Bourne laugh­ing

A co­me­dian walks into a barre … Shane Bourne joins Danc­ing with the Stars, writes Colin Vick­ery

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

Daniel MacPher­son stunned the TV world in May when he an­nounced that he was quit­ting as host of Danc­ing with the Stars, but there was one per­son who wasn’t sur­prised — Ed­wina Bartholomew.

MacPher­son had just starred in sci-fi film In­fini and be­come en­gaged to long-time ac­tor girl­friend Zoe Ven­toura when he made his shock de­ci­sion.

“I’ve worked hard to rein­vig­o­rate my act­ing ca­reer and I’m fo­cused on that 100 per cent,” MacPher­son says.

“Ed­die (Ed­wina) will have to find a new co-host.”

Bartholomew reck­ons she pretty much knew a year ago that MacPher­son was go­ing to pull the pin af­ter seven sea­sons of the Chan­nel 7 dance show.

“I sus­pected at the end of last sea­son that Dan wasn’t go­ing to come back,” Bartholomew says.

“He was film­ing a new movie at the time and had just signed on to a big pro­ject in New Zealand, and I know he was su­per-keen to fo­cus on his movie ca­reer.

“It was on the cards for months, and he had done the job for seven years, so it was time for him to fo­cus on be­com­ing a big Hol­ly­wood megas­tar.”

This isn’t the first time Danc­ing with the Stars has un­der­gone a sig­nif­i­cant change. Orig­i­nal host Daryl Somers quit in 2007. In 2011, co-host So­nia Kruger jumped ship to host Big Brother on ri­val Nine.

Big changes can ei­ther re­fresh or sink a show. Kruger’s re­place­ment, for­mer Spice Girl Mel B, was widely panned and only lasted one sea­son.

Bartholomew took over in 2013 and was an im­me­di­ate hit. The 31-year-old, who also presents weather on Sunrise, quickly de­vel­oped an easy rap­port with MacPher­son.

That made Seven’s de­ci­sion about who would fol­low MacPher­son ab­so­lutely cru­cial.

Get it wrong and it could be cur­tains.

“I was re­ally ner­vous as to who they (Seven) would choose to put in that role be­cause Dan did such a won­der­ful job,” Bartholomew ad­mits. En­ter Shane Bourne. The 65-year-old co­me­dian had been largely ab­sent from TV screens since Nine’s ill-fated 2012 drama Tricky Busi­ness.

But Bourne had form. He had hosted four sea­sons of mon­ster hit Thank God You’re Here on Ten and Seven. He also spent six years telling jokes on Somers’ va­ri­ety show Hey Hey It’s Satur­day.

Media an­a­lyst Steve Allen reck­ons Bourne is a great choice. He could give Danc­ing with the Stars a rat­ings boost.

“Danc­ing with the Stars’ au­di­ence skews to the 55-plus age group so Daniel was prob­a­bly cho­sen as host to try and at­tract a younger au­di­ence but that was al­ways a bit of a stretch,” Allen says.

“Shane is a bet­ter fit. He will add a new di­men­sion to the show with his comedic back­ground, act­ing skills and dry wit.”

Bourne de­scribes his de­ci­sion to take on the host­ing role as more a lifestyle choice than a ca­reer choice.

He was tired of the grind of long-form weekly drama.

“As you get older, you get a lit­tle bit more se­lec­tive,” Bourne says. “I’d had a num­ber of TV of­fers and gone pretty close to say­ing yes and sign­ing on the dot­ted line, and then think­ing, do I re­ally want to do that?.

“When this came up, it was like a light went on. The show’s live, there’s a band, danc­ing, a few laughs, and it is one night a week.”

So has Bourne had a con­grat­u­la­tory phone call from Somers given the Hey Hey It’s Satur­day and Danc­ing with the Stars con­nec­tion?

“No, but I re­mem­ber see­ing Daryl at the Lo­gies af­ter he fin­ished up as host and him say­ing, ‘You should be do­ing this.’ I was do­ing Thank God You’re Here and City Homi­cide at the time. Funny how it has turned out.”

MacPher­son isn’t the only exit on Danc­ing with the Stars. The show has lost judge Adam Gar­cia — wife Nathalia Chu­bin is ex­pect­ing the cou­ple’s first child in Septem­ber.

The judg­ing panel is back to three — Todd McKen­ney, He­len Richey, and Kym John­son — with guest ap­pear­ances by over­seas favourite Bruno To­nioli.

To com­bat the changes, Seven has gone all out to en­sure rat­ings suc­cess by sign­ing prob­a­bly the best ros­ter of con­tes­tants for some years.

Seven’s The Morn­ing Show host Larry Em­dur will hit the dance floor along­side Bach­e­lor Tim Ro­bards, chart top­per John Paul Young, Par­a­lympian Kelly Cartwright, for­mer weather pre­sen­ter Emma Freedman, My Kitchen Rules con­tes­tant Ash Pol­lard, model Sa­man­tha Harris, NRL cham­pion Mat Rogers, Olympic diver Matt Mitcham, as well as AFL star Jude Bolton and wife Lynette.

“This show is all about the con­tes­tants,” Bourne says. “They’re the ones putting them­selves on the line. It is sim­i­lar to Thank God You’re Here in that sense. A lot of con­tes­tants are go­ing into un­known ter­ri­tory. “It is fish out of wa­ter.” Bartholomew’s pun­ish­ing travel sched­ule for Sunrise means she and Bourne have had lit­tle time to get to know

one another. The pair met for the first time at the Switched On photo shoot and won’t get too many more op­por­tu­ni­ties be­fore the first show.

“When they told me it was Shane I was thrilled,”

“The show’s live, there’s a band, danc­ing, a few laughs, and it is one

night a week”

SHANE BOURNE COULDN’T SAY NO

Bartholomew says. “He is funny. He is so ex­pe­ri­enced. I think he will bring that old-school va­ri­ety flavour to the show.

“I’m go­ing to have to be on my com­edy toes this sea­son or he’ll steal all the punch­lines.

“I’ll be left with noth­ing.”

DANC­ING WITH THE STARS, CHAN­NEL 7, SUN­DAY, 7PM

Ed­wina Bartholomew with new co-host Shane Bourne (main) and (be­low) with for­mer col­league Daniel MacPher­son.

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