in a new direction, and replacing Syd Vinnedge as Executive Producer the following season. Bart Eskander's replacement, Rich DiPirro, once went so far as to tell him he was ruining this show.
  • Brad Sherwood was previously hated for his fake enthusiasm and excessive joking around when he hosted a revival of The Dating Game in The '90s. As a result, he was replaced by veteran game show host Chuck Woolery, who fared far better.
  • Remote Control had a fan backlash (mild— this was pre-Blog) when the first hostess, Marisol, was replaced first with Kari Wührer and then by a string of lesser lights.
  • When Card Sharks was revived in 1986-88, it took two forms: a CBS version with Bob Eubanks hosting, and a syndicated version with Bill Rafferty, both of whom had markedly different styles from original host Jim Perry. While Rafferty averted this, Eubanks was seen as either a straight example or another aversion: some fans felt that his sleazy demeanor that he had codified on The Newlywed Game didn't fit Card Sharks at all, but others felt that he made it work.
  • Pat Bullard had this happen twice: first, when he took over the 1998 revival of Love Connection, and three years later when he helmed another revival of Card Sharks. On both shows, he was derided for being wooden, bland, and unfunny. This especially stood out on a more Carried by the Host format like Love Connection, where he clearly had none of original host Chuck Woolery's charisma, humor, or interviewing skills. The latter was also greatly derided for an ugly set and completely unnecessary (and game-breaking) rule changes.
  • Wheel of Fortune had this happen a few times:
    • Subverted with Rolf Benirschke, who took over from the daytime version on NBC after Pat stepped down to host The Pat Sajak Show. While Rolf was clearly awkward and inexperienced (including one instance where he admitted on-air that he didn't know how to handle a tie game, and another where a contestant corrected him... during a Teen Week), most people agree that he was at least friendly, genuine, and aware of his shortcomings; it's also widely accepted that the demise of the NBC era had nothing to do with him and more to do with the decline of the daytime game show market as a whole. The daytime version was Un-Canceled on CBS, who selected the more experienced Bob Goen instead.
    • After announcer Jack Clark died of bone cancer in summer 1988, he was replaced by Los Angeles deejay M.G. Kelly, who was constantly derided for sounding way too mellow. Pat also pointed out in an interview that Kelly frequently had to redo his copy in post because he kept making mistakes (and even then, a few mistakes still made it to air anyway). Kelly left the show in February 1989 when Clark's predecessor, Charlie O'Donnell, was able to return.
    • A similar hatred came for those who filled in after Charlie's death in November 2010. John Cramer was seen as So Okay, It's Average; Joe Cipriano and Rich Fields were hated for their lack of enthusiasm (surprising given that Cipriano has done many other game shows in the past, and Fields had the exact opposite criticism on The Price Is Right); and obscure voiceover artist Lora Cain barely even did anything at all (she only introduced Pat Sajak and Vanna White at the top of the show and read the copy for the prizes, while Vanna announced everything else herself). This put the fandom almost universally in favor of Jim Thornton, who was very warmly received as the show's fourth permanent announcer in 2011.
    • Towards the end of Season 12 in 1995, Harry Friedman replaced Nancy Jones as producer. While the show's updates were consistent under Jones' tenure, Friedman made a myriad of changes starting in Season 14. Among his "contributions" were a single wheel template in use since 1996, an electronic puzzle board in 1997 (probably his most justifiable change), Toss-Up puzzles and the retirement of Merv Griffin's music packages in 2000, Prize Puzzles in 2003, and a $1,000,000 cash prize in 2008. In 2013, it was confirmed that he approves every puzzle that makes it onto the show, leading to no small amount of derision for a decline in puzzle writing. It’s a good wonder he lasted twenty-five years on the show, as fans consider his hiring a major senior moment on Griffin’s part, and Friedman seemed to do a much better job producing sister show Jeopardy!. The announcement that he would retire after its 37th season was applauded by many, and Mike Richards was announced as Friedman’s replacement; so far, Richards seems to be averting this with more modern puzzles and the 2021 celebrity specials drawing high ratings.
    • A variant involving gameplay elements. The Free Spin token had been associated with Wheel since the pilots, offering an Extra Turn to a contestant to use at their leisure. Then in Fall 2009, the Free Spin was replaced by the Free Play wedge which forces the Extra Turn the moment it is landed on. Contestants can also use the Free Play to call a free vowel (which could not be done with the Free Spin) and fans have noticed how often the wedge is exploited as such.
    • Also, there's the Million Dollar Wedge which replaced the $10,000-Wedge. Fans who weren't happy with the replacement didn't like such an iconic wedge being replaced while others just hated the idea of incorporating such a large prize onto the show. Also, the inclusion of the Million Dollar Wedge for the first three rounds increases the likelihood of hitting a Bankrupt whereas the $10,000-Wedge only appeared in one round of the game (except in its first two seasons where it stayed on the Wheel after Round 3 until the end of the game or if it claimed).
  • When Let's Make a Deal was revived in 1990, original host/co-producer Monty Hall felt that he was too old to host anymore, so he chose Bob Hilton to host. Hilton, who had far more experience as an announcer than as a host, was so poorly received by the fanbase that Hall actually guest-hosted the last few weeks with the intent of seeking a new host in the next season — only for the show to get canceled instead.
