The reALItys: Top 3 reality TV show hosts

Allison Lasher, Columnist

The host announcement for the Golden Globes has got me in the award show spirit. In honor of the occasion, I give you the first installment of The reALIty Awards. Which reality show hosts made the cut and who got overlooked?

3. Jenny McCarthy

I’ve written about Jenny McCarthy on this blog before, but I could not, in good conscience, rank the best reality show hosts and leave this newcomer off the list. “Love in the Wild” was enjoyable because of Jenny McCarthy’s obvious jokes, overly sarcastic nature and general bullying of the contestants. One of the most important things I look for in a host is a person who understands where they are. McCarthy knew she wasn’t saving lives or doing revolutionary work and there was no reason to take herself or the show too seriously. “Love in the Wild” was everything you loved about “Singled Out” without Chris Hardwick getting in the way.

2. Jeff Probst 

There’s no show like “Survivor,” and so, while I have a love-hate relationship with Probst, this list would be incomplete without him. Probst gets mixed reviews from his audience. He won Emmys for his hosting on the reality show. However, he also received a lot of flack for his sexist and sometimes abrasive style. Whether you like him or not, he has done incredible things in 25 seasons of “Survivor” and, as hard as it is for me to admit, much of the show’s popularity and staying power is owed to the seasoned host. Jeff Probst uses his baby blues and matching linen shirts to somehow manipulate castaways into divulging key information they later regret saying. No one could host a tribal council like Probst — he gets down to business and goes straight for the jugular.

Apparently someone at the network agrees with me because the first season of his talk show, “The Jeff Probst Show,” is currently airing. But something is noticeably absent from the opening sequence. *cough* “Survivor” *cough* Don’t forget about the little people, Jeff.

1. RuPaul 

On both “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “RuPaul’s Drag U,” RuPaul shows he has what it takes to be queen. “Drag Race” is arguably just a platform to promote music, books and all things RuPaul, but the host pulls off this shameless self-promotion with style, grace and sass for days. RuPaul is everything Tyra wants to be, without trying nearly as hard. By wearing his day clothes during challenges and doing the judging in full drag, he was able to create two characters out of one person. He is both a mentor and a tough guy, comforting and hard to please. He is Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum in one beautiful, brilliant package. As far as I’m concerned, as long as RuPaul stays, all other hosts can “sashay away.”

Honorable mentions:

Gordon Ramsay

He’s created a brand of reality shows that could not survive without his dashing good looks and horrifying personality. He built a genre around himself, and though the shows are not differentiated enough for me, the business genius in this alone should be recognized.

T.J. Lavin

I love MTV’s “The Challenge,” and to me, T.J. Lavin is the little host that could. He’s reserved and at times confused, but he never hesitates to rip on the contestants for not giving their all in challenges, which is usually exactly what I’m thinking from my couch at home.

Julie Chen

“Big Brother” host Julie Chen is lovably and painfully awkward when she tries to corral a crazy bunch of “BB” houseguests. However, juggling the difference between speaking to the houseguests and speaking to the viewers sounds easier than it is, and is impressive enough to earn her an honorable mention.

— Allison Lasher