“I wish I could tell you about the show but it hasn’t happened yet,” concedes Santo Cilauro.
“It’s one of those ones where we think we know what we want to do.
“We want to watch football all night long, from night til morning, have a bit of a sleep during day, have a bit of a yack during the day about it and then go and yack with the cameras on that night.”
Cilauro’s game plan is a bit of a dream job, as one third of the hosting team of Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever beginning on SBS ONE this Friday night. He is joined by fellow football tragics, Ed Kavalee and Sam Pang.
But these boys will need to pace themselves. After all, they are live on air every night of the competition, including weekends. That’s some 32 days virtually without a break. All this and bugger all planning from Working Dog?
“It reminds us very much of the ‘preparation’ we did for The Panel and in fact it actually reminds us a little bit more of The Late Show. We knew all we wanted to do was talk about the week’s events. We knew we’d have some kind of take on them even though they hadn’t happened yet, and just make it topical,” he says.
“We’ve tried very hard to control ourselves and not pre-record too many things. But we’ve done a little bit.”
Airing before a small audience inside the Australian Centre for the Moving Image at Melbourne’s Federation Square, the show will offer discussion, analysis and an irreverence for thirty minutes. The more serious commentary comes later with SBS legend Les Murray and a team on the ground in South Africa.
“We told SBS we want to watch the shows and we reserve the right to be silly at short notice,” says Cilauro.
“If there’s something that comes up or we might want to re-create something that happens overnight or get someone to make their observations about it, then we’ll try to make it happen on the day itself.
“We’ve got a production team that’s looking at us going ‘What are we doing?’ and I said ‘I dunno, just wait for it to start and then you can do something.'”
The show marks the first production by Working Dog for SBS which -despite little preparation- enjoys an envied trust with Australian audiences thanks to shows such as The Panel, Frontline, Thank God You’re Here, The Hollowmen and more.
“It’s no secret that we love doing live television and it stems from having done live radio for so many years at Triple M 15 years ago or whenever that was,” he says.
“The less you can prepare the better. We’ve got enough of produced television around and it’s all very good, no complaints about that. But every now and then you don’t mind something just a little bit more off the cuff.”
Cilauro says only limited footage has been filmed ahead of the live show, including some footage involving the Socceroos. Other ideas are still, unashamedly, a work in progress.
“We thought everytime somebody misses a goal we thought we could have a segment called ‘My Mother Could Have Scored That’ and get my mother to recreate the goal and see how she would have gone.
“But everytime we think of that we feel like we’re cheating because it hasn’t happened yet.
“It’s a bit of a leap of faith but Sam, Ed and I love the World Cup so much. People say to us ‘You must be getting excited now?’ But we’re so excited about the World Cup starting that we keep forgetting we’re doing a show.
“We would sit around and talk about the game regardless of whether there are cameras around us or not.”
Cilauro, who has attended the last three World Cup tournaments, says having the show on SBS was a natural fit given SBS is the host broadcaster. In an 8:30pm timeslot on a commercial broadcaster he says the pressure would be much greater.
But he also isn’t about to rest on Working Dog’s track record either.
“I don’t know whether ‘track record’ comes into it that much. We are perfectionists. I reckon come 32 days in we’ll still be unhappy with the product and I’m sure we’ll be saying ‘If we had a few more days we could get it right.’
“I don’t think there was a single day in the 8 years we did The Panel that we didn’t walk away saying ‘We should be able to do this better next week.’
“You know what, I think it’s going to be pretty bumpy for the first week or two, because we don’t quite know what the show is.”
With attention turning to Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever, Cilauro says the Working Dog team doesn’t plan to do another Thank God You’re Here this year.
“We really do want to do another series and we will, but we keep getting distracted by stuff,” he says.
“We do intend to do another series but we don’t know when. Hopefully next year. We would love to and Seven are really keen on it. I doubt very much that it will be this year.
“I think we want to get back on the film bike. There’s about 5 different scripts that we’re ready to go on but we just keep getting cold feet. Hopefully we’ll start shooting either late this year or early next year.
“But the two things that we’d definitely like to go back on are The Hollowmen and Thank God You’re Here.”
For now he is simply focussed on hooking up with Ed Kavalee and Sam Pang and cheering for the Socceroos.
“It’s going to be 32 days of relentless watching,” he says.
“It really is about passion, football and left field observations.”
Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever airs nightly at 8:30pm from Friday on SBS ONE.