My EXCLUSIVE interview with Game Show Host Mark Humphries – Part III

Welcome back.

When we left off last week, Mark was just about to tell me about his first experience as a game show contestant…

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MH: I was in Year Six, so I must have been 11 years old. it was a show called Super 6 which was on Foxtel;  it was a kids’ game show.

* Here’s a sample of Super 6 that I found on YouTube. Unfortunately, it’s not Mark’s episode, but you get the idea..

MH: I obviously watched a lot of kids game shows as well. Including A*mazing, which I firmly believe should be brought back as an adult game show; I think it would be really smart of a network to pick up A*mazing and do an adult version capitalising on the generation who grew up on that because it was so beloved. And I know that (the show’s host) James Sherry did have a Facebook page a few years ago called ‘Bring Back A*mazing‘…. Sorry, I’m getting distracted. You can see how nerdy I am about this sort of stuff! 

SH: No, I love it! You’ve come to the right place! 

MH: So I was on this show called Super 6 which was hosted by Scott McRae who had been the host of Vidiot after Eden Gaha, if I’ve got my timeline correct… So my school submitted some entries and I got through. I was on a team of six and I had to do a quiz round which was on the buzzer. I won my round, which meant that another team member had to do a challenge to win 50 bonus points And her challenge was that she had to eat SAO biscuits and then whistle, within 45 seconds 

SH: Which is very difficult, because they’re so dry…. 

MH: … And she didn’t go so well so we didn’t win. But I do remember that each episode had a Celebrity Umpire. And for our episode, the Celebrity Umpire was ‘Vulcan’ from Gladiators!

SH: Wow! 

MH: Which was thrilling and terrifying. Because we were told not to speak during the recording and for some reason I started up a conversation with one of my teammates… and ‘Vulcan’ glared at me, put his finger to his lips and gave me the death stare, as if to say “SHUT UP!” That shook me to my 11 year old core.

SH: (LAUGHING) Yeah, that would have you waking up screaming.  

MH: (LAUGHING) Yeah. So that was my experience of quiz shows, although I was in the audience for a taping of Randling. But I guess I watched pretty much everything that was in the genre that was on television, now that I think about it. Win Roy & HG’s Money…

SH: Which I think was based on Win Ben Stein’s Money, wasn’t it?

 MH: Yes it was.

SH: So you’re a long time game show fan – apart from your appearance on Super 6, were you ever attempted to be a game show contestant again?

MH: Not really; I’m very interested in the things that I’m interested in, but I don’t have a great broad general knowledge. BUT… I am about to go and do an episode as a contestant on Celebrity Mastermind. 

SH: Oh, fantastic!

MH: So I will hopefully be good at my chosen topic, but once it opens up to general knowledge I will, no doubt, crash and burn. 

SH: That’s the spirit.

MH: (LAUGHING) Yeah! 

SH: What’s your special subject? 

MH: ‘The musicals of Stephen Sondheim from 1957 – 1987’.

SH: Wow – 30 years!

MH: Yes, which is pretty much the bulk of his output. But I did want to narrow it down a bit to make it easier for the question writers. But I’m pretty happy to be asked anything about him. 

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And, as luck would have it, Mark’s episode of Celebrity Mastermind actually just aired here in Australia on Saturday (14/03), and (NOT EXACTLY A SPOILER ALERT) let’s just say the show hasn’t seen the last of him… 

In case you missed it, you can watch it right now, right here, on SBS On Demand. 

See you next week!

Seven years old today!

Well, here we are at the seven year mark!

When I nervously started HowToWinGameShows.com, way back in 2013, I really wasn’t sure if there would be enough material on this subject to sustain a blog like this for any reasonable length of time. As it turns out, I kinda think there has been.

I’ve done 327 posts over the past seven years (this being my 328th), and interviewed loads of game show contestants, game show winners, game show producers, question writers… and hosts! I hope you’ve managed to glean some useful information from our discussions.

I’ve reviewed various books and TV shows (there are more of these reviews to come!), and I’ve related many behind-the-scenes experiences from the various game shows I’ve worked on. There are more of these on the way, too!

Along the way, I’ve written my first book – the cryptically titled How To Win Game Shows – and self-published it on Amazon. All of which was quite a learning curve in and of itself. As I’ve mentioned here before, a second HTWGS book is on the way, and my goal is to get it written and published by the end of the year.

