£1m question... why does ITV have no women quiz hosts?
Their answer: ‘We’re working on it’
ITV bosses found themselves on the wrong side of a tricky quiz when asked: “How many women gameshow hosts do you have?” – and had to answer zero.
The station screens 20 such shows during the week, all of them hosted by men.
Channel 4 also has no women fronting its quizzes, while the BBC has a 50/50 split, including Sandi Toksvig on BBC Two’s QI.
ITV’s male line-up includes Bradley Walsh on The Chase, Ben Shephard’s Tipping Point and Jeremy Clarkson with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Then there’s Adil Ray’s Lingo, Stephen Mulhern’s reboot of Catchphrase and Paul Sinha on TV Showdown. Michael Kelpie, managing director of ITV production arm Potato TV, makes The Chase and he was asked about the dearth of women quiz hosts during a Bafta talk this week.
Presenter Charlene White told him: “Women do like gameshows too and there’s not many women.” He replied: “We have been trying to find a combination of a female host and the right format for about two years.
“And we are going to keep going until we get it, and I know other producers are doing this as well.”
The BBC’s female line-up includes Zoe Lyons on Lightning and Victoria Coren Mitchell, who fronts fronts Only Connect.
The male-hosted shows feature Alexander Armstrong’s Pointless, House of Games with Richard Osman, John Humphrys’ Mastermind and Jeremy Paxman presiding over University Challenge. A BBC source said: “We are pushing towards a 50/50 split which is a far cry from ITV who have got a long way to go.
“It’s crazy that in this day and age, they have such a male-dominated schedule.” ITV declined to comment but a source insisted: “We do have female presenters on daytime and entertainment shows outside of quizzes. And we have been piloting some quizzes that have female hosts.
“We are always looking for new quiz ideas and we are actively looking to have a range of strong hosts.”
Their pilots are thought to include This Morning’s Alison Hammond hosting a reboot of Wheel of Fortune — 19 years after the last episode.