Ensemble Show: Roles And Casting


(By Randy Lane) We’ve written extensively about hosts and cohosts roles, but what about 3rd, 4th, and 5th mic roles? Aside from the traditional two-player show, three-player shows are a prevalent show design that exemplifies the Rule of 3.

Three-host shows typically come in two forms:

  • Two-player shows with a 3rd mic
  • Three-player shows with equal mic time
Two-player shows with a 3rd mic:

A good example of this design is i-Heart’s syndicated Brooke and Jeffrey in the Morning with Jose as the 3rd mic. Brooke and Jeffrey have approximately 80% of the mic time, while Jose adds ethnicity, laughs in the background, hosts some features, and occasionally chimes in on conversations.

Three-player shows:

There are several three-player shows with equal mic time such as George, Mo, and Cowboy Dave at 100.3 The Bull Houston. Three contrasting players enable shows to appeal to greater demographic and gender diversity.

Ensemble cast shows:

One caution: Too many players popping in on conversations can make a  show hard to follow. It takes a masterful host to direct traffic and spin conversations inclusively with four, five, or six on-mic players. Elvis Duran in the Morning and The Bert Show are two examples of hosts who can pull it off.

Ensemble roles and casting:

Unless you’re hosting a feature, the role of all cohosts regardless of mic order is to be a good reactor and move discussions forward.

The goal in casting 3rd mic roles and beyond is to fill a show or target audience void. When Jeff Dauler left The Bert Show, Bert hired comedian Moe Mitchell to provide more laughs. It gets down to what type of character the show needs and what they bring to the table.

What dimension is your show missing? Does your show need a player who adds:

  • Comedy
  • A young perspective
  • A single or married viewpoint
  • A married with kids’ element
  • A lightning rod dimension
  • A foil
  • Edge
  • A voice of reason
  • A nerd perspective
  • A Hispanic or African American viewpoint
  • Out of studio audio
  • Randy Lane launched his media talent coaching and personal brand development company in 1996. He can be contacted by phone at 805.231.5746 or email at [email protected].


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