In short, I guess what I’m trying to say is… yes, there is enough material on this subject to sustain a blog like this. And, much more importantly, there’s enough interest to sustain it….

Interest from you.

And for that, I’m very, very grateful.

So I’d like to sincerely thank you for your interest and for your support, and of course for your visits. I really, really appreciate it all, and will never take it for granted.

And now

In case you didn’t know, my current interview guest Mark Humphries will be competing in TONIGHT’s episode of Celebrity Mastermind, which you can watch on SBS, if you’re here in Australia. So why not tune in, and get behind Mark?

I know I will be – good luck, Mark! 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with Game Show Host Mark Humphries – Part II

That’s Mark on the left there, with his ‘Pointless’ co-host Andrew Rochford on the right.

Welcome to the second instalment of my interview with Mark Humphries. And when I left off last week, Mark and I were discussing how the relationship between TV shows and their audiences has changed; how, if you didn’t like a show back in the 90s, you weren’t able to just ring up the host and tell them so!

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SH: Yes, thinking about watching TV back then, it’s such a foreign idea, isn’t it? Not only to have the ability to provide that instant feedback… but to have the audacity and entitlement to want to provide – and not hesitate in providing – that instant feedback

MH: Yeah! But I came to accept that when you’re part of someone’s routine, and you are in their home… you are, weirdly, a very distant family member; you’re part of the furniture. And people get familiar with certain people and then that’s taken away from them. I do get it. But I also think there’s something to be said for reining in your rage, and targeting the right people… 

SH: Yes – sometimes ideas should just remain ideas. 

MH: (LAUGHING) There should be a cooling off period with tweets! Okay, so you’ve written a tweet, now maybe walk away for 10 minutes, have a think about it, and if you still want to send it… then go for it! 

SH: Speaking of ‘being part of the furniture’, when you were growing up, were there game shows that you loved and always tuned into?

SH: Absolutely. I loved $ale of the Century. I used to watch John Burgess on Wheel of Fortune, and I clearly remember when John stopped hosting it and it was taken over by Tony Barber. And I remember I also used to watch Tony on Australian Jeopardy, which I really enjoyed. But speaking of John Burgess, I remember a couple of other milestones; firstly of course when he went and started doing Catch Phrase and changed from being known as “Baby John Burgess” to being known as “Burgo”… and also he shaved off his moustache. Monumental changes! I remember it being quite earth-shattering at the time. And I used to watch Burgo’s Catch Phrase, and it was quite clear that they ran out of actual catchphrases after about four nights. And it ended up just being “objects” or “words” or “things you might say”. And I also watched Burgo’s Pass The Buck

SH: Pass The Buck? I’d forgotten that one. That it didn’t last very long, did it?

MH: I think that only lasted a season or so. I also had very fond memories of (host) Rob Brough’s curls on Family Feud…

These are the curls Mark’s referring to here.

Then later of course it was hosted by John Deeks. I used to love Larry on The Price Is Right… Now that I think about it, I watched a heck of a lot of game shows!

SH: Yeah, you did!

MH: … and The Weakest Link, Shafted with Red Symons – 

SH: You watched Shafted? Really?

MH: (LAUGHING) Yes, I watched Shafted. I was actually speaking about Shafted yesterday, after not having spoken about it for years. That show would just not fly today. Did you watch it? Do you remember it at all? 

SH: Watch it? I wrote it!

MH: What? 

SH: Yes, yes – I worked on Shafted for the ENTIRE six weeks. That was an early job; writing questions and little gags for Red. There will be a blog post about that whole adventure here at a later date, but I haven’t got around to writing it yet. But I must confess, I’m surprised that anybody remembers Shafted. 

MH: Oh, I remember it well, and one of the things that stood out about it was that I don’t think you could do that show today, because of the element of betrayal that occurs in the final round. I think people would go absolutely ape**** on social media, and would find the contestants and track them down… there’d be so much online bullying of anyone who had lied in that final section. I mean, I thought it was a great concept, and also quite anxiety-inducing. I felt quite sick each time someone shafted another person. But I just think that today people would be absolutely destroyed by the response to it.

SH: Mm, fair point.

MH: And I was actually on a quiz show – 

SH: Oh, brilliant – that was my next question!

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… But you’ll have to wait until next week to hear the answer!

I was just about to write “Sorry for being such a tease”… but then I thought ‘Nah’; you know the drill; that’s just what I do here.

