CLEAN SWEEP

Ed­die McGuire on his scan­dal-free fo­cus and new-look Hot Seat

Herald Sun - Switched On - - FRONT PAGE - SHAN­NON MOL­LOY NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

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

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