TV’s un­like­li­est hit

One year into host­ing Fam­ily Feud, Grant Denyer has never felt bet­ter

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

GRANT Denyer is sit­ting on some se­ri­ous coin.

As the host of wildly suc­cess­ful game show Fam­ily Feud – cel­e­brat­ing its fi rst year back on air this week – Denyer is mar­vel­ling at the good for­tune which has come his way. Namely, the black mar­ket which has emerged on eBay for the pro­gram’s spin- off board game.

“I get hit up for it all the time,” he tells TV Guide. “It’s a form of cur­rency. If I get a plumber to come to my house, I can pay with a board game. He’ll ig­nore a $ 150 bill, if I just give him a board game.”

Which is only a slight ex­ag­ger­a­tion, with the play- at- home va­ri­ety of the quiz selling out four times over in stores and com­mand­ing about $ 100 a pop on some online auc­tion sites.

Even Denyer is sur­prised at “this whirl­wind, this frenzy” which has fol­lowed the show’s retro re­vival on Chan­nel Ten.

“The thing that re­ally chuff s me is the fact peo­ple come up to me and go, ‘ Thank you so much for mak­ing a TV show we can sit down and all watch to­gether’. And that’s kind of re­ally sweet,” Denyer says. “I feel more love from this than any­thing I’ve ever made, which is quirky be­cause it’s just a game show. I didn’t ex­pect it to make me as proud as I am.”

Denyer con­cedes he had to get over the fact “it’s just a game show” when tak­ing on the role be­cause he thought “no one ever gives you credit for host­ing a game show”.

The skill, the show’s es­teemed ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Pam Barnes ar­gues, is mak­ing it look easy.

Of Denyer, Barnes, whose cred­its in­clude Hey Hey It’s Satur­day and Aus­tralia’s Got Tal­ent, says: “He re­ally has a fab­u­lous energy and warmth that peo­ple re­late to im­me­di­ately. He gets on set be­fore we start record­ing ev­ery episode and he just puts ev­ery­one at ease.”

Denyer agrees the au­di­ence has re­warded him for not tak­ing him­self so se­ri­ously.

“It’s re­ally easy to overdo these shows, but a viewer loves it when you em­brace your silli­ness and own it, rather than pre­tend­ing you may be the great­est tele­vi­sion show on the planet,” he says. “It’s got won­der­ful hon­esty.” While other shows may give away more cash, Denyer says: “Our fam­i­lies win $ 10,000 and party like they’ve won half a mil­lion.”

On a per­sonal level, Denyer has found the work/ life bal­ance he des­per­ately needed af­ter an ex­haust­ing stint on the road as Seven’s Sunrise weather guy.

Af­ter seven years of pre- dawn starts, the 37- year- old for­mer mo­tor rac­ing driver was run­ning on empty.

Now, liv­ing on a small farm in Bathurst, NSW, with wife Ch­eryl and daugh­ter Sailor [ their sec­ond child is due later this year], Denyer is hap­pi­est play­ing farmer Grant.

“I’ve al­ways lived life fl at knacker ... just pedal to the me­tal ... do­ing way too much. I’ve learned to fi nd a bet­ter bal­ance and Ten’s been su­per good help­ing me do that.

“I’ve had to re­ally learn how to re­lax be­cause I’ve al­ways been the per­son who squeezed more juice out of the or­ange than is in there.”

He adds: “Be­cause I’m re­freshed, stronger, health­ier and hap­pier, I’m defi nitely host­ing the best I’ve ever hosted. Laugh­ing through your work day is an awe­some priv­i­lege.”

FAM­ILY FEUD

SUN­DAY- FRI­DAY, 6PM, TDT

Cam­era ready: Fam­ily Feud host Grant Denyer gets prepped for record­ing.

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