The hosting role of Australian Survivor might seem like a dream role for a television personality, but it could also be a poison chalice. No one will compare in the minds of Survivor fans to Jeff Probst. However with Jeff locked into hosting the American version for the foreseeable future, we need to look at other candidates for the hosting position of Australian Survivor.
To do this I’ve considered who would make a great host of Australia’s local version. I’ve not included any American personalities as potential hosts. Australia needs to set its own path and direction for this show. The only potential Survivor who could host Australian Survivor is Richard Hatch. Hatch was a cultural phenomenon in this country when Borneo aired, and remains recognisable to a local audience, many who have not seen the show in over a decade.
I also strongly recognise this list is light in terms of female personalities to host this show. Many of the selections are based on rumours circulating around who Network Ten have been considering. I personally believe a female host would be terrific. I would not discount Network Ten having two hosts (a male and a female) as they have on many of their shows. Lets jump straight in at number 10.
10. Grant Denyer
V8 Racing Car driver and former Breakfast weatherman Grant Denyer is one of Australia’s most popular TV personalities. Since making the switch to Network Ten, Denyer has fronted the revamped and popular Family Feud. He has also hosted the Australian Spelling Bee with Chrissy Swan. Denyer has an enthusiastic, and charming personality and would be an interesting choice as host. I have doubts over his ability to ask probing questions at tribal council. He brings star power to the show and could be useful in drawing viewers to the new season.
9. Jamie Durie
This one is dusted off from the archives. An oldie, but a goodie. Jamie Durie was the face of Australian DIY in the early 2000’s as the host of Backyard Blitz and The Block. With mixed success in the American market, Durie has been relatively unseen on our screens this decade. During his time with Channel 9 he was a well-known and much respected TV personality. As the host of Australian Survivor he would bring instant credibility to the role, and potentially viewers who loved the former Manpower pin-up. He is best known as an environmentalist and the hook to a ‘casual’ audience in Australia, who have fond memories of Durie could be strong. He has the look of a Survivor host, is known for wearing blue shirts, and his experience hosting a reality television show can’t be understated. He was popular in the past for a reason. Given the right opportunity, he could be the best candidate amongst this group.
8. Alex O’Loughlin
Alex O’Loughlin is an Australian actor best known for his role in TV series reboot Hawaii Five-O and is a hotly talked about possibility as future host of Australian Survivor. A NIDA graduate, O’Loughlin has made his name on the screen internationally and would bring star power to the role of host. He has a strong presence on camera and in individual interviews presents himself in a commanding and authoritative manner. Physically he is the prototype of what a show like Survivor would be looking for. He is fit, handsome and at only 39 the right age to take on this role. He is the most unknown to an Australian audience on this list, but if the whispers circling around potential hosts are true, he is right in contention.
7. Shelley Craft
Highly unlikely as she is presently with Channel 9, but she has experience and personality that would do well as host of Australian Survivor. Craft has been on Australian screens for the best part of two decades, first hosting the now defunct Saturday Disney before taking on roles with Sunrise and The Great Outdoors as a travel reporter. Since making the jump over to Channel 9 in 2008 she has hosted Australia’s Funniest Home Videos, Domestic Blitz, co-hosted The Block and was the Saturday Showdown host of Australian Big Brother. At 39, Craft has one of the most impressive resumes on this list. With vast hosting experience, Craft could be a surprise host, who is instantly recognisable and could be a hit with local audiences.
6. Matt White
Matt White is a lesser-known Network 10 personality who would be elevated into prime time by becoming the host of Australian Survivor. Presently the face of the Networks motorsport coverage, White has been on Australian TV screens as the weekend host of Sports Tonight since 1993 until the early 2000’s. Jumping to Channel 7 in 2004, White hosted the Beijing Olympics coverage, and the V8 Supercar coverage when Channel 7 had the rights.
He also filled in as temporary host of Sevens morning flagship, Sunrise and hosted the east coast addition of Today Tonight. Competing and finishing second on Dancing with the Stars in 2009, White showed he could be charismatic and engaging to viewers. He most recently has appeared on The Project backfilling Waleed Ali. At 45, he has the authority, experience and ability to keep contestants honest at tribal council, and a proven ability to commentate at reward and immunity challenges.
