The Ker­ley ques­tions

As host of a new dat­ing show, James Ker­ley asks the hard ques­tions, writes Kylie Miller

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JTaken Out, PG Chan­nel 10, Mon­day, 7pm New dat­ing show Du­ra­tion: 30 min­utes AMES Ker­ley is the first to con­cede he’s no dat­ing ex­pert, but if his re­cent ef­forts are a mea­sure of his suc­cess, he’s do­ing pretty well.

Ker­ley’s most ro­man­tic dat­ing ges­ture was also his most suc­cess­ful— tak­ing his paramour out to din­ner then sweep­ing her away for sev­eral days in Broome for ‘‘a bit of ro­man­tic camel rid­ing, eat­ing food, walks’’. All on their sec­ond date. The lady was im­pressed and the re­la­tion­ship is go­ing strong.

‘‘I don’t know that I’m an ex­pert on dat­ing, but hope­fully in six months I’ll know a whole lot more,’’ says the Syd­ney-based host of new dat­ing for­mat Taken Out, which pre­mieres on Chan­nel 10 on Mon­day.

The show will be screened week­nights at 7pm, the times­lot pre­vi­ously re­served for other Ten for­mat shows in­clud­ing the poor-rat­ing Friends.

De­vel­oped by Fre­mantleMe­dia in France but be­ing pro­duced for the first time in Aus­tralia, Taken Out bor­rows el­e­ments from var­i­ous dat­ing and game shows.

The CEO of Fre­mantleMe­dia Aus­tralia, Mark Fen­nessy, says: ‘‘We are hop­ing for a big in­ter­na­tional for­mat.

‘‘We de­signed and built the set, we got the open­ing ti­tles pro­duced, we went out and found the 30 girls and guys and we went out and got James Ker­ley, and he was a very good get.

‘‘He was cau­tious about tak­ing it on, but when no one knows what it is, when it’s never ex­isted be­fore, it’s al­ways hard. It’s good tim­ing and the right kind of show for Ten.’’

Taken Out fea­tures a panel of 30 women, each with a light. A man is brought out and in­tro­duced to the women, who then de­cide whether to pro­ceed.

Those who are not in­ter­ested ex­tin­guish their light. ‘‘Ini­tially the girls have all the con­trol, so it’s a bit like re­al­ity in that sense,’’ Ker­ley says.

‘‘I’ll tell them some­thing about the guy — just a ba­sic bit of back­ground — and they can de­cide to turn their lights off. It all hap­pens quite fast, like speed dat­ing or in bars where you make your de­ci­sion fairly quickly.’’

The game gets spicy once Ker­ley starts ques­tion­ing the women about their de­ci­sion. What trig­gered the re­jec­tion? ‘‘That’s when I start stir­ring the pot with them. The guy is hear­ing re­ally what they think of them on na­tional telly,’’ Ker­ley says.

‘‘If all the girls re­ject the guy he goes home empty-handed, which can be fairly in­tense, and part of my role there is to lessen the blow to the poor fel­low. I’ll crack a beer with him maybe af­ter­wards.’’

But the man can also choose to re­ject any of the women who re­main.

‘‘I’ll def­i­nitely try to stir things up, but if it gets to the point where you can feel that some­one’s get­ting hurt we won’t push that line — peo­ple are frag­ile and you don’t want to go there,’’ Ker­ley says.

Though ini­tially re­luc­tant to take part in a TV dat­ing show, Ker­ley was won over by the show’s con­tem­po­rary slant.

‘‘Other dat­ing shows have had cheesy bits— ro­bots and peo­ple hid­ing be­hind doors. This is just a bunch of Aussies from all walks of life.’’

The se­ries will be filmed in Mel­bourne over 10 weeks, with Ker­ley squeez­ing in his host­ing du­ties with com­mit­ments to Chan­nel [V], in­clud­ing daily re­quest se­ries WhatUWant.

He has re­cently re­turned from Europe, where he at­tended two fes­ti­vals, Roskilde in Den­mark and Beni­cas­sim in Va­len­cia, for a new [V] travel se­ries B430 and hopes his other se­ries The Dave and Ker­ley Show, with Mel­bourne comic Dave Law­son, will re­turn next year, along with edgy quiz show CashCab, which he also hosts.

Taken with dat­ing:

James Ker­ley says he’ll ‘‘def­i­nitely try to stir things up’’ on Taken Out.

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