THE CHASE: Brad Rutter on Stepping Up His Game in Season 2 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE CHASE: Brad Rutter on Stepping Up His Game in Season 2

June 25, 2021 by  

THE CHASE Brad Rutter

THE CHASE – “I Don’t Think We’ve Seen Anything Like That Before” – Brad “The Buzzsaw” Rutter takes his first turn as The Chaser in this race against the clock quiz show. Do three new players beat the chaser or get caught? “The Chase” airs SUNDAY, JUNE 27 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Raymond Liu)

On the Sunday, June 27 episode of THE CHASE, Brad “The Buzzsaw” Rutter gets his first season 2 showcase, as he faces off against three new contestants who are hoping to survive their head-to-head with him. If they manage to get through that, the remaining team members team up in the Final Chase, where they try to answer as many questions in a couple of minutes, with the hope that Rutter won’t be able to catch up.

But in addition to Rutter’s time on THE CHASE, he has quite the game show resume—he competed on JEOPARDY, off-on, for two decades, where he won more money (collectively) than anyone in the show’s storied history.

Ahead of Rutter’s first season 2 episode of THE CHASE, he talks about the changes to the show in its sophomore year, the question he got wrong that still eats at him, and more…

One of the biggest moves between seasons was adding Mark Labbett—AKA The Beast—to the season 2 group of Chasers. How did that impact the new season for you?
He’s sort of the original Chaser, so you always feel like you have to step your game up there. I actually met him back in the day when I was doing the pilot for a version of THE CHASE for Fox that didn’t get picked up. We shot it over in London, and he was very helpful to me, so it was good to see him again.

And, actually, just the fact that we have three of us in the lounge this year, it’s a lot easier. I think Ken had a good line, which is like last season it seemed like an awkward first date, but we still managed to get some funny stuff in there. But the comments were a lot more free-flowing this year, which is great.

You, Ken Jennings, and James Holzhauer have a long history together. How does adding in Mark, who is an icon in the game show world, but not someone you’ve spent as much time with, impact the dynamic in the lounge?
It’s happened very nicely. I think we’re all the same sort of competitive personalities. So I think that that’s kind of what made it work. Plus, he had some good Chaser tips after having done so many shows himself, which actually helped out, in terms of how much time to take on a Final Chase question when you might have a big lead or when to go in when you’re pressed for time. So that was helpful.

There were a few other tweaks made to the show, both with the money at stake in the initial round changing and the speed at which the questions were asked. How did it impact your game?
It just [made] the show a lot better and improved the flow. Because we were concerned that nobody [was taking a chance with a high offer in the head-to-head with the Chaser]—well, I think one person did go for the high offer last season, but only one—[and] more than one person went to the high offer this time. So that worked. And they had Sara going at a deliberate pace last year, too, so they let her speed up and get as many questions as she could out there, which is great. I think I saw somebody said, if the team got to 16 in the Final Chase, they were just like, “Oh, well, The Chaser has no chance now.” And that is no longer the case. If the team does well, they can get over 20. And then obviously it’s the same for us. So it’s I think it’s a lot more exciting.

Outside of the shifts within the game, how did your own approach change in season 2?
I think I probably had a little more fun with it this season. Just feeling more comfortable with the format, and just knowing that I can handle the questions. It’s more the interstitial stuff and sort of banter with Sara that came a lot easier this year.

In other competitions you’ve done, you’re a bit more on equal footing. With this, where you’re essentially playing for pride and the contestants are playing for possibly life-changing sums of money, is there a special mindset you have to get into to compete?
Well, the federal government sort of takes care of that for us: If we were to not do our best, we might find ourselves under investigation. So that sort of helps with any moral dilemma. But I don’t really rejoice in catching anyone, especially if they’re fun. There’s a lot of people where it’s sad to see them go, where I’d rather have them around longer. But, also, they know what they’re getting into, too. We’re the pros, and it’s gonna be tough. I think for the contestants, it’s probably just as much of a competitive thing as having anything to do with money, too.

Another thing, too, and I think James really proved this on JEOPARDY, which is part of being an elite competitor is that you don’t treat the money as real until it’s in your pocket. It’s all just a number on a board until something happens to make it real.

As you filmed the show, was there any kind of prep or research you did specifically for this show? Or do you just trust you know what you need to know?
For the most part, I trust the knowledge. But then again, I’m getting into [fakes coughing] middle-age now. I do have to keep up with the current pop charts, and stuff like that. I did a lot of Olivia Rodrigo research, because I wouldn’t know that.

We were taping just this past month, and they already had Oscar questions from this year, which was pretty impressive. So, yeah, they stay pretty current.

Without spoiling anything, is there a question you’ve gotten wrong that still haunts you?
It was in the lounge, fortunately, so it didn’t really matter. But there was a question about Meek Mill, which I did not get, and I think they’ll probably have to revoke my Philly card now. I hope they don’t show that, actually.

To follow up on that, do you feel comfortable telling the producers if something is said in the lounge you don’t want to make it to air? Or do you just assume everything in there is fair game?
They don’t have to listen to me, but if there’s something in the lounge that’s like, “Hey, I think that really worked,” I will let them know. So we’ll see if they listen to me. I feel like I can throw some weight around at this point.

Looking to the future, do you want more Chasers to be added? Or do you feel like four is the right balance?
Either way is fine with me you know I think it would be fun to add some more people. I’m not going to mention any names that I want, not to leave anybody out, but there are some people I can think of who I think would be good. The British show, I think they’re up to seven now? It’s different because they’re on every day over there. But the more the merrier. I think it would be nice to get some more people in.

Was there a particular Chaser who impressed you the most this season?
Everybody was so impressive. We all took our game to a new level from last time, so I don’t know whether that’s just being comfortable up there or what—hard work and studying the Spotify Top 10. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the first season was great, but I think this one is much improved so it’s gonna be even better.

Like I told Vin [Rubio], our executive producer, it was like sliding back into a warm bath, which just felt very comfortable. I think that’s probably true for at least Ken and James and me. And I’m sure for Mark, too, because he’s been doing it for so long in England. So it was just great. We got most of the same crew back, and just kept that same dynamic rolling, and made it even better. It was even more fun than it was last time.

THE CHASE, Sundays, 9/8c, ABC


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