Gold dig­gers

The Big Ad­ven­ture was as much of a leap of faith for host Ja­son Dundas as the con­tes­tants, writes COLIN VICK­ERY

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - TV GUIDE -

NO WON­DER Ja­son Dundas is ex­cited. At the end of The Big

Ad­ven­ture he is go­ing to tell one of the show’s con­tes­tants: “You have just won $1 mil­lion.”

Chan­nel 7’s new re­al­ity show comes from the cre­ators of My

Kitchen Rules and House Rules but it doesn’t re­sem­ble those pro­grams.

In­stead, The Big Ad­ven­ture is a mash-up of Sur­vivor with The Hunger Games, In­di­ana Jones, The Amaz­ing Race, Wipe­out and even It’s a Knock­out.

A dozen Aussies on a se­cret South Pa­cific is­land face a se­ries of tor­tur­ous team and in­di­vid­ual chal­lenges. Con­tes­tants who win the chal­lenges get the chance to dig for a guar­an­teed $1 mil­lion in a spe­cially de­signed Trea­sure Grid which looks like the ru­ins of a Mayan tem­ple.

The show’s hero el­e­ment is the mam­moth Sky Rig – a sta­dium sus­pended over wa­ter – where all the team chal­lenges take place. It looks like some­thing out of Kevin Cost­ner’s Water­world.

When com­peti­tors first ar­rived at the is­land, they had no idea what the show was about. It was left to Dundas to re­veal the size of the prize and it’s fair to say that the con­tes­tants were dumb­founded.

“When you stand in front of th­ese 12 av­er­age Aus­tralians and you tell them that one of them is go­ing to win $1 mil­lion – it gave me goose bumps,” Dundas says.

Aussie TV view­ers know Dundas from his five years on Get­away. He left the Nine travel show in 2011 to fur­ther his ca­reer in Amer­ica.

Over the past three years, Dundas co-hosted VH1 pop cul­ture pro­gram

Big Morn­ing Buzz Live. After The Big Ad­ven­ture he re­turns to the US to host MTV’s Beyond Dance, a re­al­ity pro­gram on pro­fes­sional dancers.

Dundas says he was just as mys­ti­fied by the con­cept of The Big

Ad­ven­ture as the con­tes­tants. “I had a meet­ing with (pro­ducer) Rikkie Proost and he said he had a show in mind for me which he can’t tell me any­thing about.

“He said ‘think Hunger Games’ and ‘think mas­sive’. Ever since I started on TV I’ve wanted to host the big­gest shows in the world and fa­cil­i­tate the jour­neys of av­er­age peo­ple and this show hits both those.”

Right now, though, Dundas, sport­ing an Akubra, is gal­vanised on the Trea­sure Grid, which looks like a gi­ant chess board in the sand.

De­spite the drain­ing jun­gle hu­mid­ity, one of the con­tes­tants is dig­ging hard. He has three at­tempts to find one of 12 golden keys.

One of those keys will open a trea­sure chest con­tain­ing $1 mil­lion. The trou­ble is, one con­tes­tant is elim­i­nated each episode, with their keys passed on to the re­main­ing con­tes­tants.

The com­peti­tors are a mixed bunch. They range in age from 23 to 52 and in­clude the out­spo­ken cos­metic surgery rep Jess, ship’s cook Paul, grand­fa­ther Sean and tradie Mark.

Some, like 28-year-old con­ser­va­tion­ist An­naleis and 25-year-old land­scaper Dane, whose twin brother Luke has cere­bral palsy, have al­tru­is­tic plans if they win big. Oth­ers just bla­tantly want a mil­lion bucks – and will do any­thing to get it.

“I get phys­i­cally and emotionally af­fected when I have to tell some­one they have lost a chal­lenge or they have been elim­i­nated,” he says.




Big gig: Ja­son Dundas is ex­cited to be host­ing such a ma­jor new show. Be­low, Dundas with the con­tes­tants.

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