EXCLUSIVE: For just over 5 years Luke & Wyatt were kings of the kids, hosting Nickelodeon’s Camp Orange, Kid’s Choice Awards and Slimefest, before Seven had them as X Factor “Fan Factor” hosts.
But after a healthy dose of radio and television commitments, the duo seemingly vanished in 2016. Whilst the pair have not formally ‘split’ each is focussed on solo pursuits right now.
“Luke and I had worked together for 11 years so we got to the point that whenever one of us had a new idea we were a bit exhausted to bring it to the other,” says Nixon-Lloyd (pictured top left).
“So we found a lot of freedom performing in stand-up. It was a quick way to get a performance hit.
“We thought ‘What if we try doing stuff individually for a while?’ It made us both grow.
“We are very amicable and still working together constantly, sending things back and forth.
“But it’s not necessarily ‘This is a Luke & Wyatt project.’ So if I’m working on a project, then of the people I’m choosing to bring on board, Luke is one of the team.
“Luke is mainly focussing on solo stand-up, which is going really well.”
Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd met Luke Ryan at University, where they performed in stand-up and developing as a duo. There were several radio shows with Baby Boomers and Gen Y listeners before landing the Nickelodeon role and presenting for kids 7 -15.
It proved to be a win / win for both channel and talent, even upstaging seasoned professionals for an ASTRA Award- never condescending to the junior viewers. Stunt challenge show Camp Orange was a big leap from hosting cartoons and US comedies.
“Going from a green screen in the Nickelodeon office to having 50 crew in a paddock staring at you, crystallized that this was a big deal,” he recalls.
“We got really good at knowing our demographic and how to hit them. It’s the #1 rule: Never talk down to them.”
He remembers one Camp Orange: Wrong Town challenge on location that nearly went wrong for him.
“I was busting for the toilet but I was wearing a camera and microphone. So I said to the sound guy ‘I’m just going to jump into these bushes.’ But while I was peeing they shouted ‘Action!’ It was very clear I had just peed my pants so I quickly jumped in a puddle so that all of my pants were wet.”
Hosting stadium events the Kid’s Choice Awards and Slimefest the pair were rockstars to their fans.
“There were a few times we do something on social media but we had meetings with Nickelodeon where they would say ‘You can’t put that stuff online!’ So we were probably a bit edgy.
“But we had a really good relationship with them.
“Towards the end they said they were taking the channel in a new direction, and looking for new talent to host. So during that transition period we ended up producing and directing a series of videos for them. One ended up winning an international Promax Award. So it was a nice way to finish up.”
In 2015 Seven hired them as “Fan Factor” hosts for a companion show to The X Factor. Nixon-Lloyd speaks positively of experience, which lasted a season until the sponsor moved on.
“The difference between Free to Air versus Foxtel budgets was just incredible. It was great to go behind the scenes of a Reality show,” he says.
“We were very small fish in the X Factor pond but we had a great time. Because ours was a digital afterthought, less under the watch of network executives and EPs, we could get away with some pretty stupid jokes. And (the sponsors) were more flexible than Kids TV.”
Since ending duo performances Nixon-Lloyd has spent time in the US in comedy classes and teaching in Australia. Some of his former fans have even grown into students.
“I was teaching after-school drama but instead of doing classes I spent 2 hours answering questions about Nickelodeon,” he laughs.
“They were all young adults, but that was really nice.”
More recently he is working on Tonightly with Tom Ballard in dual roles as segment producer, warm-up guy or in sketches.
“When I was in the US I took a lot of interest in the late-night shows and was intern on a web show.
“I’m really enjoying doing whatever the show needs to be the best it can be: an extra in a scene, editing a clip, and more.
“It’s a great team and an honour to be in the room with them all.”
But to many younger viewers, Luke & Wyatt will always be the Nickelodeon guys they grew up with and doused them with slime.
“It was an absolute joy hosting for Nickelodeon. The more we worked for other people the more we realised how much flexibility they gave us in pitching ideas, changing the direction of the script,” he adds.
“They trusted us to know the flavour of the brand.”