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Chris Harrison Chats About His New Show, You Deserve It

December 08, 2011 11:49 AM by Candace Young

Chris Harrison is very excited about ABC’s You Deserve It, the new show he co-hosts with Brooke Burns. In each episode, contestants play a game show in which they buy clues to solve puzzles in hopes of winning up to $250,000.  In a ‘feel good’ twist, the money they are playing for isn’t for themselves, but a deserving loved one whose story is told throughout the show before they are surprised at the end. Keep reading to find out why The Bachelor‘s Chris thinks you’d be crazy not to check out You Deserve It, and what he has to say about the possibility of replacing Regis Philbin on Live!

RTVM: Congratulations on the new show! You Deserve It really draws viewers in.

Chris: I love it. I love the concept, and the hosting of it. It’s been fun.

RTVM: Perhaps you could quickly outline how You Deserve It plays out for readers who may not have caught an episode yet.

Chris: It’s really a game show/reality/drama, because it is a game show, but it’s much more about the story, not only of the contestant, but who the contestant is playing for. The biggest catch in the game is that the contestant is trying to win as much money as possible, but for somebody else in their life who would never have their hand out, who would never be a victim and ask for help – somebody who ‘deserves’ it. Last Monday was a perfect example; here’s this big brother, Randall, who was a Navy Corpsman who lost his leg in combat – he tied a tourniquet around his leg and saved his unit. They had to lie to him to get him out of the field, lie to him to get him to his Purple Heart ceremony – just an amazing guy who would never ask for help. His sisters stepped up and said, “You are an American hero and you deserve this,” and he does. That’s what the game is about, and that’s really who the game is about. I love that the game itself is exciting, and if you’re a game show fan I think you’ll be more than happy, but it’s really about the emotion and these human stories that we’re bringing.

RTVM: Was this element of giving back and changing people’s lives a factor for you in deciding to host the show?

Chris: Definitely. I went to my first meeting with the producers, they sat me down, and I played three rounds of the game in the boardroom with them. I said, “This game is great!” They said, “Here’s the catch…” Once they told me the catch, and what the show was really about; that it was very altruistic with all that giving, I told them before I left the meeting, “I’m in. I don’t care what my agent says, I’m in.” This is maybe the most perfect television show ever created because the game is so fun, and it’s a great game show, but when you add to it all of that giving, and it’s all good, and there’s no antagonist – no, “Hey, gotcha, you just lost all your money!” – I love that; it couldn’t be a better concept, especially right now during the holidays while our economy’s in the crapper; it’s really perfect.

RTVM: How were the contestants chosen for the initial six episodes, and how well did you get to know them and connect with them?

Chris: The casting was tough because there are so many of these stories, you know, I hope we go on and continue to fulfill these dreams for people who have given so much. I enjoyed getting to know these people. Unfortunately, because of the game element I didn’t get to spend a lot of time before the game, but during and after, I got to really get to know them. I got some tweets from Randall’s sisters after the game show this weekend, and I love that. Not only are the people we’re playing for great, but the people that are coming in and have stepped up are obviously pretty special themselves.

RTVM: How many episodes are left?

Chris: We have three more coming up over the holidays, and they’re all just as good, just as moving. They’re all a little bit different, yet all of them are emotional and inspirational.

RTVM: If someone was undecided about whether or not to tune in, what would you say to convince them?

Chris: You’d be crazy not to. It really is the perfect television show. It has all the elements that you would ever need – it’s exciting, it’s dynamic, it’s fun, but at the same time it’s a show with a huge heart. It’s really hard to balance that – usually there has to be an antagonist or something to root against – but this show is able to balance that perfectly and be all things to all people. Whether it’s the game show element or the reality show element, with these stories they really were able to pull it all into one show. It was no easy task.

RTVM: It moves at a great pace too – just sort of ‘grabs’ the viewer.

Chris: I host it, but to me it just feels like it flies by. I think with a good show, you realize at the end, “Oh my God, that was an hour.”

RTVM: Tell us about the next episode coming up on Monday December 12.

Chris: This son, who is a Sheriff’s deputy, is playing for his mom, who is down in Aliso Viejo, south of Los Angeles. She has selflessly given everything to her community and has fallen on her own hard times – lost her husband and is having financial trouble – but is so strong and so proud, she would never ask for anything. Her son has stepped up to the plate and said, “Mom, you deserve this.” To see this big, strong Sheriff deputy brought to tears and showing that emotion, it just destroys you. It’s a very moving show. One thing I notice as the host is that with the contestants not playing for themselves, the pressure is exponentially kicked up a notch. When you’re playing for someone in your life who has impacted you deeply, that pressure is immense.

RTVM: Are you anticipating that the series will return after these initial six episodes?

Chris: I sure hope so. Even if it’s just a series that ABC does every holiday, because it’s perfect to run over Christmas. After doing The Bachelor for ten years, it’s definitely different to try to launch a new show – you’re just kind of begging people to come watch and take time to check out the show.

RTVM: Switching gears, your name has been mentioned in online speculation as a possible replacement for Regis Philbin on Live!  Have you ever been approached about this, and would it be something you would consider doing?

Chris: First of all, Regis is one of my heroes – I’ve studied him, watched him, and luckily, got to meet him and talk to him on several occasions. He is one of the best in our business. I’m a host, I love doing live TV, and he’s done it as long as you can, as good as you can. So, absolutely, I’m honored to even be brought up in the same breath as him, and to be considered for the show…yeah, obviously, you’re definitely interested, you’re definitely honored – any host who says they’re not is crazy and out of their mind. Not only is his spot iconic, but the show is iconic. Filling in for him is like being the coach after Vince Lombardi – big shoes to fill to walk in after a legend. Whoever takes that job, it’s going to be very tough.

You Deserve It airs Mondays on ABC at 9:00 PM EST.

Read Reality TV Magazine’s interview with Chris Harrison about the upcoming season of The Bachelor!

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Photo courtesy: ABC

Topics: ABC Reality TV Shows, The Bachelor |

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