  • Most fans had little to complain about when Meredith Vieira replaced Regis Philbin of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? despite Meredith's much mellower style, but her successors weren't so lucky. Cedric the Entertainer and Terry Crews both received lukewarm-at-best reception from fans, and did nothing to revive the show's continuously fading popularity, with both only lasting a year. Cedric was criticized for ill-advised attempts to bring comedy into the show and for frequently wearing fedoras in-studio, while Crews was regarded as having No Indoor Voice. Chris Harrison couldn't save the show from being cancelled in 2019, but he was better received by fans.
    • On the Dutch version, Jeroen van der Boom was this for Robert ten Brink, and as a result, when the show was revived in 2019, ten Brink returned.
  • A fair number of UK game show Hole in the Wall fans see Anton Du Beke as this after he replaced Dale Winton (of Supermarket Sweep fame) as presenter.
  • An inversion. Scott Beach was the first announcer on The Newlywed Game, but was kicked out supposedly because he would sing war protest songs to the audience during commercial breaks. He was replaced by Johnny Jacobs, who was anything but a Scrappy — he held his Newlywed role alone for 14 years and later went on to become a prolific announcer (besides many other shows by Newlywed creator Chuck Barris, he also handled The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough) until his 1980 death.
    • Late in the 1980s revival of The Newlywed Game, Paul Rodriguez took over from the show's longtime host Bob Eubanks (who had hosted multiple versions dating back to the 60s). Rodriguez was originally seen as overbearing and too far-removed from Bob's "loveable sleazeball" shtick, but he would later tone down his style and avert this trope.
    • Carnie Wilson, who hosted the 2000s revival, was seen as this by many, although many who have been to tapings said that she came off better in-studio and was more a victim of post-production.
  • In 1989, Bert Convy stepped down as host of Win, Lose or Draw to host and produce 3rd Degree, with Entertainment Tonight correspondent Robb Weller replacing him. Weller was generally disliked for his stiff hosting style and tripping over the rules, and his version lasted only one season. Meanwhile, from 1989-92, Disney Channel had a Retool for the younger audience called Teen Win, Lose or Draw; this version was hosted by obscure actor Marc Price, who failed to impress for similar reasons.
  • Double Dare (1986):
    • Subverted when Harvey left before the 1992 season of Family Double Dare. His replacement, Doc Holliday, may have not the chemistry Harvey had with Marc Summers, but fans thought he brought his own style and made it work.
    • Then came Double Dare 2000 which had Jason Harris replacing Marc along with Tiffany Phelps as the announcer. Jason's hosting style dragged the game play down and he often fumbled over the physical challenge descriptions. Tiffany wasn't much better, as she was overbearingly shrill when introducing Jason.
  • Oddly enough, many considered Alex Trebek this when initially tapped to host the revived Jeopardy! in 1984. Many viewers found him cold and condescending compared to the original series' host, Art Fleming, who declined the chance to host the new version (and would even criticize the Trebek version himself). This criticism faded over time though, as Trebek grew into the role and memories of Fleming's versions faded.
  • Wild and Crazy Kids: In Season 2, Annette Chavez was replaced by Jessica Gaynes. Jessica is either a straight example or an inversion. Her detractors saw her as too annoying compared to the low-key but friendly style of Annette. Her fans claim she had the right amount of energy compared to Annette, who at times didn't seem to fit the crazy mood of the show.
  • The game show Chain Reaction had this happen several times:
    • The 1986-91 revival, taped in Canada for USA Network, was originally hosted by Canadian singer and host Blake Emmons. Emmons was hated for being hyperactive and constantly forgetting the rules. Due to scheduling conflicts, he was replaced a few months into the run with the more experienced Geoff Edwards (who had previously filled in for Bill Cullen on the original 1980-81 run so that the latter could fill in for Allen Ludden on Password Plus).
    • Then came the 2006 revival for GSN, which went to Dylan Lane, who was hated for his smarmy and douchey personality (exacerbated by the much better hosting of Tim Vincent on the pilot). The 2021 revival (the third for the same network; a previous revival in 2015 was hosted by Mike Catherwood) will feature Lane as host again. Only time will tell if he gets any better this time around.
  • For Season 2 of Beat the Geeks, Blaine Capatch replaced J. Keith van Straaten whom Comedy Central thought wasn't geeky enough. Capatch drew hatred for being too hammy and needlessly condescending to the contestants, to the point where he'd scream "GET OUT!" to eliminated players at least once a show.
    • Both replacement Music Geeks to Andy Zax. Particular ire was aimed at Michael Farmer, who repeatedly showed himself less knowledgeable about music than the contestants yet maintained the same level of snarky superiority that the other geeks did.
  • Another Nickelodeon Game Show example: Ben Lyons and Australian celebrity Asha Kuerten replaced Mike O'Malley and Moira "Mo" Quirk, respectively, in My Family's Got GUTS. While Asha was praised by some fans for equalling Moira, fans still preferred Mike and Moira/Mo though they had since left Nickelodeon by that time.
  • Game show fans generally agree that the worst part about Gameshow Marathon and what made it so forgettable was Ricki Lake hosting. Unlike the games' other emcees, Lake hosted with the same plastic demeanor as she would hosting a talk show. In addition to showing very little charisma, she also seemed constantly lost on what she had to do. Similar to John Davidson on his shows, she had a habit of letting the celebrities take over.
  • On the US version of The Chase, Sara Haines. She is a much slower reader than Brooke Burns was on the Game Show Network run (Brooke typically got through 12 or 13 in the Cashbuilder segment; with Sara, you’re lucky if you hear nine questions in the minute; she is no faster in the Final Chase). In addition, she has a habit of making unnecessary side comments during the Individual Chases (no, they don’t come about organically, they just come across as forced and unfunny).


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