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Travis Kelce takes on new role as host of ‘Are You Smarter Than a Celebrity?’ He joins a roster of athletes helming game shows.

In Entertainment
April 19, 2024

Travis Kelce has won his fair share of trophies and is now helping others score some wins of their own.

The Super Bowl champion tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs will host the new game show series Are You Smarter Than a Celebrity? for Prime Video.

In a twist, the spinoff of the popular Fox game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, will feature adult contestants who will depend on a “classroom” full of famous faces to help them answer 11 questions on a range of subjects.

Pulling from an elementary school curriculum, the contestants will aim to win a $100,000 prize. The final question will always be at the sixth-grade level.

“I grew up loving game shows,” Kelce told Prime Video in a statement. “And I’m excited to be following in the footsteps of so many TV icons by hosting my very first one with Are You Smarter Than a Celebrity?

Amazon has ordered 20 episodes of the show led by Kelce, who played a pivotal role in winning Super Bowl LVIII in February with the Chiefs. The popular footballer raised his profile even more in 2023 when he started dating pop star Taylor Swift and launched a top-rated sports podcast, New Heights, with his older brother, Jason Kelce.

“Athletes have a massive amount of social capital and social appeal already inherently because they played a sport,” Parker Graham, who played Division I football at Oklahoma State University and went on to play with the Baltimore Ravens, told Yahoo Entertainment. Graham recently co-founded Vestible, an investment platform that helps athletes monetize their brand.

“Travis is a great example of this. He’s a guy who’s like 6’5,” he’s played in the league for forever, won Super Bowls. He’s dating, you know, arguably the most famous musician right now. And with that star power and with that social capital, there’s a lot of brands that benefit from joining alongside somebody like that in game shows and TV shows.”

That said, Kelce isn’t the only baller who’s taken his talents to the stage.

Michael Strahan hosts ‘The $100,000 Pyramid’

ABC brought back old-school game show The $100,000 Pyramid with host Michael Strahan in 2016. It was first created in 1973.

Host Michael Strahan joins players Lauren Ash and Kayon Ellis on

Host Michael Strahan joins players Lauren Ash and Kayon Ellis on an episode of “The $100,000 Pyramid” on ABC. (Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images)

It’s a timeless word-association game, where two contestants each get a celebrity partner and face off in a race against the clock to make it to the winner’s circle and take home the $100,000 prize.

Before co-anchoring Good Morning America and co-hosting Live with Kelly and Michael, Strahan was a bruising force in the NFL, playing defensive end for the New York Giants. He still co-owns the single-season record for most sacks ever on a quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers’s stint on ‘Jeopardy!’

Aaron Rodgers, the New York Jets quarterback who previously spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers, guest-hosted Jeopardy! for two weeks in 2021. He was even seriously considered to replace the late Alex Trebek as host.

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers guest hosted “Jeopardy!” in 2021. (Courtesy of Sony Pictures/Jeopardy!)

“Aaron Rodgers was definitely the most prepared,” Mike Richards, the game show’s former producer who became host and was ousted one day later, said in an interview.

“I was blown away by that — the intensity in which he prepped — and he was so lovely to everyone on staff,” he said.

Richards recalled a conversation they had.

“I was like, ‘How are you going to work this out with football scheduling?’” Richards asked Rodgers. “He said, ‘You’ll figure it out!’”

Dwyane Wade hosts ‘The Cube’

He’s a three-time NBA champion, one of the NBA’s 75 all-time greatest players and, now, the guy standing between contestants enclosed in a glass box and some money.

Dwyane Wade is the host of the TBS “high-octane competition series” The Cube, adapted in America from the British version. The game show, according to TBS, follows “contestant pairs who must demonstrate skill, nerve and determination as they endure seemingly simple physical and mental tasks — all while confined in ‘The Cube,’ an intimidating glass box with its own mind and attitude.”

Dwyane Wade, hugging wife Gabrielle Union.

Dwyane Wade, hugging wife Gabrielle Union, hosts “The Cube.” (Courtesy of TBS)

Each pair, who can work on their own or as a team, has nine lives to complete seven games. The amount of money increases as they move closer to taking home a jackpot of $250,000.

Wade initially signed on to executive produce the show through his company 59th & Prairie Entertainment and then was asked to also host.

Similar to the other two game shows, celebrities have also made appearances, including his wife, actress Gabrielle Union; TV personality La La Anthony; and former NBA teammate Shaquille O’Neal.

Why are athletes turning into game show hosts?

“Athletes are trained to talk to people in short clips, keep their cool in tough situations, answer questions with composure, smile when needed, speak to be understood,” said Candy Lee, a professor from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

“They understand camera positions, filming and popularity with fans. They are also used to a weekly gig that is reasonably repetitive and can be filmed over a season,” she added.

Greg Linnelli, a sports radio broadcaster who also works in public relations, said professional athletes “regularly perform in front of thousands of people,” which exposes them to all types of media already.

“Being able to interact with the media, whether for print or on air, puts them in a position where they are constantly voicing their opinions and interacting with others on a regular basis,” Linnelli told Yahoo Entertainment.

Travis Kelce yells and raises his hands to fire up the crowd during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII Victory Parade in Kansas City, Mo., in February.

Travis Kelce yells and raises his hands to fire up the crowd during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII Victory Parade in Kansas City, Mo., in February. (Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“This allows them to be comfortable in those settings, which helps them in other non-football-related opportunities. It also helps them think on their feet while also being comfortable in that environment,” he added

Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in February to win the Super Bowl.

Since then, he’s been on the move to expand his business efforts into different arenas. He’s producing the documentary King Pleasure, which is about the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

And even though he was recently seen jamming out with Swift at Coachella, he created his very own music festival called Kelce Jam, which will take place April 28 in his home of Kansas City, Mo. Machine Gun Kelly and Rick Ross will perform at the event.

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