Earle was the second host of the show, succeeding Allen Ludden, who left the show in 1962 to host Password. Earle hosted College Bowl during its entire National Broadcasting Company run, from 1962 to 1970. Veteran broadcaster (and Ithaca College media professor) Robert Earle had the same coloring and well-spoken manner as Allen Ludden.
Columnist Bob Stahl wrote in television Guide (January 25, 1964), "When Earle first took over the show.. a number of viewers noted his physical resemblance to Ludden.
Both are fairly short, have sandy hair, wear horn-rimmed glasses, and sound almost alike." According to Ludden"s wife Betty White (from her memoir Here We Go Again), the College Bowl producers deliberately emphasized the resemblance: "They took to Allen"s optometrist and ordered the same tortoiseshell frames that Allen wore at the time." The pleasant, unflappable Earle projected a calmer, more academic demeanor than Ludden had, which served the tone of the series well until 1970, when the series lapsed. (The sponsor thought it unwise to continue the series while student unrest was in the news)
After College Bowl, Robert Earle became a familiar face and voice in television commercials.
On the weekly Gadabout Gaddis program The Flying Fisherman, Earle represented the sponsor, Liberty Mutual Insurance. Earle hosted a game show pilot for American Broadcasting Company in 1975 called King of the Hill (not related to the popular Fox cartoon of that name).
The pilot did not sell, though its end game, "The Money Hill", would later be adopted by an unrelated game show that debuted three years later in 1978, Card Sharks.
In the early 1950s, Earle was also an announcer and news anchor for Utica, New York television station WKTV. After he left the station, he was replaced at the anchor desk by another up-and-coming television personality—Dick Clark.