Host with the most
National IQ Test host Eddie McGuire just loves live telly and has a message for hosts that rely too much on an autocues and earpieces.
2010 is just about as good as it gets for Eddie McGuire.
Collingwood won the AFL Grand Final, his MMM radio show is on the rise and Hot Seat has beaten Deal or No Deal every week since June except one.
Now Nine is reviving The National IQ Test, previously seen in 2003 and 2004. For McGuire, it’s another chance to do what he loves: hosting live television.
With the gift of the gab and the energy of working live to air, McGuire is in his element as one of television’s best live hosts.
He told TV Tonight live TV is the future of Free to Air television.
“It’s the only way to do it. Even with Millionaire we do it ‘as live.’ We roll the tape and just go. I just think it’s the best way. There’s the immediacy of it and you just get up and do it,” he says.
“The best first-run television is Live. If you’re doing something and it’s actually happening, and particularly if it’s got a particular reason for being, then it’s something that people want to talk about. People know it’s happening in real time, because we’ll talk about things that happened today. I always believe television is at its best when it’s being part of the community, part of the village.
“The reason why sport is at its best is because its live, it’s human drama unfolding in front of you. It’s the same with live variety shows.”
McGuire prefers to work without having to rely on an Autocue and instead seeks to familiarise himself with a rundown from working closely with a Producer.
“I tend to use them as a guide, but I would rather come out and just go off the top of my head. There’s a couple of reasons for that. It makes the host actually know the show they’re going to host as opposed to standing there mouthing words,” he says.
“Somebody told me the other day there seems to be a greater incidence of hosts now who are being literally talked into their earpieces by Producers. They may as well be store dummys. It’s led to a few mistakes in recent times from what I’m led to believe.
“That might be one way of doing things, but I’m of the belief that if you’re paying somebody to be the host then it’s their job to host it. If the host is worth their money at all then they’ve got to be able to put something into it rather than just standing there and being a warm microphone stand.”
For The National IQ Test, McGuire is joined by co-host Livinia Nixon. The studio will feature a grandstand of various groupings: WAGs, tradies, entrepreneurs, sports fanatics, Generation Y, and impersonators. Viewers will be again be able to participate at home, but unlike 2004 this time it faces new technological challenges.
“What we have to be careful of is with the various timezones that people aren’t looking at Twitter and getting the answers ahead of time,” McGuie saud. “They can if they like, it doesn’t worry us but it’s nice if people actually do the Test as it should be. There’s no point cheating on your own IQ Test I wouldn’t have thought.”
The two hour show’s own test will be its competition on rival networks. McGuire is pragmatic about some of the big guns it faces.
“It’s a hot timeslot, but we just hope that people will get in and enjoy it. Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation is a fantastic show, and Packed to the Rafters is a tremendous show, particularly at the moment. If it was coasting along then it certainly had a big show last week and a talking point with the funeral accordingly. But it’s (IQ Test) there for people to come along and enjoy it.”
If there was any downside to his professional year, one would surely have been the cries of homophobia after a live TV gag with Mick Molloy during the Winter Olympics.
He eventually resolved any differences with activist Gary Burns, who later withdrew an Anti-Discrimination Board complaint. McGuire concedes it was worth being the target of criticism if it resulted in a better outcome for a communal agenda.
“We could have been throwing rocks at one another but we sat down and had a cup of coffee and found out we had a lot more in common than what divided us. In fact, very little that divided us. I understood where he was coming from in having to throw a few bombs for the good of his cause. But if the upside of all the hoo-haa is that there are a few kids out there who believe they’ve got a support system behind them then it’s all worthwhile,” he says.
Meanwhile he is also looking ahead to 2011 amid rumours he will be the new host of This is Your Life.
“I’m sure the dashing, intelligent, good-looking, erudite, suave, sophisticated host they choose will do a good job, whoever that may be,” he jokes.
“I think they’re looking for the host to be undercover a little bit so they can do a few stings without it being given away.”
The National IQ Test airs 7:30pm Tuesday on Nine.