Shaun's new TV project(s) Feb 16, 2011 11:36:38 GMT 10
Post by Thrillho on Feb 16, 2011 11:36:38 GMT 10
Some news that will have you either punching the air or screaming to the Gods "ABOUT FREAKING TIME!"
Uncle Shaun's Nuthouse is GO!
Hot spell for Micallef
Colin Vickery From: National Features February 16, 2011 12:00AM
HAMISH Blake and Andy Lee may have slipped from Channel 10’s grasp, but the network can rest assured Shaun Micallef isn’t about to follow them out the door.
While Blake and Lee appear to have been lured by a big-bucks offer from Channel 9, Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation host Micallef is feeling so at home at Ten that he is developing a raft of comedy projects for the network.
First up is a live variety show. This year has already seen the debut of Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight and Micallef wants to join the party.
“I’m doing a pilot in July,” Micallef says. “Any variety show worth its salt is live. There’s a big taste for that at the moment.
“I’m also talking to Ten (about other projects). I think the relationship with Ten has been a good one and it would be nice to build on it.”
The move to Ten in 2009 to host Talkin’ has been a career-changer for Micallef.
Before then, the 48-year-old former motor-insurance lawyer was a cult figure who couldn’t buy a viewer on a commercial network.
SBS’s Newstopia and the ABC’s sketch show The Micallef Program won acclaim, but Micallef’s big venture into commercial television, Nine’s Micallef Tonight, was a ratings dud. All that changed with Talkin’, which was the perfect fit of pop-culture program, format and host.
There was an immediate rapport between Micallef and team captains Amanda Keller, Charlie Pickering and Josh Thomas.
Better yet, the surreal, free-wheeling lunacy that has made the show such a ratings success seems as if it is channelled directly from Micallef’s mind.
“This is the third year for a program which involves me, which is a cause for celebration,” says Micallef with trademark humility.
“I’m certainly a lot more relaxed on this show than I have ever been on anything.”
It is relaxation that is the key. For a long time people wondered if they would see the real Shaun Micallef.
Like one of his heroes, Peter Sellers, Micallef seemed to disappear into his comic characters.
Even when he hosted Micallef Tonight, which bore his name, he was “playing” himself rather than “being” himself. Talkin’ is the closest we’ve seen to the real Micallef.
“I remember my wife (Leandra) watching the show when it first came on and she said, ‘That’s the first time I’ve ever seen you laugh on television’, and that was after a 15-year comedy career,” he says with a smile.
So why did it take so long for Micallef to drop the mask and just be himself?
“Perhaps (the reason) I hid behind characters was (a fear of) ‘What if they don’t like me?’ ” says Micallef.
“I’ve done programs (playing characters) where the press have been damning, but that’s always been OK because no one ever said, ‘He’s a terrible person’.”
There is also the fact that Talkin’ isn’t Micallef’s baby.
This has taken a huge pressure off someone who is usually creating, producing, writing and sometimes directing his own projects. All care, no responsibility.
“It (Talkin’) is an easy show to run,” Micallef says. “I only have to read that (question) card and throw to a break. Everything else is me being me. Apart from introducing the guests, pretty much everything else is ad-libbed.”
Micallef’s image turnaround is so complete that he won last year’s Logie for Most Popular Presenter.
You have to think that part of the reason is that he has finally given people a glimpse of his true self. Now he has connected with the general public in a way that was unthinkable before Talkin’.
“I never thought I’d win a popular award or even be on a commercial network again (after Micallef Tonight),” he says. “You can’t help but be flattered by the fact that people like you.”
Uncle Shaun's Nuthouse is GO!