Posted May 13, 2013

With intense focus, SMC grad set sights on career as a game show host

Ethan Schwartz
As a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, Brian Schwartz became fixated on game shows. Now 30, he is graduating with a degree in media studies and production and stakes claim to being Temple University Television's first game show host.

At 11 years old, Brian Schwartz learned a new term: “Asperger’s syndrome.” 

The South Philly native’s doctor explained to him that it was a disease that caused people to have an intensely narrow focus, eccentric behavior and more. 

“As soon as I heard what it was all about, I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s definitely me.’”

As a child, Schwartz became fixated on game shows. From Bob Barker to Wink Martindale, he learned all about this exciting television niche.

Now 30, Schwartz is graduating with a degree in media studies and production and stakes claim to being TUTV’s first game show host.

Schwartz created and hosted “Tell All,” a game that challenges contestants to say all they know about a particular subject to try to match a list of key words. The winners, of course, leave with a fabulous prize.

Schwartz’s journey to graduation was marked with challenges, but “that just motivated me more to do well.”

Following high school, he started at the Community College of Philadelphia, where he completed his first two years’ worth of credits from 2004 to 2010 — for someone with Asperger’s, managing the demands of a fully loaded semester of classes can be quite a mountain to climb, said Schwartz. 

“I try to stay focused on one thing at a time,” he said. “I’m getting better at multitasking, but it’s not easy for me.”

He transferred to Temple’s School of Media and Communication in 2010. “I was asking around: ‘What’s the best place for a television career?’ And everybody was saying, ‘Temple. Temple. Temple,’” he recalled. “I personally think that Temple’s been the best thing that has happened to me. I’ve gotten to work with some of the nicest people; not just professors, but also people over at TUTV. They’re really in my corner and I’m under their wing. They’re willing to do whatever they can to help me fly.”

And as Schwartz heads out into the world to seek a job in television production (“Unless, I’m really, really, really lucky I’m not going to get the game show gig right away.”), he’s fully prepared to play the hand he’s been dealt.

“I don’t think it’s a liability,” he said. “In fact, whenever I’m out of here and have to do a whole bunch of interviews, I don’t know if the point of Asperger’s is going to come up. But I will mention many, many times that I have a narrow focus, that I won’t stop until the job’s done and that it bothers me when I can’t find a solution. I will not stop, I will not give up until I can find that solution.”

— Jeff Cronin