Tucker Carlson's Next Step: A Game Show for CBS

By Lisa de Moraes
Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tucker Carlson is stretching himself again, this time agreeing to host a game show for CBS called "Do You Trust Me?"

The conservative political pundit, who hosts a weekday interview show called "Tucker" on MSNBC, will tape a pilot in Los Angeles this month for the prime-time series. It's been described as a "prisoner's dilemma" kind of game show -- you know, like when two people are arrested for a crime, put in separate rooms, and detectives try to get each to rat on the other?

During test runs a few weeks back, the show involved two strangers who have to work together to try to win a big pot of money by turning over tiles with dollar amounts on them. Each also has the opportunity to steal the money from the other. But if both opt to steal in a round of play, they're out of luck.

Meanwhile, in the studio audience, people who know the contestants reveal information about the players to other audience members, viewers at home -- and the other player.

"It's a show about human drama. . . . I spend my life trying to figure out if people are lying -- this is no different," Carlson joked to The TV Column.

Carlson's varied career also includes being the youngest anchor in the history of CNN, and being the guy who got into a verbal rumble with Jon Stewart on that network's "Crossfire."

The longtime magazine and newspaper journalist also hosted "Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered" on PBS.

Carlson's previous flirtation with reality TV did not go so well; he was the first celebrity dancer cut from last fall's edition of "Dancing With the Stars," receiving the fewest votes from the judges and viewers for his cha-cha.

On the bright side, Carlson was a better dancer than Jerry Springer, who was also one of the hoofers on that edition of the hit ABC series.

Should CBS decide to pick up "Do You Trust Me?," Carlson would be following in the footsteps of former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein, who hosted Comedy Central's "Win Ben Stein's Money." No trust was involved in that show: Contestants tried to correctly answer as many questions as possible in order to win, um, Ben Stein's money.

If this pilot pans out, Carlson would wind up hosting the CBS game show while anchoring his MSNBC program, which is described by that network as a "fast-paced, no-holds-barred conversation about the day's developments in news, politics, world issues and pop culture." Game shows typically shoot batches of episodes in one session. And "Do You Trust Me?" will be produced in Studio City, Calif., not far from NBC's Burbank headquarters. MSNBC is owned by NBC Universal.

Last fall, during his all-too-brief stint on "Dancing" -- also produced in Los Angeles -- Carlson hosted "Tucker" sometimes from the roof of the "Dancing" studio, and sometimes from NBC in Burbank.

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