Until then, remember that you can follow Mark on Twitter. 

… Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter too, if you feel like it.

Until next week, then!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with Game Show Host Mark Humphries – Part I

Hello and welcome to my latest exclusive interview for HowToWinGameShows.com! This time, it’s with Mark Humphries, who hosted the Australian version of the English game show Pointless, here in Australia on the Ten Network from July 2018 – May 2019.

Mark was very generous with his time, and it was a wide ranging – and at times, very revealing – discussion. We covered the whole process of his becoming involved in the show, we talked about the ups and downs of hosting it, and we discussed the various reactions to the show at length. But before all of that, for those of you who may be unfamiliar with Mark’s work, I asked him to bring us up to speed with his story before game shows came calling… 

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SH: Mark Humphries, thanks very much for talking to me today for HowToWinGameShows.com! For those visitors outside Australia, could you give us a brief rundown of your career prior to your time as a game show host?

MH: Yes, sure. So I got my start on TV in satirical news comedy. And the first show that I was on was called The Roast, and it started out as a daily two-minute news comedy show.

SH: Economical!

MH: (LAUGHING) Yes, barely a show ! But because it was two minutes, and it was on ABC2, and it was on in the very sexy time slot of 7:28 PM, it was a thing that allowed us to make mistakes; to get it wrong, and we did that for a year. And then we got renewed, fortunately, and then the show ballooned into a massive 10 minutes per night. And that time slot was thrilling as well; sometimes it was 10 past 8, sometimes it was 8:07, sometimes it was a quarter past 8, so you could tune in and already have missed the bit that I was on. So I had three years on that show; sort of very, very low profile and out of the way… just getting my flying hours up, really; honing my skills. Because satirical comedy wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do; I’d always wanted to write comedy for television, but I was more interested in sitcoms.But I was just lucky that I – and the rest of the team – were given enough time to develop our skills, so that when the show did eventually end, at the end of 2014, The Guardian newspaper had just started up in Australia and their website picked up the segment that I used to do on The Roast. So they commissioned us to keep that afloat for half a dozen special online videos.

SH: Great!

MH: And then after that I was approached by The Feed from SBS2… and Stephen, I should point out that it’s very important to me to always be on a secondary digital channel. Not the main free-to-air channel…

SH: (LAUGHING) Yes, of course – aim for the top!

MH: And The Feed wanted 2 – 3 minute comedy news pieces, so over there again I was able to make more mistakes!

SH: But it’s very valuable to have a chance to do that professionally, but without being subject to loads of scrutiny and pressure.

MH: I am such a huge supporter of shows like that. Shows such as Hungry Beast, and more recently Tonightly, where new talent – new writers and performers – can get the experience and become the valuable contributors of the future. If we don’t have those shows, you can’t just expect everyone to work for free and make stuff on YouTube, and hope that that somehow transitions into a career. In terms of career paths, I’m not a stand-up, and where do people like me (who have no interest in doing stand-up comedy) go? So I was so lucky in that sense.
Anyway, somewhere along the way we started to find a rhythm in terms of making new sketches and a couple of them got a few shares And so I started to develop something of a reputation as a satirical writer comedy performer. I was at The Feed for two and a half years, but I got kind of burnt out

SH: That was quick!

MH: (LAUGHING) Yeah! But by that stage, it had been years of producing daily news comedy… And I think even reading the news every day takes a toll; I don’t think it’s good for you. I don’t think I could ever be a journalist!

SH: No. Good point.

MH: And putting out creative work every day and knowing that it will be seen by an audience and especially on Twitter, where they are all just waiting to tear you a new one. Because they’re certainly out there, and that was a lesson I learned again with the whole Pointless thing; it was quite a bumpy transition because people really loved Family Feud (Pointless‘s predecessor in the same time slot). And suddenly it’s “Who the f*** is this guy?!”

But back in the day, it never would have occurred to me, if I was watching $ale of the Century, after an episode finished, to ring up Glenn Ridge and say tell him he’s f****** s***.

SH: (LAUGHING) No, that wasn’t really an option back then, was it?

MH: (LAUGHING) … which I don’t believe, by the way!

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And nor do I!

That’s where we’ll leave our chat for this week. Next week, we will shift gear and move into game show territory, but in the meantime, you can follow Mark on Twitter here… and I also heartily recommend the 8-episode original podcast that Mark did for Audible.com.au; it’s called Riot Act, and it’s brilliant.

