THE LOVE EXPERTS
September 1978-September 1979
"(Three contestants and their love problems are briefly
summarized). They're here to tell their stories to (four celebrities) on The
Bill moved from a game show podium to a talk show desk to
dispense advice & prizes to contestants who had some semi-odd problems with matters
of the heart.
Bill interviews three contestants, one at a time, and asks them various
questions about the particular problem they're having with their love life.
After the questioning is over, the panelists have their turn to ask the
contestant any questions they may have and give their respective solutions
to the problem.
After the three contestants have told their stories, the
panelists vote for their favorite love problem, and the winner gets a
mystery prize. (In the event of a tie, Bill casts the tie-breaking vote.)
Also on each show, Bill and the panelists give quick
answers to lovelorn audience members I guess because 30 minutes is such a
long time to fill.
Nothing in television happens overnight, and Bob Stewart had actually
been developing "The Love Experts" for quite some time. A pilot for
syndication was shot as early as 1975, hosted by Jack Cassidy. The series
didn't sell and Cassidy died the following year.
Bob Stewart gave his idea another go in 1978 in the midst of uprooting his
production company and moving it from New York to Hollywood. Bob, ever loyal
to the man he considered his go-to guy for virtually every one of his new
projects, turned to Bill to host his new pilot.
There's a strange footnote to the development of this show...Strictly
speaking, it didn't become a game show until the series actually went into
production. Voting for the "most interesting problem" and giving that person
a prize isn't an element in any of the pilots for the series. It was,
strictly speaking, a talk show that became a game show that looked like a
OK, it's different. But with the right panel it IS
entertaining. The episodes that got out of the vault and are currently
circulating are reasonably entertaining, but it relies so heavily on panel
chemistry that the series probably wasn't consistantly entertaining, because
a diferent panel might not interact as well.
There was one regular panelist joining Bill on each show; he was Bob
Stewart's OTHER go-to-guy, Geoff Edwards. Joining Geoff & Bill during the
season was a surprisingly formidable list of celebrities. Among them were
two rising stars: Jamie Lee Curtis and David Letterman.
Bill, however, shines in his role as half-game show host,
half-talk show host. In interviews during his career Bill (who had
guest-hosted "The Tonight Show" a few times) expressed his distaste for the
experience of hosting a talk show and said he didn't want to try it as a
Love Experts" at least demonstrates that he would have been good at it. His
interaction with the contestants is natural and free, and he obviously pays
attention to the contestants's stories, which is often a failing of
fledgling interviewers. Sure, he talked to contestants on game shows before
this, but "The Love Experts" was different. Bill steps up to the challenge
and shows himself a competent, not to mention very entertaining,