The popular talking-head nostalgia comedy show 20 To One is returning to Nine this week for a 10-episode run, with Nova breakfast hosts Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald and Michael “Wippa” Wipfli taking on the hosting duties.
The show previously ran on the network from 2005 to 2011 with Bert Newton as host. The fact that they would be replacing a TV icon like Newton was not lost on the duo.
“We were sensitive about that – taking two of us to replace Bert Newton. He is a legend,” Wippa revealed, but he noted that the new incarnation of the show will feel different with a host of different categories to feature.
“The new categories you weren’t able to do when the last show was on. It’s exciting because you have things like viral sensations. The amount of times we’ve all seen Charlie Bit My Finger. We’re all familiar with Grumpy Cat. There are jokes off the back of that which couldn’t be done last time the show was on. There’s some great new topics to roll out for 20 To One,” he explained.
Added to the show this year will be some surprise celebrities that will be mixed into the show’s roster of personalities offering their memories and thoughts on pop culture.
Late last year Fitzy and Wippa fronted a one-off late-night talk show for TEN, Up Reasonably Late with Fitzy and Wippa. While the show never progressed beyond the special, it revealed the interest that the two radio hosts have in establishing a presence on television. Could we see more of them beyond 20 To One?
“Absolutely. We’ve always been excited about it,” Wippa said.
But he conceded that there are hurdles in place: “We’re pretty time poor. Fitzy and I are both dads. I’m about to have my second child in three weeks’ time. We just have to work out if the format’s right and will it work with the radio show.
“I think when you look at shows like You’re Back in The Room with Daryl Somers, it points out that, at the pace the world runs, people just want to sit down at home and put their feet up. That’s why I think 20 To One will be a great show. I’ve seen the first couple of episodes. It is a great show. Cats Will Make You Laugh Out Loud got a million viewers, then dogs, then pets. If that’s proof that everyone is calling for some relaxing, easy-to-watch TV, we should be right with 20 to One,” he said.
For the moment, Wippa is content with focusing on 20 To One. He hopes that the show will go on to a second season as he has already been brainstorming some ideas.
“There are some great categories that would be worth bringing back for season two of 20 To One. Like 20 To One TV Failures and we can just go through Fitzy’s TV career. We can do some Friday Night Downloads. He did a demo for a show called Get Some Nuts. That would have to make it into failed TV shows,” he said with a laugh.
But quickly, without missing a beat, Wippa considered one format he’d like to explore.
“Have they done any shows on cooking yet?”
20 to One premieres on Nine at 7.30pm on Tuesday, May 31.