See you next week! 

O Canada! O Game Shows!

Something a little bit different this week. I just wanted to draw your attention to an interesting new six-part documentary series all about – you guessed it – Canadian game shows! It’s called The Search For Canada’s Game Shows, and you can watch all six 22-minute episodes right here, on the Search For Canada’s Game Shows website. (www.CanadasGameShows.com)

It’s a really engaging and amusing series, with loads of archival footage, and interviews from some of the major players in the Canadian game show… erm… game. 

In fact, one of the people they interviewed for the series is our old friend and occasional guest blogger Mr Ryan Vickers! And I’m happy to say that if all goes well, he’ll be sharing the details of his involvement here in his next guest post, in the not-too-distant future.

It’s a well made series, and while it’s a great primer on game shows in that part of the world, there are lots of interesting tidbits in there about the genre in general. 

So there you have it – this week’s recommendation: The Search For Canada’s Game Shows; all four episodes streaming now, at www.CanadasGameShows.com

You’re welcome!  

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part VIII – The Conclusion

And now, please enjoy the final instalment of my interview with the inspirational Sole Survivor…. Pia Miranda!

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SH: Just before we wrap up, Pia, for Howtowingameshows.com I always ask people “what would your tips be?” Do you have any tips for people who’d like to do exactly what you’ve done? 

PM: My tips would be don’t go on a game show unless it’s your passion. I don’t think you’re going to win it unless it’s your passion. I don’t like camping or being in the outdoors. 

SH: You don’t eat raw coconut all the time?

PM: No, funnily enough! But for some reason, when I watched that show, I had this instinct and passion to win it… and I’ve obsessed about it for 20 years; “I just know I can win this!”

I think go in with a game plan BUT don’t be afraid to be malleable with that game plan. In other words, trust your instincts but move with the flow, because you’re going to have to change it up. 

SH: Pivot. 

PM: Yes, you’re going to have to pivot. And also know that the camera doesn’t lie… the editing can lie! Boy, can the editing lie – the editing lies quite a lot. But the camera doesn’t, so there is no point in being too aware of the camera if you want to win. I think if you want to recharge your career, or become a personality then that’s one reason to go on a game show, but if you want to win… just forget about the camera and play to win. 

SH: Be yourself.  

PM: Just forget about the repercussions, because they’ll be mixed anyway, if you’re a winner. Just go and play… and play hard!

SH: Play hard! Yes! Thanks very much for your time today, Pia. 

PM: Thank you. 

SH: And again, congratulations! It couldn’t happen to a nicer person. 

PM: Thank you. Well, tell that to Survivor Facebook! (LAUGHS). 

SH: Yikes! (LAUGHS) 

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I’d like to thank Pia so much once again for her time, and so freely sharing so much of her Survivor experience for HowToWinGameShows.com.

Remember, you can follow Pia on Twitter, on Instagram, and you can also catch both of us now in Series 3 of Mustangs FC!

See you next time, with something completely different.

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part VII

Hello and welcome to the penultimate instalment of my eight part interview with Australian Sole Survivor Pia Miranda. When we left off, Pia had just beaten all the other contestants, to win $500,000… in a moment that looked something a little like this;

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PM: It’s a big thing, winning that amount of money. 

SH: It’s absolutely life-changing. I think back on it all the time, and its benefits continue… and will continue, all the way through. 

PM: Our kids will benefit from this. We bought our house late, because we’re actors – we just don’t have money. Just that whole idea that we’ve now fast-forwarded our lives and we’re in that position. Even if I got in a great television show and I was the lead, I still wouldn’t be in this position! There is no point in time that I ever thought that amount of money would fall into my lap. It was weird because right before you go on Survivor, they put you in this little hotel room with no TV or anything and you’re just stuck there for three or four days by yourself. And you go to shoot the promos and you see who else is there…  

SH: Lots of athletes?

PM: It’s not just athletes, I felt like that little kid at school on their first day at a new school and everyone is kind of cool… I just regretted it. The last thing I said to him – and he was trying to pump me up, going “you can do this”. So I said to him “Okay, right now I’m going to go out and win us this money,” and then I hung up. 

SH: And sure enough…. fifty days later, there you were! How was it to decompress and return home after all that privation and starvation? 

PM: It’s bad. You should see the WhatsApp groups that various players had with each other after the show. For 3 weeks, they were just all about food. 

