Ru­mour mon­grels

Kyle Sandi­lands can’t be­lieve the sto­ries about him, writes Siob­han Duck

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide -

AHEART at­tack, se­cret plas­tic surgery, a sui­cide at­tempt and even a plain old case of cold feet — when Kyle Sandi­lands was struck down by a res­pi­ra­tory virus and too sick to host two Big Brother evic­tion shows, the ru­mour mill went into over­drive.

And it didn’t take long for his many crit­ics to start call­ing for him to be axed from the show in favour of the re­place­ment Sandi­lands had hand-picked — Mike Gold­man.

They ar­gued Gold­man, who has been the voice of BB since it be­gan and the host of Fri­day Night Live for four years, was more qual­i­fied to host BB, had more chem­istry with co-host Jackie O and was gen­er­ally more lik­able than the acer­bic Sandi­lands.

Even O wasn’t spared the fall­out. She re­port­edly had a panic at­tack at the neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity and re­fused to do the duo’s ra­dio show with­out Sandi­lands, forc­ing pro­duc­ers to re­sort to play­ing a ‘‘by re­quest’’ pack­age.

Sandi­lands says most of what has been writ­ten about his ab­sence has been com­pletely false.

‘‘I have seen sto­ries say­ing in the past few weeks the rat­ings have gone up. Well, that’s bulls---, I know they’re ac­tu­ally down,’’ he says.

‘‘A lot of the rat­ings re­ports are bo­gus. I do not un­der­stand how if 1.1 mil­lion watch Big Brother it’s some­how the worst show on TV, but when 1.3 mil­lion watch So You Think You Can Dance it’s called a phe­nom­e­non that’s never been seen be­fore.

‘‘How can 200,000 make that much of a dif­fer­ence?’’

Sandi­lands’ re­turn to BB on June 15 ac­tu­ally saw the view­ing fig­ures climb from 813,000 to 1.01 mil­lion.

He ad­mits it had been an­noy­ing to have to re­as­sure his el­derly grand­mother that news­pa­per re­ports about his health had been wrong.

‘‘There were ru­mours I had a heart at­tack, that I had plas­tic surgery and that I had at­tempted sui­cide,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s not re­ally a con­cern for me but it’s an­noy­ing for my fam­ily be­cause they don’t know that it’s not true.’’

Reg­u­larly de­scribed as one of television and ra­dio’s most hated men, Sandi­lands is now ac­cus­tomed to crit­i­cism.

He once ag­o­nised over ev­ery neg­a­tive blog about him­self, but has fi­nally learned to ig­nore his crit­ics.

Now, as host of BB, he ac­knowl­edges he has know­ingly put him­self squarely in the fir­ing line for even more scathing press.

‘‘When I started Big Brother, the pro­duc­ers warned me that for some Big Brother, PG Chan­nel 10, week­days, 7pm Inside the house Du­ra­tion: 30 min­utes strange rea­son Gre­tel (Killeen) was al­ways crit­i­cised,’’ he says.

‘‘It didn’t mat­ter what she did she would get crap for what she wore, how she looked or what she said.

‘‘We seem to have caught the same dis­ease.

‘‘When Gre­tel was do­ing it peo­ple said ‘She’s ter­ri­ble, get some­one else’. Then we have a go and they say, ‘Who are th­ese two losers? Bring back Gre­tel’.’’

Sandi­lands says he knew that BB would be a huge un­der­tak­ing, with its suc­cess or fail­ure ul­ti­mately rest­ing on his shoul­ders.

He faced the same daunt­ing task when he stepped into the breach of Aus­tralian Idol when Ian ‘‘Dicko’’ Dick­son left the judg­ing panel.

Crit­ics pre­dicted Idol’s run was over then, and four years later it is poised to start yet an­other sea­son.

De­spite the dooms­day pre­dic­tions, Sandi­lands says he is con­vinced Ten re­mains com­mit­ted to BB and re­tain­ing him and O as its hosts next year.

‘‘From the dis­cus­sions we’re hav­ing now it seems to be com­ing back next year,’’ he says. ‘‘But I don’t think they would say half­way through that this was go­ing to be the last one. That would be a bit de­flat­ing for ev­ery­one work­ing on it.’’

Sandi­lands says he isn’t both­ered by calls for Gold­man to re­place him, say­ing it is pre­dictable there would be ‘‘Mike-lovers’’ out there.

‘‘I just know it’s im­pos­si­ble for Chan­nel 10 to do it (get rid of him) — it would cost them too much cash to get out of my con­tract,’’ he says.

‘‘But look, if they de­cide to do it, fair enough, I’ll eat hum­ble pie and cry all the way to the bank with my big cheque.’’

Though he has copped a lot of flak from the me­dia and view­ers for his work on BB, Sandi­lands says he does not re­gret sign­ing on with the show.

He has helped se­lect a more di­verse range of house­mates, vet­ted bor­ing video pack­ages and re­fused to do the usual weekly round of in­ter­views with the house­mates’ loved ones.

Ini­tially out­spo­ken on the need for an up­dated adults-only com­po­nent of BB this year, Sandi­lands wasn’t will­ing to host it.

He says the new adult show, Big Mouth, hosted by Tony Squires and Re­becca Wil­son, has not been risque enough. It is be­ing moved from 9.30pm to 10pm.

But over­all, Sandi­lands is happy with how BB has fared this year.

‘‘I think it’s been good, I think it’s a bet­ter show than it has been be­fore,’’ he says.

‘‘Peo­ple can say that it’s not do­ing well. But it’s only down 4 per cent — that’s not that big a deal.’’

Big Brother bother:

Kyle Sandi­lands and Jackie O. Most of the sto­ries about his ab­sence from Big Brother

are false, he says.

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