Poker News Daily can independently confirm that former World Poker Tour (WPT) and “Poker After Dark” hostess Shana Hiatt will not reprise her role on GSN’s “High Stakes Poker.” Instead, it appears that Kara Scott will be signed.
According to Hiatt’s publicist, Creative Management Entertainment Group, the former WPT hostess will not join the cast of “High Stakes Poker.” Hiatt has been taking care of her one year-old child and traveling the world with her husband, Todd Garner. Hiatt was one of the original voices of the game for much of today’s poker playing population, joining Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten on Travel Channel broadcasts. Hiatt departed the WPT scene in 2005.
Hiatt formerly appeared on NBC’s “Poker After Dark” and “National Heads-Up Poker Championship.” Both are franchises of Poker PROductions, the Mori Eskandani-led outfit that also produces “High Stakes Poker.” Consequently, many in the industry believed that Hiatt would sit alongside former “Welcome Back, Kotter” star Gabe Kaplan in the Season 6 “High Stakes Poker” broadcast booth. Poker PROductions is in the midst of preparing the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Europe Main Event for airing on cable station ESPN in early 2010.
Former host A.J. Benza, whose dismissal by GSN executives sparked a considerable amount of controversy, noted in a blog post that the next “High Stakes Poker” host would actually be a hostess. In a post authored by Kaplan on Friday, the ousted host explained, “I hope the chick they get to do some table interviews during the three-days of play at the Golden Nugget really, truly compliments and adds a great dose of comedy that was apparently lacking up in the booth manned by Gabe Kaplan. Does GSN realize they have apparently copied ‘Poker After Dark,’ the show that feels like a marriage between a Xanax and a Valium?”
On a Mediocre Poker Show podcast, Benza fingered Scott as his replacement. Scott is a sponsored PokerStars player and has taken on commentary duties for European Poker Tour (EPT) events. She finished in the top 250 in both the 2008 and 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Events and won the PartyPoker Sports Stars Challenge in early 2008 for £26,000. She is fresh off hosting the PokerStars.net Ante Up for Africa tournament that aired on CBS and was filmed during April’s EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final in Monaco.
Poker PROductions and GSN officials could not comment on who would be the next host of “High Stakes Poker” because contract negotiations are ongoing. A GSN representative told Poker News Daily, “We can’t announce the new co-host until his/her deal has been signed and finalized, which hasn’t happened yet.”
In threads on Full Contact Poker, site front man Daniel Negreanu, a member of Team PokerStars Pro, commented, “I like how a guy says he’s 99% sure it’s Vanessa [Rousso] when I’m actually 100% sure it’s not! It’s not Amanda [Leatherman] or Lacey [Jones] or Tiffany [Michelle] either. It’s not an actress either. I can tell you who it isn’t but can’t tell you who it is. Fun game for me!” Negreanu also reinforced that the next hostess is not Hiatt, Sabina Gadecki, Kimberly Lansing, or Jennifer Harman. Poker News Daily can also independently confirm that Leatherman will not be the considered, although she told us she’s love the opportunity. PokerStars will sponsor “High Stakes Poker” for Season 6.
The show is set to begin filming its next cycle in November from Las Vegas. Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest on the search for the next “High Stakes Poker” host.