SH: Like “what are you eating?” “What are you eating?” “What are you eating?” 

PM: Yes! Totally obsessing about food. It is non-stop food. I spoke to one of the dads at school (where my kids go) and he said “In the army, we generally reintegrate you into society after you’ve been through something like that.” When I got out, I missed out going to jury villa decompressing with everyone and talking the game or having that bonding experience. I just got thrust out and had that weird guilt of “Oh, I won – sorry about that guys.” The night I got let out, they gave me a meal. I said, “I just want a bottle of wine.”  

SH: At least!  

PM: I drank wine. I was trying to tell Luke everything that was going on. I had a shower, and just fell asleep in bed with the kids – it was amazing. My head was spinning and Janine’s husband and my husband spoke and discovered me and Janine were going through the same thing. I had to come back and work on Mustangs two days later. 

SH: Just two days later? Wow. 

PM: It was just hard to look anyone in the eye. There was an energy about me; I couldn’t connect with anyone, I was talking a million miles an hour, I was super overstimulated. The whole time you’re there, you only see Tribal, you see the beach and you see the challenges. In between that, you see nothing, you don’t hear music; there is no external stimulation at all. I couldn’t stop eating. We just talked about food the whole time and we’re talking about Hungry Jack’s at the airport. I had this massive thing of Hungry Jacks in my lap on the plane. Then I saw one of the other contestants walked onto the plane with his Hungry Jack’s. 

SH: Did it make you sick? 

PM: Sick for days. I had the runs for like two weeks. I was bingeing, runs, bingeing, runs (LAUGHS) it was just this cycle… One day I woke up and said “Okay, this has to stop”, and then it stopped. Actually, I found out I had an autoimmune disease when I was out there and went to a naturopath and she was like “don’t eat this or this”. I was on this restrictive diet, so that stopped me – no more burgers. The weird thing was though, when you are that starved – I don’t have a sweet tooth at all. I don’t like ice cream and all that kind of stuff – but when you’re out there, your body starts obsessing over and thinking about sugary food cakes, ice creams, I guess your body is just looking for a quick calorie hit. 

SH: A bit of energy. 

PM: Yes, one of the first things I did was to have gelato… which I’ve never eaten (LAUGHS).

SH: Okay. I’ve already asked you what you’re doing with the prize money… 

PM: Yes, mortgage and Disneyland. 

SH: Disneyland!

PM: When I was up on that big endurance challenge, Jonathan was “So, Pia what are you going to do with the money if you win it?” I was crying, “I’m going to pay off the mortgage. I’m going to take the kids to Disneyland.” and then I pulled myself together and added “And I’m going to buy a Chanel bag, Jonathan.” He was so impressed he just nodded and said “Nice.” 

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Next week, as we wind up the interview, Pia gives her very Top Tips for any aspiring Survivor contestants out there. So if you’re dreaming of, thinking of, or applying for, your very own Survivor experience… you can’t afford to miss that.

Until then, then! 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part VI

Hello and welcome to part six of my eight part interview with Australian Sole Survivor Pia Miranda. In the closing stages of her game, Pia made an observation about the different versions of the global franchise that is Survivor. It was an observation that I wanted to follow up on…

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SH: In your final appeal to the jury, when discussing your strategy, you said, “Australian Survivor is very different from American Survivor”. What did you mean by that? 

PM: I think Australians in general are different to Americans. Americans like bombastic behaviour and they like big moves; they’re very much willing to follow someone who shows themself to be a leader. Whereas in Australia, anyone who we think is getting too big for their boots – or seems like they’re on top of the pack – we’ll cut them down. So you’ve got to play a really different game. America rewards a brash game; you need to find an idol. It’s really hard for a woman to win American Survivor at the moment. I don’t think one’s won for 14 seasons or something. 

SH: Really? 

PM: Mm. So you have to make moves – because you want to have something to tell the jury – but you cannot let people think you’re on the top of the pack. Even when I was on top of the pack in the Contenders Tribe, I made sure everyone thought I was at the bottom of the three girls. Which was not true; it definitely was Janine and I running the show and then Abbey was following what we were doing. But I would tell the contenders that I didn’t know what was happening and they would tell me right before tribal “I’m just here to make friends,” that kind of thing. 

SH: So that was on your mind all the way through? That was your whole game plan. 

