Mark McGrath talks about hosting truTV’s reality series “Killer Karaoke”

Photo Credit: truTV

Mark McGrath is known best as the front man of the rock band Sugar Ray. McGrath is also known for his work as a co-host of “Extra”, and he was the host of “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”. Mark is taking over the role of host in truTV’s hit reality series “Killer Karaoke”, which premieres February 20th. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about the show with Mark and find out what can we expect.

Mike Gencarelli: You are no stranger to hosting; what drew you in for “Killer Karaoke”?
Mark McGrath: It was a slam dunk for me, honestly. It involves performances, karaoke and live animals. That is just the perfect triad for me. I said “I am in! It sounds like a typical night in the 90’s for me” [laughs]. I had seen the show last season and I was a big fan of it as well. It is interesting that when I first saw the show, I thought to myself that it was such a great hosting gig. Then I literally got a call two months later. It was just a no brainer. A good buddy of mine, Tony Yates, is the CEO of the production company, Zodiac and I worked with him before on “Don’t Forget the Lyrics”. I was always impressed with the way that Tony puts a show together. I spoke to Tony and he said the show was “Killer Karaoke” and I said “I’m in! Where do I sign?”

Mike: This show is very funny, I wouldn’t be able to not crack up if I was hosting…
Mark: I knew the show was going to be funny Mike, like I said I’m a fan but I was doubling over in laughter the entire season. I was ruining takes because I would just keep laughing and they would have to start over. It was so funny. The contestants are amazing. I think that the thing I took away most from the show was how funny it actually is watching the show in real-time and that the contestants can really sing. All of them sing better than I do [laughs]. That is the scary part, I am not kidding you! [laughs].

Mike: Tell us about the fresh, new format and how it differs from season one?
Mark: I think they really brought in some geniuses to increase the gameplay and really get you involved with these contestants and get an emotional component for them. The show just seems to have a little more gravitas now. Steve-O hosted the first season (read our interview here) and those were huge shoes to fill. He was a perfect match for this show, so I am honored to take the torch from him and carry on.

Photo Credit: truTV

Mike: What kind of hilarious and unexpected challenges the contestants can we expect from this season?
Mark: I think what is great about this show is that it is all about spontaneity. You never know what is around the corner. The contestants never know what they are facing. But they know that there will be a fear element. One of their biggest fears will be met. You throw a little bit of karaoke in there with a live audience and it is quite the fun afternoon. When you have live animals…you cannot control them. I am looking at the side of the stage and I am seeing 300lb animal handlers. I am wondering “What are those guys for” and then I look around and you see camel heads, snakes and spiders backstage. You just wonder “What are we in for today?” It is fun because you not only have the fear element but it is mixed with the surprise element and the laughter element. You never know what is going to happen. Then on top of all that you have to sing….on key. I think that is what makes this show so great, anything can happen…and it usually does.

Mike: I tell you one thing Mark, in the episode I watched this season, a contestant had to sing in a helmet full of spiders…I do not do spiders man [laughs].
Mark: Listen Mike, I don’t blame you dude. Let’s just say people literally come face to face with their greatest fears. Some of the things that these contestants have to deal with that you wouldn’t think would be to intimidating like Canadian Geese, let’s just say, you would be surprised. If you get two of them together in little pen, they start making these shrieks and it’s crazy. But they are wild animals man and you can’t forget that. These animals get treated really well man. In fact they get treated better than I do man, they kicked me out of my dressing room to bring in the Canadian Geese [laughs]. The earth has provided us with some pretty incredible creatures and “Killer Karaoke” is happy to put them on a TV show.

Photo Credit: truTV

Mike: How do you think you would do if you were put in these contestants’ shoes?
Mark: I am the biggest baby. This is something I found out about doing this show [laughs]. I am afraid of everything. I think “I am a man. I can handle this. I toured in the 90’s. I lived on a bus with 10 guys for 12 years. I HAVE SEEN IT ALL! Bring it on!” But I would never put my hand in a scorpion pit, no matter how much money is attached on the back of the scorpion. I am not grabbing it off the back of the SCORPION! I do not think that there is one challenge that I would do. There is one called “Leader of the Pack”, which is a dog challenge. It is the scariest thing to see those dogs running at you full force. Even with the protective suit on it would be very intimidating. I would be terrible man. I am afraid when I see a cockroach at night and I run. I am not kidding you. [laughs].

