Chris Harrison discusses hosting 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire'

NEW YORK -- Chris Harrison has followed the traditional advice to "just be yourself" which, as anyone who has even done this business can tell you, is a lot harder than it looks.

And, after a quarter century of trying, the host says it has been only recently that he feels comfortable.

Chris Harrison has been asking "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" for three seasons now.

But, his desire to do this began a long time ago in Texas.

"I did not come from a family that was in this business," he said. "The furthest thing from it. So, I didn't realize that was an option in life."

His desire to become a T.V. host began in high school.

"I wanted to be in the talent show, but I didn't want to perform a talent," he said. "I actually wanted to M.C. it, and I did back in high school. I wanted to be on stage, and I relished that and I enjoyed it, but I wasn't an actor. I didn't enjoy acting."

His alma mater, Lake Highlands High School located in Dallas, is where Chris found hosting that talent show came easy.

"And, my thought was: 'Look, if you do a performance, you're onstage for like a minute, and then you're off and you're done for the night," he said. "If you're the M.C., you're on all night!'"

He was not that confident.

"I thought, 'I wonder if I'll ever have a girlfriend. I wonder if anyone will ever kiss me,'" he said.

But he still drew inspiration from watching the likes of Bob Barker and Richard Dawson.

"I've always been drawn to those who make people feel easy. They make me feel easy and comfortable at home, and I notice how comfortable they make the guest feel," he said. "And I think I've always gravitated towards that and become that type of host."

Harrison became great at it by following one rule.

"Oftentimes, the best question I've ever asked is just silence," he said.

Silence on T.V. can be deadly, and the natural desire of any host is to fill that silence.

What I have learned from watching Chris Harrison is the value of taking the beat and listening to what a contestant has to say.

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire" airs every weekday afternoon at 2 P.M. right here on ABC7.