So, you've got a killer concept for an unscripted reality show. Maybe it's a celebrity singing competition shrouded in secrecy, like The Masked Singer, a dramatic quest for love like The Bachelor, or a hilarious baking battle à la Nailed It!  But before cameras start rolling and hopeful contestants line up, there's a crucial piece of the puzzle missing: your host. 

The host is the lifeblood of your unscripted show, the one who guides the audience through the drama, the laughs, and the emotional roller coaster. Finding the right host can make or break your program, so buckle up as we explore how to cast the perfect unscripted TV host. We've even included a free template to streamline your search!

Check out our free unscripted TV host template

Stressed about finding and signing your dream host? Our free unscripted TV host template is here to help. 

Simply download the template and customize it for your needs as you negotiate and finalize the contractual terms for your potential unscripted TV host. 

With this tool in hand, you can start crafting a targeted casting call and attract a pool of talented hosts who perfectly align with your show's vision.

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Television Host Agreement Template

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Let your show guide your initial TV host research

Before diving into the free template, take a step back and consider the unique DNA of your unscripted show. 

Look at the examples we mentioned earlier: The Masked Singer thrives with the energetic personality and pop culture knowledge of Nick Cannon, while The Bachelor benefits from the empathetic and charming presence of Jesse Palmer. Nailed It! wouldn't be the same without Nicole Byer's sharp comedic timing and ability to connect with the show's lighthearted chaos.

Your show's concept should be the driving force behind your initial host research. Are you creating a competition show that requires technical expertise in a particular field? Consider hosts with relevant experience like a celebrity chef for a cooking competition.

Finding Your Unscripted TV Host - Wrapbook - Cooking Host
Who doesn’t love a cooking show?

Is your show more about heartwarming journeys and emotional connections? Look for hosts known for their empathy and charisma. Remember, the ideal host complements your show's tone and content, not necessarily replaces the role of judges or experts.

Determine if you need a “name”

While established stars can bring name recognition, don't feel discouraged if your budget doesn't allow for a household name. Up-and-coming comedians, rising stars in your show's specific genre, or even charismatic personalities from the online world can be incredible finds. 

The free template will help you prioritize the qualities most crucial to your show, allowing you to discover talented hosts who might not yet have the highest billing, but who possess the perfect combination of skills and personality to make your unscripted TV show shine.

Get the word out

Once you've honed your vision for the perfect host using the free template, it's time to get the word out and find your hidden gem. Here are a few effective strategies to consider:

Leverage your network 

Don't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth! Chat with industry colleagues, casting directors, and talent agents. Let them know you're on the hunt for a phenomenal host and see if they have any recommendations or leads. You might be surprised who they know!

Explore online casting platforms

Websites like Backstage and Actors Access are popular destinations for actors and aspiring on-screen personalities. Posting a clear and concise casting call tailored to your host criteria allows you to tap into a large pool of talent. 

These platforms offer varying subscription models, so you can choose the option that best suits your budget and casting needs.

Review self-tapes and/or hold auditions

With qualified candidates on your radar, it's time to see them in action! Whether you choose self-tapes or in-person auditions, prioritize scenarios that reveal your ideal host's true potential.

Focus on exercises that showcase their improv skills. This could involve throwing them curveballs during mock interviews, asking them to think on their feet and respond naturally to unexpected situations.

Finding Your Unscripted TV Host - Wrapbook - Acting Class
Improv is the perfect way to test your potential hosts skills and timing.

These scenarios will not only reveal their comedic timing and wit, but also their ability to connect with the audience and navigate the unexpected, which is a crucial skill for any unscripted host. Through these exercises, you'll gain valuable insights into their personality, presence, and how effectively they embody the spirit of your show.

Agree upon conditions for the TV hosting gig

Congratulations, you've found the perfect host! 

Before popping the champagne corks, however, it's essential to solidify the terms of their involvement with a formal agreement. This is particularly crucial if your show hasn't yet been picked up or greenlit.

The agreement should address key details like the potential timeline for the show's development and production. It should also outline what happens if your chosen host receives another offer in the interim. Additionally, determine the number of seasons they'd be committing to, whether the show is already in production or not. 

Finally, ensure the agreement clearly lays out all terms of attachment or employment, including compensation structure. By ironing out these details upfront, you'll establish a clear and professional working relationship with your host, setting the stage for a successful and rewarding collaboration.

Wrapping up

Finding the perfect host for your unscripted show is a crucial step in bringing your vision to life. By utilizing the free template, considering your show's unique DNA, and leveraging various casting strategies, you'll be well on your way to discovering a gem. 

Like the free template? See Wrapbook in action! Book a demo to experience how our payroll software and resources streamline your entire production.

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Last Updated 
May 15, 2024


At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
Daniela Bailes

Daniela Bailes is a working film and television writer whose work travels across genres. A proud alumnus of the Yale Writer’s Conference in New Haven, she was mentored by literary luminaries before being selected for the National Hispanic Media Coalition TV Writer’s Program, a feature writer on the Latinx Black List, and as a participant in the Sundance Episodic Lab. Her most recent work was staffing on the upcoming Paramount science-fiction series, The Shift, also selling a feature script to A+E Networks.

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