Host Bob Saget on Going Country & Bringing the Fun to CMT’s ‘Nashville Squares’
Bob Saget recalls getting approached years ago about hosting Hollywood Squares before fellow America’s Funniest Home Videos alum Tom Bergeron took the gig. It’s now the comedian/beloved television dad’s time to follow in his friend’s footsteps with the game show’s country version, CMT’s Nashville Squares.
“I thought, ‘Why me?’ Is Jeff Foxworthy or Bill Engvall not available? They said, ‘No, we just think you know how to do this,’” Saget said about when VH1’s Hip Hop Squares producer Jesse Collins and executive producer Neal Konstantini pitched him.
One of the project’s selling points for the 63-year-old is the idea of less scripting. Aside from a little copy-reading and maybe repeating a question to progress the celeb infused tic-tac-toe game, Saget gets to utilize his natural wit on the fly.
“I just get to mess with all the people. I also love country music. I was nominated for a comedy special I did that had three country songs in it. I even have a new song that I perform on Nashville Squares called ‘Corn’s My Meat’ because it’s a vegan song. It’s a comedy show,” he said.
“There is something about it that has a real nice feel about it…There is open booze. It’s a party. It’s a mixture of all different kinds of stuff. Yes, you are winning money and maybe a car. There are the prizes, but it’s the people that are on it like Loni Love, Melissa Peterman, Caroline Rhea, Fortune Feimster, just different people I just love for a long time.”
Before the premiere, Saget goes into more of the X’s and O’s of Nashville Squares, as well as saying goodbye to Fuller House and more.
You’re no stranger to game shows. It seems the genre is more popular than ever.
Bob Saget: Isn’t it weird that I was on 1 vs. 100, and it was a hit. It was with Deal or No Deal, which was a mega hit and then Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Then everyone said, ‘No more game shows. It’s over.’ Bye game shows. Next thing you know Anthony Anderson is texting me to do To Tell the Truth again. I’m like, ‘Okay, I can’t say no.’ Then I’m on Match Game with Alec Baldwin because I have an ability for quick answers, and I like to screw around.
Was there a fight for who would be the center square?
That was all the producers. Tanya Tucker being a legend of many of the shows. We had our legends like Marie Osmond in the center. Tanya is something. She is nice. She is funny. She is balls to the wall. She just says it. She has no trouble speaking her mind. Then you have people like Bill Engvall, who used to open for me on the road and became a star. Deana Carter, Ty Pennington, Kyle Busch. Just some really cool people. We shot it in L.A. If it’s successful, we would want to do it in Nashville.
You also have some other festive elements like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: All Stars.
To protect them from the crew, we would just put them on the bus after every episode. It’s a new world. It’s not lascivious stuff. Although there is banter back and forth that definitely crosses some lines. But you can watch this with your whole family. That’s the nice part of it. It’s just fun.
It’s a silly reboot of the show. I just had a blast doing it. We just shot a bunch of them. I shot a promo in Nashville, and they made what is called a Nudie Suit for me. Manuel [Cuevas], who is 86, made it. He made suits for Johnny Cash and John Lennon, literally everybody. They said, “You want to wear a Nudie Suit?” I said, “No! I’m not going to be naked for you people. I’m saving that for my anniversary.”
Speaking of anniversary, there was just the 30th anniversary of America’s Funniest Home Videos. When is Videos After Dark coming back?
I’ve been told by Rob Mills of ABC to tell people that winter-spring — which is what they say on Game of Thrones, I believe — is when After Dark is coming on. The other stuff was sneak previews. Those episodes. We’ve been working and fixing and changing to make it more produced. That will be on in the winter-spring, which I never heard of, but it’s like television season talking. It’s like when you’re going out, and it’s cold, but the flowers could be blooming. I’m proud of that show.
Fuller House is approaching the end on Netflix. What has it been like on set?
In a couple of weeks I’m doing the last episode. It’s very bittersweet. We had a beautiful episode that we shot a few weeks back with John [Stamos], David [Collier] and myself reflecting on what we’ve accomplished together.
Then the real accomplishment of this series, Netflix giving you five seasons, is not nothing. Stranger Things, I don’t know, do we want to watch kids when they are 25? I do. I’m a big fan. But five seasons is very respectable. Candace [Cameron-Bure], Jodie [Sweetin] and Andrea [Barber] and all the kids did a really great job. I was very happy to be part of that and send it off with a lot of love. The first nine will air at the end of the year, and the last nine will come in the winter-spring.
Sounds like a busy winter-spring for you.
I’m working on a bunch of projects. I have a lot of going on. I’m busier than ever. I guess the busiest was when I was doing America’s Funniest Home Videos and Full House at the same time and writing the Videos show. I also wrote Videos After Dark and I’m working on a documentary about Martin Mull, produced by Kevin Bright. Martin Mull is not just a great actor and comedian. He is a great artist, which is what this is about.
Follow your dream and what your real passion is. I’m on a stand-up tour that will go until I get my next special, which I’m working on. All new material. I’m trying to create a nice night out, so I’m playing a lot of theaters and clubs. That’s where you have to do it with four or six shows and work that material. You have to find out what’s good. Comedians are crazy important right now and popular. The world got kind of sad. I’m going to cheer it up. I want to do shows like Nashville Squares that make people feel good.
Nashville Squares, Series Premiere, Friday, November 1, 8/7c, CMT