ONTO A WIN­NER

MTV bad boy Dar­ren McMullen looks set to bring a lively edge to Seven’s new game show. Guy Davis had a few min­utes with the host of Minute to Win It.

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McMullen ad­mits to be­ing quite pleased at be­ing re­garded as one of the nice guys at his new net­work. “ I’m ac­tu­ally quite well­be­haved,” he said with a laugh.

Not only that, he’s clearly an am­bi­tious chap as well – af­ter all, he’s reg­u­larly com­mut­ing be­tween Aus­tralia and the US as he both de­vel­ops new tele­vi­sion projects and scouts for new pre­sent­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

In fact, he had ba­si­cally re­lo­cated to Los An­ge­les, hav­ing signed with pres­ti­gious tal­ent agency Wil­liam Mor­ris, when he got the news that he’d won the job of host­ing Minute to Win It, the lo­cal ver­sion of the hit US show.

McMullen, who em­i­grated to Aus­tralia nearly 20 years ago but still re­tains his na­tive Scot­tish brogue, had been dis­cussing pos­si­ble projects with Seven and pro­duc­tion com­pany Shine when Minute to Win It en­tered the mix.

At first, how­ever, McMullen was only aware that the pos­si­bil­ity of host­ing a game show was on the ta­ble, and he wasn’t ex­actly thrilled by the idea.

“ Once I got a look at the con­cept, though, and found out it was Minute to Win It, I was thrilled be­cause I’d seen it be­fore in Amer­ica and I’d loved it,” he said. “ It’s ba­si­cally Who Wants to Be a Mil­lion­aire for frat boys, and I said to them ‘ This isn’t a game show, this is bril­liant!’”

The set-up of the com­pe­ti­tion is fairly straight­for­wad, ac­cord­ing to McMullen.

“ The ob­ject of the game is that you’re given 10 dev­il­ishly sim­ple chal­lenges, each one last­ing one minute. And once you’ve passed a chal­lenge, you move on to the next one. Com­plete all 10 and you win your­self a mil­lion bucks.

“ You get a thou­sand dol­lars if you win the first chal­lenge, and it goes up in­cre­men­tally from there un­til it reaches $ 50,000 at level five. And then the games get harder and harder, and the prize money goes up quite sig­nif­i­cantly un­til the fi­nal round.”

So how “ dev­il­ishly sim­ple” are these chal­lenges? Well, they range from Hanky Panky, which has the con­tes­tant try­ing to empty a box of tis­sues in 60 sec­onds us­ing only one hand, to Speed Eraser, which sees the con­tes­tant at­tempt­ing to bounce seven pen­cils into seven glasses us­ing the eraser on the end of each pen­cil.

Hav­ing al­ready shot a com­plete run of Minute to Win It, McMullen is im­pressed by the qual­ity of the play­ers so far.

“ We’ve had peo­ple come in who were al­most pen­ni­less and they

Good medicine: Edie Falco ( right) and new­comer Tay­lor Schilling ( inset) are just what the doc­tor or­dered. Short and sharp: Con­tes­tants try their hand at de­cep­tively sim­ple chal­lenges.

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