Eddie McGuire on his scandal-free focus and new-look Hot Seat
Hot Seat host Eddie McGuire is getting used to landing himself in hot water.
And the Channel 9 presenter, football club president and breakfast radio host has found himself up to his neck in plenty of it over his 24-year career.
Shamed over the sacking or “boning” of former Today co-host now Studio 10 favourite Jessica Rowe; forced to apologise for comparing indigenous footballer Adam Goodes to an ape; and most recently joking about drowning sports reporter Caroline Wilson, McGuire’s foot has found his mouth more times than he’d care to remember.
But that doesn’t mean he enjoys the infamy — far from it, the veteran media identity says.
“When the firestorm is happening around you, it takes a toll. It’s pretty awful inside it, particularly if you’re being portrayed in a way that’s the opposite of how you act and think,” McGuire tells Switched On.
“That’s when you can get caught up in it all.
“It’s unpleasant, but that’s the way it goes sometimes when you’re a high-profile person.”
But with the promise of a fresh year ahead and on the back of an “incredible” family holiday to Cuba last month, he’s out the other side of those scandals and feeling better than ever.
Determined to keep the focus on his entertainment, sporting and charity work this year, McGuire is kicking things off with a revamp of Hot Seat, his long-running Channel 9 game show.
In a proactive move to wrestle back ratings lost to Seven’s The Chase, from January 23 Nine will extend Hot
Seat from a half-hour to a full hour weekdays, as well as introduce a few new twists to keep it interesting.
McGuire says: “The original Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
went for eight years, then we came back with this show eight years ago, so it’s the right time to give it a bit of a shake-up.”
Contestants will compete through two rounds of new Fastest Finger First, where hopefuls will be peppered with general knowledge questions.
The winner pockets $500 and scores a shot at the main prize of $1 million, but can then cash in their $500 for one of three lifelines: swap the question for a new one; ask a friend in the audience; or remove two incorrect answers from the final four.
“I’m really excited because it brings the best elements of both
Millionaire concepts together. There are more questions and a faster pace. And we give away a fair bit of money.”
Since its start in 2009, the show has splashed out more than $39 million.
McGuire takes pride in how the show has changed people’s lives, whether it’s paying off debt, being able to help a struggling loved one, taking a holiday for the first time or clearing the mortgage. “I remember at the height of the GFC we had this guy on, he did quite well, and later out the back he broke down.
“It turned out he was in a bad way and was planning to put the family home on the market that very next day ... then he won enough money to survive. He rang his wife and told her the good news. It was an emotional moment.”
Will the changes to Hot Seat see it fight back? McGuire hopes so.
“It’s been a wonderful ride and a fantastic show, and I hope it continues. People really enjoy it and I hope it stays that way.”
WATCH HOT SEAT, NINE, WEEKDAYS, 5.30PM (5PM FROM JANUARY 23)
“It brings the best elements of both Millionaire concepts together”
EDDIE MCGUIRE ON HOT SEAT CHANGES