Beauty and the Geek’s EP on the “New Brand of Geek”

Beauty and the Geek

• AJ Johnson talks Beauty and the Geek in 2021

Beauty and the Geek will return to Australian television on its new home on Sunday, July 11, at 7.00pm on Nine and 9Now.

The 2021 reboot will be hosted by Sophie Monk and feature 10 beauties and 10 geeks who will work together through a series of real-life challenges in the search to find a romantic spark or a lifelong friendship.

Mediaweek spoke with the show’s executive producer AJ Johnson about what to expect from the revived format.

At the beginning of the chat Johnson expressed relief that the production of the show was able to proceed unincumbered by the Covid-19 lockdowns and is currently in post-production.

“We were so lucky, we shot all through and had no problems at all.”

When asked why now was the right time to bring back a format that ended its six season run in 2014, Johnson said that one key reason is how much geek culture has changed in that time.

“If you look at like the Marvel franchises and the success of Lego, I think there is a new brand of geek that is very different.”

Beauty and the Geek

One interesting dimension that Johnson said he enjoyed about the show is how they were able to lean into the Geeks “superpowers”.

“They are so passionate about what they do. Geeks are very different now, back then it was about being book smart now it is being passionate about anything. We have got guys who are Dungeon and Dragons masters, cosplayers, gamers, and a guy who is a car enthusiast.

“Then you put those people with a whole bunch of beauties, and it is really interesting and compelling TV.

“Can it cross the divide? Can opposite attract?”

AJ Johnson

How else has the format changed?

Johnson said that a modernised cast isn’t the only changes to the show, with the EP also promising a revamped format.

“There will be some changes to the challenges, and some real-life events and moments so the stakes are a bit higher when they are working together.

“Not staying in the villas and moving to the city, where they are all staying in apartments. There will be other changes including dates as well.

“In terms of the old school format there is many changes but the heart of it is there.”

Beauty and the Geek

Considering that the show ran for 6 seasons with solid ratings Johnson also said that there were many parts of the original iteration that they wanted to keep.

“The overarching format worked really well, there is nothing wrong with it.

“The challenge elements are always fun watching them work together and then the challenge at the end for survival.

“The base of the format is there we just brought it into the modern day.”

Why Sophie Monk was the right choice

Sophie Monk is not a rookie when it comes to dating shows, she was the star of the third season of The Bachelorette, and also hosts Love Island Australia. But the reason that Johnson believes that she was perfect to host Beauty and the Geek is that she is as much of the later as the former.

“She is a massive Geek as well as a beauty. Her and her husband are massive gamers, she trips over herself the whole time and is geeky and fun to have around.

“She can understand the guys and get along really well with them but also understand the girls.”

Lots of Love

Love is in the air on Aussie TV with Farmer Wants a Wife premiering this week, and The Bachelor around the corner. What Johnson says separates his show is that they bring two opposite worlds together.

“It is a completely different format to Farmer or Batch. It probably has a bit more comedy too.”

What to expect from Beauty and the Geek? 

When asked what to expect from the show Johnson said that viewers will come for the humour and stay for the heart.

“To see if opposites can attract and can relationships be forged? Is really interesting.”

Johnson said that it is more than a dating show, but when asked if contestants will find love this season he said absolutely.

“The experience proves to be successful for some, but at the same time they learn about each other and their unique and different worlds.”

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