PM: They didn’t show this much, but I was really friendly. One of my biggest game plans, I learned from Cochran who is a super fan who played once played terribly, played second time played amazingly. Cochran and Sandra are my two people that I learned from. Sandra’s big thing was “don’t talk strategy unless you need to”. Don’t be running around camp all-day talking strategy, because it will come back to bite you in the arse. Cochran was really like “make real relationships with people, but then be willing to vote anyone out”. My social game was to really actually become friends with everyone and they were truthful relationships. I didn’t fake any of those relationships. When I got to jury in front of them, I could honestly say that I was really friends with every single person in that jury. And pretty good friends. I made an effort with them. 

SH: And voting them out is the game – it’s not personal, it’s just strategic. 

PM: Yes. Even Janine. I didn’t want Janine to go, but I kind of knew she had to go for me to win. I’m just glad I didn’t have to do it because I wouldn’t have put her name down. 

SH: Yes. It’s been a while now, since it all happened. Would you go back again for an Allstars version?

PM: No, (LAUGHS) I wouldn’t do it again. Winners get voted out pretty early. I’ve only got somewhere to fall now. And people know my game now.  

SH: So you can’t surprise them. 

PM: If America had an “All winners” season, I might do that. That’d be fun. And also, the American challenges aren’t as hard as the Australian challenges. Honestly, those challenges…. I would turn up for those challenges with a knot in my stomach thinking “What the hell?!” I was fine once I got to the merge and they were individual challenges. Those team challenges I found traumatizing. I felt my game was always to be likeable but strategic and then come out at tribal council and obliterate my competition and just be really aggressive. I’d have to think of a new game plan… I mean, there are tribals that go for 2 hours. 

SH: Really? 

PM: Yes, even people yelling at me “YOU ARE S**T!” 

SH: What? 

PM: That’s the job of the jury! To tell you how bad your game is, and why you don’t deserve it; your job is to fight. People are like “why were you getting so angry?” (in tribals). Well, they get angry at you for two hours, and it’s really intense. They only show a smidgen what really happens. But yeah, I definitely wouldn’t play Australian Survivor again – they would vote me out. Because I won it the previous time. 

SH: Back to what you were saying before – you’d have a target on your back, just by walking in the door. 

PM: Yes. Also, I won the half a million! I don’t know if I could fight as hard to take that away from someone else who hasn’t had the chance to win it. 

SH: Someone else’s turn. 

PM: It’s someone else’s turn. If I won it twice, I’d feel a bit guilty about that. I don’t know if I’d have the passion inside me – there’s 23 people going in, and someone else deserves a shot at this. 

SH: Absolutely. The only way is down. I felt a bit like that after Temptation. They had these Quizmasters (Champion of Champions) series. I did go on one, but I shouldn’t have… because I lost and it was embarrassing (LAUGHS). But after my big win I was flushed with success – I was riding high and my ego was doing strange things. Based on that, I also decided to go on Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster. As it turned out, I did just scrape through, although I probably didn’t really didn’t deserve to win. 

PM: The passion goes because you won or something.   

SH: It does feel a bit unfair – it’s someone else’s turn. It really is. 

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Next week, Pia and I discuss how winning this life-changing amount of money has…

erm…

changed her life.

See you then!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part V

Hello and welcome to part five of this eight-part interview.

And just as we reach the final stages of our chat, we’re also reaching the final stages of Pia’s Australian Survivor experience…

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SH: Now we’re getting down to the pointy end of the show… when Baden took you – and not Harry – through to The Final Two with him. I remember watching it, and at that moment, I thought ‘Pia’s got this’. I thought if Baden were to have any chance, he should have taken Harry; Harry had made himself unpopular in various ways along the way, so at least Baden would have had some chance against him. But when Baden chose you instead, did your heart soar? 

PM: It was complicated… because Harry didn’t play a great game up until maybe the final eight and then he played a fairly a good game. Whereas I played a really good game up until the final eight, and I had been on the bottom before, so I was struggling to survive. Baden didn’t see the first three quarters of my game (before the merge) so he didn’t know what game to play– 

SH: He was on the other tribe then, of course. 

PM: And I’d been working with Baden a lot to get him to take me through. I’m like, “you can’t take Harry, because you both play the same game”, yada-yada. So, I was pretty confident Baden was going to take me; that’s why I didn’t have to beat him in the challenge. But my heart did soar, yes! Harry and I had told each other we weren’t going to take each other… but we also thought we could lose to Baden because this is Australia and Australia loves an underdog and Baden is sweet. He annoyed people, and he was a blabbermouth – that was probably his worst trait, but that was the trait he owned and was part of his game. But I thought you could totally lose to Baden because it’s that thing where people can vote with their heart sometimes and be like “Oh, he’s a sweet kid, let’s give him a shot”. I loved Baden, but Harry and I both though that losing to Baden would be very traumatic. 

