Here’s an e-mail from a loyal reader who was forwarded this message from a “History” Channel casting associate–and not because the forwarder thought my reader might be eligible for the job! (If you recall, I’ve had some choice bons mots here about the quality of programming on the “History” Channel in the past–just click here for our conversation last winter.)
Hello Professor _______,
My name is B——- McC——, and I’m a casting associate working on a new show for The History Channel entitled “History Quest”. We are currently casting hosts for the show, hence this e-mail to you.
I’ve contacted of few of your department’s professors, and I wanted to reach out to you as well. Perhaps you know of someone who would be an appropriate candidate for our show.
We are looking for a host with a strong background in American history. Additionally, we need a host who is approachable, relatable to the audience, and capable of dispensing history lessons to show contestants in an accessible manner.
The show is half history lesson, half adventure reality series. Each episode will be based in one American city, in which two teams will compete in physical and mental challenges based upon that city’s history. The host will serve as both motivator and educator.
We’re open to many physical-types for the host position, but we’re focusing on finding more of a rugged, rough, and smart type. Think Survivor’s Jeff Probst or Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe, but with a background in American history.
Here’s a description of our ideal host:
Male, mid 30s – mid 40’s, blue collar intelligent with the right mix of humor and gravitas. Needs to be quick on his feet and have the ability to give game instructions, interact with contestants, and ladle out historical fact. Rugged but approachable and knowledgeable.
If you have any interest in talking more about the show, please respond to this e-mail address or give me a call at (***) ***-****.
If you know someone who would be an ideal candidate for the host position, please feel free to forward this e-mail to them.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
“History Quest” Casting
Of course, a host with boobs is entirely out of the question. Only men are capable of achieving the “right mix of humor and gravitas.” And since authority is gendered male in our culture, only a man could possible be “approachable, relatable to the audience, and capable of dispensing history lessons to show contestants in an accessible manner.” Now, never mind that I’m finding it difficult to think of more than one male American historian who is “rugged,” a guy who used to teach here as a matter of fact. I mean, geez–maybe there’s a d00d with a History M.A. working for the National Parks or National Forest Service, but they’re not exactly thick on the ground at the American Historical Association’s annual meetings!
Now, if only they had asked if we could find a short, pale, male American historian who has a baseball fetish, I could fill Fenway with suggestions. . . even the bleachers!