The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Tv Guide - Holly Byrnes

IT was only a week or so ago that Shane Ja­cob­son was get­ting his gear off for an adults- only au­di­ence.

Now he’s back to host­ing Lit­tle Big Shots, Seven’s fam­ily-friendly shiny f loor show that, in its first sea­son, “rated its pants off.”

The charm of the series is the scope of skills on show, with no child sin­gled out or pit­ted against one an­other – pro­vid­ing a plat­form for tal­ents be­yond the usual singing and danc­ing con­tests.

From cat­tle auc­tion­eers and ju­nior wood­chop­pers, to en­cy­clo­pe­dic min­i­mas­ter­minds, the for­mat was cre­ated by Ellen DeGeneres draw­ing on the most tal­ented and mind-bog­gling kids she could find on YouTube.

For a show man like Ja­cob­son, the spon­ta­neous na­ture of con­vers­ing with kids comes with its own magic.

“Be­ing a grown-up is about be­ing on Earth long enough that peo­ple say, ‘ No, you can’t do that’ or ‘ That’s not right’ or ‘ No, there is no magic’,” he tells TV Guide. “It’s at that point where you un­der­stand your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and the risk of things. But for kids, the world is still a mag­i­cal sphere to them and be­cause of that, ev­ery third ques­tion they an­swer is hi­lar­i­ous.”

Au­di­ences re­sponded to the feel­good fac­tor, with Lit­tle Big Shots reg­u­larly pulling big num­bers ( post­ing 1.6 mil­lion view­ers na­tion­ally on de­but) and out-rat­ing more es­tab­lished ri­vals like The Block.

If there was a crit­i­cism of the series last year, it was one of the el­e­ments Ja­cob­son says he loves the most – the mix of chil­dren brought in from around the world.

“Peo­ple missed the joy of this a bit,” he says. “This for­mat’s about find­ing chil­dren from around the world and cel­e­brat­ing their tal­ents.”

He adds: “I will de­fend the show to the end on this. Aussie kids have the chance to go on tal­ent shows now, but this is about cel­e­brat­ing kids from any­where in the world.”

Con­tes­tants from In­dia, Ethiopia, China and be­yond have de­liv­ered some of the best mo­ments on screen and off, he says.

“It’s been quite beau­ti­ful,” he says.

“We’ve had par­ents in our au­di­ence who tear up and cry and say, ‘ I can’t be­lieve I’m here in Aus­tralia be­cause of my child’s tal­ent.’ Some of these kids f ly all around the world and ap­pear on mul­ti­ple shows … it’s like a youth ex­change pro­gram.”



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