Osher Günsberg: The Masked Singer, motivation, Warner Bros & more

The Masked Singer

“I have a mortgage. I have kids and I have to put food on the table and pay school fees.”

The host of Network 10’s new format The Masked Singer, Osher Günsberg, is predicting good things for the series launching in a few days. But he admitted with four primetime TV jobs, he is possibly at maximum hosting.

“It’s a cracking format and so much fun,” Günsberg told Mediaweek.

Just how the busy TV host, twice a week podcaster and new father managed to fit this into his schedule requires explanation.

It was a lot of people jumping through a lot of hoops to make sure all of us could be in the same room at the same time to make the show.

The schedule meant sometimes they would shoot until 11pm and then be on call for 9am the next morning. “I’d tell myself that was ok because when I get to work there will be fireworks and dancers…I can do that.”

Günsberg said he has the same motivations as most people when it comes to signing on for a new project. “I have a mortgage. I have kids and I have to put food on the table and pay school fees.

Between the TV shows and the podcasts that is about all I can manage and keep a relationship with my wife. I am very grateful to have the amount of work I have got, and the ability to work with a great team. I don’t want to do too much more because my work could start to suffer and I am quite proud of what I do deliver when I show up for work and I want to ensure I maintain that.”

There were key elements in The Masked Singer that made Günsberg want to be involved.

“It’s big, it’s shiny floor, there’s fireworks, it’s bonkers and it is so simple. It is classic storytelling of a mystery and how we solve it.”

Günsberg gets to use some of the skills he developed during his years hosting Australian Idol for 10 on this and his other work. “This is definitely an area I know about. The skillset I bring from live television I use all the time on The Bachelor where you can only get an authentic, emotional response once when you drop some big news.”

The Masked Singer is shot at Fox Studios in Sydney, which Günsberg calls “his room” after shooting Australian Idol there for a number of years.

“It’s been fantastic to go back and work with many of the same crew I have worked with before. I am just one person of over 100 working on The Masked Singer. Many of them are people I have worked with for a long time. We have made a really, really fun show that I hope people will enjoy with their family.”

The Masked Singer see Günsberg working again with Warner Bros Australia that also produces the three Bachelor franchises he hosts. “Shaun Murphy [Warner Bros head of TV] has an incredible team and he is such a great boss to work for. So are my EPs Janine Cooper and Judy Smart who are both great people.

“During much of my shooting I was days and then hours from my wife having a baby. The incredible generosity and grace given to us by the network and the production company was incredible. I was so humbled by the support they gave us to make sure Audrey and I could have that experience.”

Günsberg also has praise for busy Network 10 head of entertainment and factual, Stephen Tate. “That guy is the busiest man in television,” said a TV host who should be able to recognise a packed schedule.

He has given me a career twice now. He gave me Australian Idol and then when I was unemployed he gave me The Bachelor. I owe everything to him.

The host reckons The Masked Singer should work for 10. “It’s silly and it’s fun…and fun to play along with. It’s such a simple game to play along with and it’s brilliant.

Günsberg laughed when asked if he had to use his “filling” skills at all given that there are not a lot of celebrities and a lot of time to, er, fill. The host was the master of building anticipation at the end of each episode of Australian Idol when the audience was waiting to find out which competitor had been voted out.

“I have been in television for 20 years after starting at Channel [V] in 1999 and am grateful to have had a career gaining so much experience. I have developed skills to draw on and I used everything. I think that’s why they hired me. There are so many variables, so many things that need to go right in such a short period of time. We only had a handful of days to film the whole season.

“The producers were dealing with the schedules of a lot of famous people who are very busy.

“There were times when I had to draw on past experiences. I am glad I know all that stuff because I was able to help out when required.

“But the whole crew has an entire career’s worth of experience that is drawn on to make the show.”

Network 10’s The Masked Singer premieres on Monday, September 23 at 7.30pm.

Top Photo:  The Masked Singer host Osher Günsberg (right) with judges Dannii Minogue, Jackie O, Hughesy and Lindsay Lohan

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