Food Network star Guy Fieri is known for his signature bleach blond hair and his skills in the kitchen. But above all, he's known for his high-octane energy which makes Fieri a perfect match for NBC's new game show Minute to Win It (premiering Sunday at 7/6c). In fact, Fieri says he has to watch himself on set of the new game show, which asks contestants to do perform seemingly simple — but actually difficult — tasks within one minute. "I really have to keep it in check. There are moments where I want to run right out there and put the ball in the thing for them or yell, 'Try your left hand!'" says the 42-year-old. Fieri spoke with TVGuide.com about his biggest influences, and why Minute to Win It is about to "take over."
TVGuide.com: Why did you want to do a game show?
Guy Fieri: I think anyone that grew up in the '70s and '80s grew up with Bob Barker and Wink Martindale and I think that was just always ... when you were a game show host, you were the man of the hour. I never in a million years would have believed this is the opportunity that I got, but knowing my personality, knowing my attitude and knowing my energy, I can't believe it's not one of the first things I ever did ... To be on the Food Network and then to get a call from NBC and get this opportunity has just been monumental, and especially a game show that fits me so well.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think Minute to Win It fits you so well?
Fieri: I am into this stuff, this is what I do. I'm a gamer. I can be sitting here with my son and we would be [playing similar games]. These are games you play at a bar, these are games you played in your classroom on a rainy day. When you love the competition, the opportunity to achieve at simple but challenging games, some people are really into it and I'm one of them.
TVGuide.com: How will this game show compare to some of the great game shows in pop culture?
Fieri: The one we most recently have in our mind and that had such a great host was Deal or No Deal. Howie Mandel is the real deal. For me, coming off the heels of that and knowing that some of the players from that team are now on the team for Minute to Win It, I think it's going to rock. I think it's going to become cultural. I think people are really going to embrace it ... For instance, my restaurant, Tex Wasabi's, we have a whole Minute to Win It challenge going on on Sundays already. The show hasn't even aired and they're already doing challenges where people are coming and participating. I think it's going to take over.
TVGuide.com: What is your favorite part about hosting?
Fieri: It's a combination of everything. The live audience and contestants that have a chance to win a million bucks is just an overwhelming feeling ... I think the common denominator of all my shows, particularly Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Minute to Win It, is these people. Whenever you get to change somebody's life or watch it and see it happen, it's amazing. These aren't Rhode Scholars, these aren't world class athletes, these are just all-American folks living the all-American dream, coming out to participate and game and maybe walk away with a million bucks. To be the facilitator or portal of that is my kind of game.
TVGuide.com: You've worked with former Double Dare host Marc Summers a number of times on the Food Network. Did he give you any advice for doing this show?
Fieri: Marc gave me great advice. Marc has been a mentor of mine ever since I started on TV and he was the host of the Next Food Network Star when I won. Marc was the first one to hand his number to me and say, 'If you need any help with this new venture in life, tell me.' So Marc's been huge. When I got this, Marc and I talked two or three times a week about what was going on. Of course, I am standing by to see what Marc thinks when he sees it. I call him Obi-Wan Kenobi and I am really interested to see what his perspective is on how I did.
Drew Carey was another great influence. I went and saw him do Price is Right and he kicked out some really good advice about being yourself, engaging the audience. So I felt really comfortable when I went out there. I knew where I was going, I knew the games front and back. I had a really good rundown of who my contestants were so I could have organic discussions with them. The awesome part of this is my producers let me do this, they let me play ball.