5. Dr. Chris Brown
Dr. Chris Brown has become one of the Ten Networks biggest stars. Brown has become a star for the network with the hugely successful Bondi Vet series and the Living Room, he also makes regular appearances on Network Ten panel show The Project. Brown has everything Network Ten is reportedly looking for in a host. He is physically fit, intelligent and engaging with an audience.
Currently co-hosting I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here Australia, Brown has demonstrated he has the ability to front a successful network show. His name has regularly been mentioned as a possible host of this show and is reportedly interested in the role. With the reported gap in production between filming I’m and Celebrity and Survivor around a month, don’t be surprised if Dr. Chris Brown is announced as host of Australian Survivor.
4. Rove McManus
Did someone say Rove McManus? What The! Rove has been talked about heavily since the announcement mid November. While Rove has his detractors, his appeal to a broad Australian audience and success as a television personality cannot be understated. Network Ten will be hunting the ‘casual’ viewers and Rove brings a brand to any project he is involved with. Many cite Jeff Probst proclaiming in his preseason Cambodia ET Canada interview that Rove would be his ideal replacement.
Rove is also confirmed to have been in Cambodia on Survivor location during the concluding stages of Survivor: Cambodia in early July, 2015. Rove clearly is an Australian favourite. As host of Rove Live, Rove was regularly recognised as the number one television personality in the country winning multiple Gold Logie awards. Rove is a known fan of the show and has clear links to Jeff Probst. This relationship cannot be understated. Rove brings an unbelievable social media presence with over 723,000 twitter followers to promote the new show. For the best part of a decade, Rove was the face Network Ten, and with his return to Australia, this role could be the ideal way for Network Ten to reintegrate him into their line-up, while also promoting a show they are proclaiming as event TV. Don’t be surprised if Rove is announced as the host of the show.
3. Daniel McPherson
Daniel McPherson is a well-known television personality who burst onto Australian screens playing the role of Joel Samuels on television soap Neighbours in 1998. Moving to England in the early 2000’s, McPherson landed a role on hugely successful police series The Bill. Returning to Australia, McPherson hosted the X-Factor on Network TEN, and was praised for his efforts, despite low ratings for the show.
McPherson later moved across to the Seven Network where he had numerous acting positions before landing the hosting role of highly successful Dancing with the Stars from 2011-2014. Over the last year, McPherson has been focusing on his acting career including the recent release of his new series The Shannara Chronicles. He started 2016 co-hosting The Project while host Waleed Ali was on leave. McPherson is one of Australia’s most experienced television personalities. He would be highly successful in this role; the only question that remains would be whether he would take it.
2. James Mathieson
James Mathison the former co-host of top rated network show Australian Idol and Network Tens defunct breakfast program Wake Up. A known Survivor fan, Mathison has been fronting network shows for over a decade. After a strong showing as a contestant on Australian Celebrity Apprentice where he finished 4th, Mathison demonstrated his evolution from a 25 year old larrikin fronting Idol, to the more seasoned television veteran who would excel in a position like this one. Ten has shown it is willing to take a gamble on Mathison in the past placing him in significant network roles. With his former Idol co-host Osher Gunsberg hosting The Bachelor, this is another opportunity for Network Ten to place an established name in a key slot.
1. Grant Bowler
Grant Bowler is the ultimate selection as host of Australian Survivor. A personal favourite that has demonstrated over the years in similar roles he is the right man to front a show of this magnitude. I can already picture him as the Survivor host! An accomplished actor and reality TV host fronting Channel 7 reality shows The Mole and The Amazing Race, Bowler has demonstrated he is an articulate, stoic, and charismatic individual, with an ability to lead a major network show. Questions remain whether he would want to do this role, however at 47, the New Zealand born actor and presenter should be the first person Network Ten contact to be host of Australian Survivor.
Who do you think should be the host of Australian Survivor?
This article was originally posted on SurvivorOZ as I am a contributor over on that website as well.