UPDATE: At Twitter, Kevin Pollak replies:
Really, I’ve enjoyed your insights/musings for quite a while, but your angle on my recent work/luck has me questioning yours.
Kevin Pollak is a respected actor-comedian with memorable turns in such movies as The Usual Suspects, A Few God Men and Miami Rhapsody. But in just the past year he signed on to host not one but two TV game shows which then became mired in controversy. The most recent is Fox’s Million Dollar Money Drop which aired during the most recent Christmas week and erupted in an on-air gaffe that cost one couple $800,000. But a year ago Pollak surprised many when he agreed to host Fox’s Our Little Genius. True, it had all the makings of a sure thing: big-name producer – Mark Burnett; killer time slot – airing behind TV’s top show American Idol; and adorable kid prodigies showing off their knowledge for cash prizes. But then, only 5 days before Our Little Genius was to premiere last January 5th, Fox abruptly pulled the show at the request of Burnett over suspicions of contestant tampering. Controversy ensued, and the 8 produced episodes never saw the light of day (though Burnett paid the winners their prizes).
Fast forward to this November: Pollak signed on for a second turn as a game show host on Fox’s Million Dollar Money Drop. This one seemed foolproof: it was based on a British format that had run without a hitch, there were no kids involved, and the show was scheduled to air during the quiet Christmas week when fewer people were watching. But sure enough, controversy ensued. On the very first episode of the 6-episode limited series, a couple were shown losing $800,000 after their answer to a contest question was deemed wrong. (Q: Which of these 3 products hit stores first? A: Post-it Notes. B: Apple’s Macintosh computer. C: Sony’s Walkman. The couple answered Post-It Notes.) But it was quickly proved right online, forcing the show’s producers to admit a research error and to invite the couple back for another try at the big money. Then came Pollak with some ill-guided disparaging comments about the two contestants.
So Pollak has now done two stints as a TV game show host, both of them mired in controversy. Was it just a string of bad luck? Or a sign that he should stay in movies?
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.