Award-winning singer-actress presides over Food Network contest
Q: How familiar are you with the board game from which “Candy Land” was developed?
A: I think it was probably my first game ever. My brother is five years older than me, and I remember that he wanted to play Operation when I wanted to play Candy Land, so we had to have a truce … “I’ll play a game of Operation with you if you’ll play Candy Land with me.”
It brings back memories of killing time before there was the Internet. My mom and dad used to limit our TV-watching time so we could be creative, and he’s an engineer now and I’m an artist. And I can’t help thinking that all those hours of going to our rooms and playing is something the world might be missing a bit now.
Q: Did you want to be a competition host before the “Candy Land” opportunity came up?
A: No! I never saw myself as a host. I did host the Tony Awards with Alan Cumming, who’s one of my best friends, and that felt right because it was the Tonys and it was Alan. And Craig (Zadan) and Neil (Meron) asked me to host the red carpet one year when they produced the Oscars, and I said, “No, I’m not a host.” They basically made me do it, and I had a really good time.
After the Tonys, though, it was so much work that I said, “I don’t know if I want to do that again.” Plus, there are people who do that really well — but after “Candy Land,” I’m not setting any boundaries or being a perfectionist about it. I just want to have fun, and I was just hungry for other people’s company. The contestants were amazing, I got very close to the judges, and it was just the right timing. I need stuff that’s going to make me happy, and “Candy Land” fell right into that pocket.
Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.