Who Should Replace Shana Hiatt?
In case you didn't hear, the recently concluded WPT Championship was the last show Shana Hiatt will tape for the World Poker Tour. Shana apparently wants to get back into acting, so look for her soon in Law and Order: Special Frisking Unit
or CSI: Boise
. I wish her the best of luck, but as I said before she need look no farther than Vince Van Patten to give her pause about pursuing an acting career.
Shana did her job and did it exceedingly well. She introduced the shows, did her Poker Corner features, asked the losing players a brief question or two, and usually took part in the presentation of the money. Nothing too taxing, but she managed without coming across as a ditz or a Vanna-like cipher. It also helps that she's a knockout, but she's an accessible knockout, she doesn't look as though scaffolding has to be erected around her to get her ready for the cameras. She looks good in an evening gown, in a bikini, in just about anything. Nothing wrong with a little eye candy to balance out Mike and Vince. Although, by the second season, she was probably more famous than all but a handful of the poker players she interviewed.
Even, arguably, more famous than Richard Brodie
, the Quiet Lion, whose good-natured stalking of Shana at the various WPT stops always made for entertaining stories. Though the most recent story he told left me slack-jawed. On the Party Poker Million cruise Richard and friends were at dinner, and he wrote this:
Gary had the Mike Sexton New York Steak and I had a nice salmon without a celebrity name attached. Like last year, they named the dishes after the event staff and stars but I thought it was a little over the top to have (I am not making this up) "Shana Hiatt Red Snapper".
I don't know what is more incomprehensible--the fact that "Shana Hiatt Red Snapper" got past whatever culinary copywriters Party and the cruise line employs, or that the Lion didn't call room service and place an order for a late-night Shana snack in his room. I mean, I know it's probably a billion to one shot that Ms. Hiatt herself shows up, but don't you have to take that chance?
By and by, I wonder if they served Vince Van Patton broiled ham?
Anyway. No one is irreplacable, and I'm sure the WPT will have it's share of starlets looking to bask in poker's reflected light. Who should be the choice? Well, if they go the starlet route, I have no idea. Whether the new hostess has Shana's easy charm we'll have to wait and see, but as the qualifications for the job are "Look really good and be able to speak in sentences" I think there will be no shortage of qualified applicants.
Rather than go through a litany of hot young women who I'd like to see every week on the Travel Channel, let's think outside the box a bit. To be honest, Shana doesn't get in front of the camera all that much. I think John Juanda has had more face time than Shana this season. I think having an attractive woman introduce each show is a nice way to hook the male couch-potato, but you could have a fetching representative from each venue do that. What you need is someone to do the interviews, the little Poker Corner spots, that sorta thing. Do these tasks necessitate a hottie?
I think not. Which is why I nominate David Cross to replace Shana Hiatt. Cross is one of my favorite...whatever he is. Comedian, actor, sketch artist, whatever. Mr. Show
is one of my favorites, he's hilarious on Arrested Development
, and if I recall correctly Cross won the first season of Celebrity Poker Showdown
, so he actually knows a little something about poker. And if you saw Cross on CPS
you know that he's a nut. The majority of the actors who appeared on the show were deathly dull, no doubt requiring someone funny and clever to come up with interesting lines. Cross was goofy and profane and gross and still managed to win the thing.
After three years, how much basic information is left for "Poker Corner" to impart? I'd like to think Cross could come up with some crude and subversive segments to both enlighten and amuse. And think of the post-knockout interviews. How much would I pay to see Cross facetiously try to comfort a raging Phil Hellmuth? I'm afraid to say it out loud.Arrested Development
is in danger of being canned, and if Fox makes such a stupid decision the Travel Channel should leap at the chance to add David Cross to the WPT team. I can actually picture Mike and Vince looking at each other with bemused befuddlement after a "Poker Corner" segment featuring Cross, a chicken, Scotty Ngyuen, and a hot air balloon. Don't ask me how that all might fit together, I'm not the one interested in the job.