“Let’s Make a Deal” host Wayne Brady is applying his CBS game show’s mantra to a blizzard of primetime projects.
In addition to “Deal,” he’s hosting Fox’s new series, “Game of Talents”; co-stars opposite Jon Bernthal and Gretchen Mol in Showtime’s “American Gigolo” pilot; is developing a CBS sitcom; and optioned April Daniels’ book, “Dreadnought,” about a trans superhero, hoping to turn it into a TV show.
And that’s only the tip of the creative iceberg for Brady, whose TV resume includes “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (since 1998), a recurring role in Season 3 of “Black Lighting” (Gravedigger) and so much more (including a series with producer Jerry Bruckheimer in development at Paramount+).
“I’m in a business where you have to work hard,” Brady, 48, told The Post. “Some people sit on their butts and complain about it. Others are so successful that maybe they don’t have to work.
“It’s just part of my ethic — try to get as much in as you can.”
Brady said there were no network conflicts regarding “Game of Talents” — premiering Wednesday (March 10) at 9 p.m. following “The Masked Singer” — since both it and “Let’s Make a Deal” are produced by Fremantle. “While it’s not the norm it’s not completely unorthodox,” he said. “Even though I’m hosting a show on a rival network, CBS…understands I’m not just a host and I just don’t do one thing and they’ve been very good about that.
“And ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ is in daytime and [‘Game of Talents’] is primetime so they’re not in direct competition. It’s also cool to be able to put something creative out in a space during the pandemic. These shows are something people can enjoy while going nuts in lockdown and all the uncertainty.”
In “Game of Talents,” two teams vie to guess the occupation of a mystery guest (i.e. “Bonebreaker,” “3D Dancer,” “Fire Thrower,” “Levitator”) for cash prizes. “This show resonates with me because this game is something myself and other performers play all our lives, when we go to an audition and think, ‘That person looks really talented’ or ‘I don’t think they can dance’, ” Brady said. “It’s what you see and what your mind thinks up, and sometimes there are certain biases, stereotyping people right off the bat. It’s a game show with a social lesson.”
Brady’s CBS sitcom pilot revolves around his life with ex-wife Mandie Taneka (they have a daughter, Maile). “It’s a story about a blended family who happens to be of mixed-race. She’s the ex-wife of this TV star and happens to be his best friend,” Brady said. “They co-parent and live with her boyfriend while raising their teenage daughter. That sounds like a sitcom pitch but it’s really our life.”
Brady plays “best friend” Lorenzo in “American Gigolo” opposite Bernthal — “I will go on record as saying he’s one of my favorite actors, hands-down,” he said — while “Dreadnought” was bought by his production company.
“It’s the first of this trilogy starring a trans superhero,” he said. “What really struck me about the story is that I’m a huge comic and sci-fi fan, I’m a nerd in that niche and that’s where I live. It’s a coming-of-age story of a superhero…receiving new superpowers and being thrust in front of the world. At the same time there’s the underlying story of this person undergoing a transformation in their own life and being misunderstood by the people they live with and battling those insecurities and wanting to be who they are.
“Stories like these need to be told,” he said. “We live in a world where fanboys sometimes don’t want to accept a superhero of a different color or sex and let gender stand in the way of their sci-fi joy.
“I’m dedicating it blood relatives of mine who are members of the LGBTQ+ community,” he said. “I have a trans niece and gay best friends — people who suffer everyday. So this book is very important to try to bring to the marketplace as a [TV] show.
“When I leave the Earth, I hope the legacy of Wayne Brady won’t be, ‘Oh, wow, he really made us laugh on ‘Whose Line’ and we loved him on sitcoms,” he said. “That’s cool for some people. I want people to say, ‘Wayne Brady made us laugh, but he helped.
“In whatever way, shape or form, he helped.’ “