Matty Johns faces off with new TV format ahead of NRL season

Matty Johns

Plus his podcasting future and life on AM radio

With the NRL season kicking off on March 11 one of the NRL’s busiest men will be coming out of hibernation – Matty Johns.

Mediaweek spoke with Johns about his three programs on Fox League, his podcast, and his radio work ahead of a bumper new rugby league season.

Face to Face with Matty Johns

Face to Face with Matty Johns will air on Wednesday nights at 7.30 pm. On the new show, Johns sits down with key figures in the game of rugby league and Australian society for what has been described as a candid chat.

The show has a growing list of interviews that already includes Anthony MundineKarmichael HuntDanny Buderus, Nicho Hynes and Melbourne Storm General Manager Frank Ponissi.

Matty Johns and Anthony Mundine

The show fills the void left by his Matty Johns Podcast and picks up a lot of the elements that the podcast encompassed.

“You sort of work on it and develop a bit of technique on how you talk to people. My podcast was originally bringing people from the outside in like Craig Johnson who I interviewed for over two hours and I am still getting people from Northern England getting in touch about how much they enjoyed it.

“It is very hard to sit there with people and just talk through their whole careers, which most people already know. This show focuses on one little part of their career and taking that apart.”

Johns said that Face to Face is an evolution of what he was trying to do on his podcast. He is planning to still be podcasting in some form this year.

“I am continuing with the family podcast which was also born out of necessity through Covid.”

When asked what were some of his dream interviews, Johns said that he wants to keep an open mind and pull people in from both inside and outside rugby league.

“I want to interview Tim Tszyu, I am lining up Peter V’landys at the moment and the theme of that is men that like a fight. There is a hit list going around of who we are after but there will be something for everyone.”

When asked if his brother, Andrew Johns, would appear on his news show Johns had a simple response.

“I said interesting people.”

The Matty Johns show

The main show that still pays the bills is The Matty Johns Show on Thursday and Sunday nights. Johns said that doing a TV show like this is easier now because the expectations of him have changed.

“Those shows are pretty easy because back in the day when I first started doing TV, I was the guy trying to provide a laugh, but now my role has changed. I host and make sure everyone is having a good time and stimulate some of the chemistry with the boys but Fletch and Hindy provide that other stuff now.”

During Covid, The Matty Johns Show mostly carried on, though with an empty studio, but was aided by the fact that a lot of the comedy segments were pre-filmed before the pandemic. Johns said this time around that they are not all filmed, but they hope to get through uninterrupted this year.

“How it stands at the moment we will get them done but who knows what will happen next week.”

“Our producers don’t get enough credit; they do an incredible job. A fella called Ben Hogarth is as good as anyone that I have worked with in TV.”

He also predicted a party for The Matty Johns Show this year, but not one that he is going to enjoy.

“I turn 50 this year and I am not looking forward to it.”

Returning to Radio

Johns returned to radio last year when he signed up for the Friday morning shift at SEN and said that he is loving it.

They said how do you fancy going back to radio for four days? Nah. Three Days? Nah. Two Days? Nah.

“Okay one day on a Monday? And I said how about one day on a Friday? And they said deal.”

Johns said that the main reason he left breakfast radio was the 4:30 am alarm but said he won’t rule anything out in the future.

“We will see what happens but I am just dipping my toe back in and let’s see what happens next year.”

Asked if Triple M was in the running for his return to radio after he enjoyed such a long stint there previously, Johns said that he couldn’t make the commitment.

“If you go to KIIS FM or Triple M it’s a big commitment. You can’t say ‘listen mate I will just do a day or two a week’, but SEN is just kicking off and they allowed me to do one day a week and for me that is perfect.”

What else can Matty Johns do?

When asked what other projects that he would like to do in the future johns said that Hamish and Andy better watch out.

“My best mate is an Irishman named Brian Carney and he is one of the smartest men that I have ever met, his father lives in Hungary and did business with Yasser Arafat, so he is a very well-rounded person. And we have often talked about wanting to a travel show together – An Irishman and an Australian walk into a bar.”

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