SH: Yes, because you worked so hard and you gave it your all. 

PM: Yes, so we definitely had a moment where Harry and I thought ‘it could happen, because this does happen sometimes in Survivor‘. My heart did soar a little bit, though, because when I looked at the jury, there were a couple of people I was convinced would vote for Baden…. but when I was counting in my head, I thought ‘I think I can count on five votes here’. 

SH: Yes, you needed five out of nine to win…. but as it turned out, you got nine out of nine votes! That’s never happened before. 

PM: Nine has happened a couple of times in America, but I’m the only female in the history of Survivor to get a nine-zero vote, which gave me legendary status on Twitter – that’s where it counts! 

SH: I imagine that when the votes were being counted and they told you that you won… that you didn’t learn about the number nine until well after all the hoopla. You only needed five. 

PM: Yes, I was expecting to do that thing where they create jeopardy… you know, “that’s two votes Pia, two votes Baden….” and build the suspense as they go.   

SH: But they didn’t, because they couldn’t – they didn’t have any Baden votes to add into the mix. 

PM: They did “two votes for Pia” and then I expected two votes for Baden to come up… but then they went to “three votes Pia, four votes Pia”… I think you can see my face getting really confused. I’m just so shocked. And then I’m like “I’m going to need one more”. When Jonathan said “you’re the winner”, I just didn’t process what had happened… but then when I went into the interview afterwards, they said “you’ve got every single one. You’re the first female in history to get every single vote.” I was just like pretty overwhelmed. 

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… and here’s the picture of that moment, which Pia shared with her son James.

What a LEGEND! Next week, I ask Pia about the differences between Australian Survivor and American Survivor and whether she’d ever consider returning to the franchise as part of an All Stars season…

See you then!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Australian Survivor’ WINNER Pia Miranda – Part IV

Hello and welcome to part four of my exclusive interview with Australian Sole Survivor Pia Miranda! Before our interview officially began, Pia had mentioned that there were two challenges out there that really tested her...

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PM: The first challenge that was the hardest was the first Tower of Terror, where you had to grab the peg. Because there are a couple of challenges in Survivor that if you’re short, you’re at a real disadvantage. 

SH: Yes, we noticed that, while we were at home, watching you… 

PM: Yes. And it wasn’t just because the peg was high up; it was also very far out, so I just couldn’t get it. I did that one 14 times in a row…. which was painful! Slamming into that water every 6 minutes is painful. I was literally lying on the floor of that tower just waiting for my turn, with no breath, going “Physically, I can’t do this”…. 

SH: And yet you did. 

PM: I eventually did it. And the other one there was the Stepping Stones. Ross broke his ankle doing that one. There were these big poles you had to run over, and they were so far apart. 

SH: So again you were at a disadvantage. 

PM: Yes. I think I fell off of that about 12 times too. 

SH: So that’s just a built-in unfairness in those challenges. If I were to do it, for instance, I would find it much easier than… 

PM: Shaun just stepped over them. (* Shaun is 201 cm tall). So the taller contestants aren’t running and jumping and falling like I was. 

SH: Of course.  

PM: So, you get through that stuff. I think the Tower of Terror was the worst one for me, but you get through that stuff, you go through all this pain and your family is there that really propels you because I’m looking at my husband going “I really want to win this money for us!”, you know. 

SH: Yes, when I was watching that final endurance challenge at home, putting myself in your shoes, I found I was also putting myself in your husband’s shoes, watching you endure that stuff. If I was watching my wife do that, I’d find it pretty challenging. 

PM: Yes, he said it was hard not to just jump in and take me off. 

SH: Yes, you’re suffering – he wants to help end your pain. 

PM: Yes. 

SH: So, you earned your money!

PM: Yes, medical came up to have a chat with me because my feet were getting  too swollen, but I didn’t want to get off and he said that it was tough knowing that medical actually stepped in. I did it and I beat Harry. 

SH: You did it!

PM: But it’s okay; I’m flying Harry out for the holidays. I only made two promises on the beach. 

SH: What were those? 

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