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The ‘Check’ List: David Manilow is on the hunt for a new host

David Manilow

David Manilow

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Updated: January 30, 2013 9:04PM

Last Wednesday, “Check, Please!” announced that host Alpana Singh is leaving our weekly television show after 10 wonderful years.  

She’s definitely going to be tough to replace, but there’s a long line of Chicagoans who feel they’re up to the task. More than 200 folks have contacted me thus far, and we’re open to just about any person who has the right attributes. We’ll look at every submission and audition tape, so if you think you have what it takes to sit at the head of the table, please sign up at

I’ve been asked over and over again about what I’m looking for in a host. To illustrate, I’m going to use Fredo, my new puppy and our official “Check, Please!” mascot.


• He looks good on camera.

• He’s warm, friendly, inclusive and generally a joy to be around.

• He’s smart and intuitive.

• He’s not judgmental — an important part of the “Check, Please!” brand, because the only reviews on the show come from an ever-changing trio of regular Chicagoans.

• He has fairly strong food knowledge, especially regarding chicken, rice, eggs, kibble and assorted treats.  


• He has no expertise in beer, wine and spirits.

• He has limited knowledge of the Chicago restaurant scene.

• He doesn’t speak (although he has a robust bark).

• He’s a dog. 

I think it’s pretty clear that Fredo’s cons outweigh his pros. Although he could be a short-term ratings driver, I think that he’d break viewers’ hearts over time by not really contributing a whole lot — he’s got a lot of great attributes, but c’mon, I’m not even sure he knows what a mixologist is.

I’m confident our actual search for a host will be filled with an array of fantastic possibilities. We’ll do the best we can to continue our authentic exploration of Chicago and our diverse, wonderful restaurants.

David Manilow donated his fee for writing this column to

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