Studio 10’s Tristan MacManus on his early mornings with Sarah Harris

Studio 10

• Plus MacManus reflects on frantic end to Dancing with the Stars

No show has undergone a bigger facelift in 2020 than Studio 10 with a restructure leading to the departure of Studio 10 co-hosts Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Natarsha Belling, and Joe Hildebrand.

Network 10’s morning show has begun a new era with Studio 10 mainstay Sarah Harris and Irish import Tristan MacManus.

MacManus is best known to Australian audiences as a judge on the local format of Dancing with the Stars. MacManus had previously established himself as a dancer on the American Dancing with the Stars, and the British version of Strictly Come Dancing.

Mediaweek spoke with MacManus about his new gig, working with Sarah Harris, and the Covid-19 affected conclusion to Dancing with the Stars.

When asked how this new career direction came about MacManus admitted that he wasn’t  too sure himself.

“I’ll be honest with you, I really don’t know, it kind of came out of the blue a little. It came at a time where I went back to landscaping and then I got a call to see if I would be interested in doing a screen test. I didn’t know what it was for, but I went in and talked about some news stories.

MacManus was originally hoping to do both Dancing with the Stars and Studio 10 when he signed up before it was announced that Dancing with the Stars would not be returning to 10’s schedule in 2021.

“You can never assume with any show, whether it is popular or unpopular, that it is going to come back. It is something that you hope people want to come back, but the reality is it might not be in the financial position to come back at the moment. I am hoping that’s the reason because then hopefully there is enough interest for the show to return at a later date.”

The show found itself one of the many productions affected by Covid-19 with MacManus saying that he wasn’t sure they were even going to be able to conclude the second season as planned.

After almost every show we didn’t know if it was going to be the last one or not. I drove back to Sydney, two weeks before the show finished because I wanted to get my family back home and in the back of my mind, I thought we might not be able to finish the show. At the time Dancing with the Stars represented more for people. It is not for some people and we get that, but some people love it and needed something to look forward to at the time, and I felt like we did a great job of giving it to them.”

Seven weeks into the new job, MacManus admits that he is enjoying the opportunity to learn. Most of his aspirations involved dancing and the theatre – he never really thought about hosting a show like Studio 10.

“I never imagined being the host of a morning show, because why would I? I was doing a dancing show which turned into hosting theatre shows and now I am hosting Studio 10.

“I love it, and I am learning an awful lot. They are letting me work out my kinks which is what you want from everything. The whole vibe of the show has changed, and everyone is open to the transition that the show is going through. I am like everyone, some things I mess up here and there and other things I don’t mess up.”

One major calming influence for him after being thrown into a foreign territory is long-time Studio 10 host Sarah Harris who MacManus said has been great for him.

“Sarah is great, she knows the gig, she knows the drill and we are getting to know each other, and I think that is the major thing. I had an instant trust and comfort with Sarah which is what you need and crave in any new position.

MacManus said that he took the role so that he would have the opportunity to learn and explore a new challenge.

“I have kids now and I am trying to teach them not to turn their back on things that they are afraid of or don’t understand.”

MacManus says that one strength he brings to breakfast TV is his lack of bias due to approaching it with fresh eyes.

“I enjoy it because every day is different, every story is different, and I am getting to learn a lot about people. Feel-good stories and stories about heartbreak don’t discriminate, a story is not better because a celebrity did it, here regular people are given a platform.”

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