Di Bona: Next ‘AFV’ Host May Lean Younger #NYCTVWK #NextTV
New York—America's Funniest Home Videos creator and executive producer Vin Di Bona isn’t ready to reveal who will take over as host of the show after Tom Bergeron steps down at the end of the current and 25th season.
“I think maybe starting next April of May we’ll start talking about who might replace Tom,” Di Bona said in his opening keynote Q&A with B&C contributing editor Paige Albiniak Wednesday at the NYC Television Week NextTV Summit. “I don’t think anybody can replace Tom. He’s one of the most amazing hosts I ever worked with.”
But Di Bona did hint at what type of host might succeed Bergeron, who has been with the show since 2001. Albiniak asked specifically whether YouTube personality Shay Carl, who has collaborated in the past with America’s Funniest Home Videos on digital ventures, might be considered for the job. Di Bona did not rule it out. “I think we might have to look at even a new marketplace that is comfortable for our audience but that might be a new demographic, actually a younger demographic. It’s not going to be Justin Bieber, but it might be somebody who is closer to that age group or can bring in a new audience. We’re always wanting to strengthen what we have.”
Noting that both he and Bergeron started out in the business working at WBZ in Boston, DiBona — CEO of Vin Di Bona Productions and chairman of FishBowl Worldwide Media — compared the skills of the show’s current host to those of its original host, Bob Saget.
“The difference between Saget and Bergeron is Saget’s a comic,” Di Bona said. “A comic always wants to make sure that the last joke is a killer joke. That doesn’t always happen. Bergeron is a facilitator. He knows that his job is to make sure everyone has fun.”
Di Bona talked at length about the show’s evolution in the digital age. He noted that he now employs a social media staff of five to six people.
He also recounted how in the early days of online video sharing, he spent a great deal of time working to have videos from the show taken off sites on which they were not authorized to be. Now he has embraced web distribution, partnering with Maker Studios on the show’s YouTube channel.
“First they helped us with our channel,” Di Bona said. “They were able to help us with downloads and uploads, then monetizing.” Asked how effectively America’s Funniest Home Videos has been able to monetize that content through its deal with Maker, DiBona said, “There’s a percentage that I’m not willing to share. But we do get one.”
Di Bona also expressed optimism that the show could continue long in to the future.
“I’ve been in the studio and have had men and women come up to me and say, ‘I watched the show as I kid and now my kids watch it,’” he said. “That’s the sort of plateau that can keep us on the air. The show is evergreen.”
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.