Seven days of TV viewing
‘‘ WHEN we first started I did not think I’d be getting wedding invitations in the mail and there’d be farmer babies,’’ Natalie Gruzlewski is saying. It’s deep into season eight of The Farmer Wants a Wife and she’s talking about a series she has an enduring romantic relationship with, one that began during a severe drought and somehow survived.
‘‘ And there’s love in this series, too,’’ Gruzlewski says. ‘‘ Not infatuations, there’s the real deal. I know what’s happened and who’s still together and it’s looking really promising. I think one of our biggest love stories has come out of this series.’’
She’s more than qualified to make this statement. And not just because she’s been host since it began in 2007.
Gruzlewski ( pictured) can reel off facts about this show.
‘‘ I know them [ stats]. There are five babies,’’ she says in a flash. ‘‘ I remember all of them [ couples] and I stay in touch with a lot of them as well.’’ How in touch? ‘‘ With Rob and Jo, they text me all the time, give me a call and send through images of their little girl. I spoke to Damien from Tasmania a little while back. Chris and Kim from series one, Devon and Kev . . . all of them, really.’’
Has she been to any of the weddings? ‘‘ I have. Nathan and Amanda in Perth and Chris and Kim’s. They’ve since had another little baby.’’
So, clearly, her role goes beyond host now.
‘‘ I’m definitely like their mate,’’ she says. ‘‘ They see me as a bit of a mentor. I’ve been involved from the beginning, so we form a good friendship. I just offer advice where possible. I don’t even know if I offer them the right advice half the time.’’
She says the guys go to her behind the scenes a lot.
‘‘ Absolutely. It’s overwhelming, especially the first day with all the speed dates,’’ she says. ‘‘ It’s exciting and they are exceptionally brave for being part of the show.’’
She has a lot of theories about why the show works (‘‘ Love is something we can all relate to. It’s feelgood television, it’s therapy. What you see is what you get.’’) and for someone working on a dating show she is remarkably uncynical about the process.
‘‘ There’s certainly a few girls who’ve shown up for their five minutes of fame but they don’t last,’’ she says.
‘‘ And they are genuine guys, there for the right reasons, not playing games, invested in finding a wife. This is a huge opportunity.’’
Gruzlewski, in her mid- 30s and with a 13- year career in television, has been publicly linked to only two men – her former husband, prosurfer Luke Egan, and her current partner, Gold Coast property developer Jack Ray. She attracted unwelcome publicity several months ago when Ray’s name became entangled with Lara Bingle’s, but Gruzlewski, known for her relaxed, coy nature, has been able to navigate the choppy waters of a life of celebrity with a steady hand.
‘‘ I just choose to keep my private life just that, private,’’ she says.
But it’s tempting to wonder where Gruzlewski might be if she’d perhaps played the game a bit harder.
‘‘ I’m really happy. Nine has presented me with plenty of opportunities over the years. I’m filing lifestyle stories for news, my weather reports for Nine News in Sydney. I’m still on the road with Getaway and Farmer so I’m kept quite busy and I’m loving where I am right now.’’ THE FARMER WANTS A WIFE, WIN, Wednesday, 8pm