Mike: Lastly, on a musical note; please tell me you are planning to come back to the Eat to the Beat Concert series during Epcot International Food and Wine Festival this year?
Mark: Oh Mike, that is one of the things that I look forward to most all year. I have had the good fortune of playing there four years in a row now. It is interesting, when I first started playing my wife was pregnant and now last year, I brought my kids up on the stage, which is so cool for me. It is so much fun. I love coming down to Disney World for a week and spending the time with the kids and just having fun during the day and then getting to play three shows at night to some killer crowds. It is so much fun. So I am standing by the phone and I hope to be there again this year!

Rich Eisen talks about TNT’s new reality series “The Great Escape”

A graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in communications, Rich Eisen is probably best known to sport fans as the face of the NFL Network, which he joined after seven years at ESPN. He has also added his commentary to several of VH1’s various “I Love the….” decade shows and last year appeared in the very funny short “Field of Dreams 2” on Funny or Die. He can also currently be seen (actually heard) as the marathon announcer in the new film “That’s My Boy.” Eisen’s latest project is as host of the new action/reality show “The Great Escape,” which debuts this Sunday evening on TNT. Rich took some time recently to speak with Media Mikes about his love for football, his reality show skills and how he hopes to follow Dan Patrick to “Sandler Stardom!”

Mike Smith: How did you get involved with “The Great Escape?”
Rich Eisen: Charlie Ebersol, who is one of the producers, and his partner, Justin Hochberg…they created the show. They sat me down about a year ago and showed me on his iPhone a demo reel for “The Great Escape” that was constructed by Ron Howard, whose production company he runs with Brian Grazer, Imagine Entertainment, is one of the show’s producers, as well as the creators and producers of “The Amazing Race.” And I decided that if they wanted to bring to life what they just showed me on their iPhone…what was leaping off of that small screen and snapping my lapels back…well, I told them “tell me more!” (laughs) And now here we are, about to show it to the fickle beast that is the American viewing public. I don’t want to jinx it but it’s got everything that appears to appeal to the folks that like to watch this kind of programming. I mean it’s got EVERYTHING in it that will push their buttons. I’m really excited for it.

MS: With NFL training camps starting up next month with your duties on the show interfere in your NFL Network gig?
RE: No. We’ll be done shooting this season’s shows by the end of this month (June). I’m ready for the NFL season. I’ll tell you that. It’s a great thing, too. I’m really involved in two of the greatest reality projects around. “The Great Escape,” obviously. And the NFL. THAT’S 22-26 weeks of drama. Each and every week.

MS: Besides “The Great Escape,” is there a reality show you wouldn’t mind appearing on?
RE: You know I’d really like to try “The Great Escape.” I’d love to see how I’d handle it. I’d choose Warren Sapp (former Tampa Bay Buccaneer great) to do it with me because he’d be able to handle both the physical and the mental challenges. I’d love to do that. That would be a lot of fun. And when folks see this show that’s going to be their general sense…they’re going to want to do this. It’s going to call to them from the television.

MS: I caught your work in the new Adam Sandler film “That’s My Boy” earlier this week. Any plans of following your buddy Dan Patrick into bigger roles on the silver screen?
RS: (laughs) Dan always makes it seem like he’s the gatekeeper but it’s still really Adam Sandler and his producing partner, Jack Garraputo, who call the shots. I’m working my way into the rotation. “That’s My Boy” is a double edged sword because, though I’m involved in the funniest scene in the film, most people don’t hear me because they’re rolling in the aisles! But, that said, I can only aspire to be what Dan is in the Sandler oeuvre’!

DVD Review “A Darker Reality”

Director: Chris Kazmier
Starring: Daniel Baldwin, Sunny Doench, Alisha Seaton
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Phase 4 Films
Run Time: 90 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Right off the bat, the film drew me in due to its interesting box art.  When it comes to horror films unfortunately a good horror box art never means good movie…I am just a sucker.  This one definitely surprised me.  For one thing it definitely earned it unrated rating since it was very disturbing and very gross, but I guess that is why I enjoyed it.  The story is a little light but it overall it definitely keep me interested for the 90 minutes.

The film is about a crazy psychopath serial killer known as The Ghost, who has no limits, captures and tortures his victims, young girls, in his basement. After his latest kill, Police Detective Balasco and psychiatrist Dr. Metcalfe team up in order to find the killer and save the girls.  The team is in a race for time before it is too late to rescue these victims.

The best part of the film was easily Daniel Baldwin as a crazy psycho killer.  He nails the role of the lunatic who abducts, tortures and kills his preys.  Phase 4 Films are getting know for releases some pretty awesome titles in the last few months, so keep an eye out for there future releases.  In the special features category though, it is a little light.  There are a few deleted scenes, which are decent and only a trailer included.  Overall horror fans might want to check it out just for some good gore and one crazy Daniel Baldwin.