Sara Haines is doing double-duty on ABC for the near future. In addition to her work as one of the hosts of The View, she returns May 3 to emcee The Chase, a primetime game show that pits contestants against expert quiz masters as they try to earn some big bucks.
TV Insider chatted with Haines about what’s new on The Chase this season and how it’s working out at The View with rotating guests sitting in the empty chair vacated by Meghan McCain.
This is belated, but it’s so great that you came back to The View in 2020 after leaving in 2018 to work on some other ABC news shows.
Sara Haines: Thank you so much. I love doing it. It’s an honor to have a platform where I can share in conversations on things that I think about, things that are timely, and can be difficult to talk about. It’s an honor to be a part of The View.
You set co-host Joy Behar up for so many zingers – I hope she’s giving you 10 percent!
[Laughs] She is a gift. I always tell her that her best [material] could never air because it’s so inappropriate, but she makes me laugh. Oh my gosh!
Let’s talk The Chase. Did you have game show host idols from childhood?
It’s funny. I never remember the hosts from when I watched game shows while growing up as much as I do the contestants. I felt I could relate more to a random person or contestant. The first host who resonated with me was Meredith Vieira [Who Wants to Be A Millionaire]. I saw her do that and thought, “What a cool job!” I also like watching Michael Strahan host Pyramid. When I was on that show the first time, I couldn’t stop talking about a clue I went up on. Michael finally said, “Sara, let it go!”
How do you see your role as host of The Chase?
My job is to make things comfortable and stress-free for the contestants so that they can shine. Our Chasers are so lovely — they don’t really need a lot of help. I banter with them and add color to what they are doing. I bond with the contestants. The show’s an hour-long but we’re on set together longer than that. I get to know them and I genuinely care about them winning money.
I have such empathy for the contestants. There’s a combination of nerves, excitement, and anticipation going through their bodies and mine reacts, too. I don’t have any choice — I instantly relate to them. Personally, I’ll freeze if I’m asked simple questions if there’s any kind of timer. These people are the opposite of me. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, you just killed it.” I’m a fan of both the contestants and the Chasers. I love smart, well-read people. My brother is like that. The Chasers are also well-read. They make it “cool” to know things.
How do you balance having compassion for a contestant who’s falling behind with keeping the show moving?
It’s always a blow when you watch someone fall out. That happens in the second round against the Chaser. There’s always a sucker punch [feeling]. You have to go back to the fact that that’s the point of the game. With every negative part, there’s a positive. If the contestant goes out, then, the Chaser has a good game. There’s always someone having a good moment.
Are there any new rules this season?
No, but with each season we shoot we discover parts to already-written rules. Game shows are highly vetted. There’s something in the rules that reads, “If this happens, then, this happens.” We just haven’t necessarily had it happen before. This season doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
How do you think you would do as a contestant?
I come from a board game family. My kids aren’t quite old enough for board games but my family still plays them. My brother and sister right above me love Trivial Pursuit. I love games like Cranium and Taboo — games that don’t hinge on remembering your seventh-grade science class. So, I don’t think I would fare well. There actually are questions I’ll get excited about because sometimes I’ll know the answer and the Chasers don’t! That makes me feel next level. I like that we’re on at 9 p.m. — it can be appointment TV, which we don’t have as much of anymore.
There are new Chasers this season: Victoria Groce (Jeopardy!), Brandon Blackwell (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire), and Buzzy Cohen (Jeopardy!).
Yes. They’re all amazing people who happen to be fierce competitors. Victoria Groce, our lone female Chaser, is the No. 1 Quizzer in the world. Brandon [Blackwell] might be the fastest Chaser I’ve ever seen…We have returning Chasers Brad [Rutter] and James [Holzhauer]. I love seeing the competition among all of them. The final chases have had me trying to catch my breath. It’s amazing.
Just as there are new Chasers, we’re seeing a lot of rotating guests stop by The View this season. How’s that going?
I always love seeing new people so I’ve enjoyed this year. We knew at the beginning of this season that the show was going to take a breath and see who could be brought in [as guests]. It’s like having a new friend joining you and your partner for dinner. Let’s see how this goes!
I remember being new to the show. I have bonded with many of them no matter whatever their voice is. I tell [guest hosts] that they deserve their shot at this. I worry about them — not because of the panel — but because it’s a big opportunity for them. I see The View as this iconic show. I don’t ever take for granted being there. I like to comfort them. [Former View co-host] Sherri Shepherd did that for me. She said, “Kick me under the table if you want to say something,” which I would never do, but it felt like she was taking me under her wing. I want to do that for people as well.
Watch a sneak peek below!
The Chase, Tuesdays, 9/8c, ABC
The View, Weekdays, ABC