“I actually thought they should bring somebody new into host it”

When Sonia Kruger left Nine to join Seven it was to join Australia’s Got Talent, Holey Moley and Olympics coverage.

She had not expected to return to Big Brother, but CEO James Warburton had other ideas.

“I knew that Seven were looking at bringing the show back and I actually thought if they change the format they should bring somebody new into host it,” she tells TV Tonight.

“I totally got that and it was never really part of my plan or desire. But it was after I signed and technically started at Seven in January, that James Warburton called me and said, ‘We want you to host Big Brother.'”

But she had concerns over whether a pre-recorded series would work until Endemol Shine outlined their plan.

“They explained to me the concept and that was it, I was in!

“I was skeptical along with everybody else about the fact that it wasn’t going to be live”

“I was skeptical along with everybody else about the fact that it wasn’t going to be live and it was going to be pre recorded. How would the purists accept that?

“In fact it has given them the ability to finesse every episode so that it has an outcome with an eviction.

“20 years ago we would watch someone sitting around having a chat. We didn’t have as many options as we have now in terms of viewing. There was no Netflix, no Stan, Disney or subscription on demand.

“It had to change and it was such a risky thing to do. That saying, no guts, no glory.”

“There have been moments during challenges where I’ve yelled at the television”

Indeed. Whilst some purists have held firm on a ‘live’ Big Brother the show has nevertheless found an audience and proven a gamble that paid off.

“There are moments where I have laughed out loud and moments where I’ve cried… when when they brought Chad’s dog Buddy in. There have been moments during challenges where I’ve yelled at the television, like the Melbourne Cup.,” she recalls.

“I just love it’s got that emotional range to it now.”

Kruger says the show also turned away from casting personalities who flock to the Reality TV genre, noting the range of contestants from 19 – 61, as well as introvert and extroverts.

“You have natural stars who come through. Angela was one of those people that just commanded attention,” she continues.

“He looked like a young Brad Pitt to me. But he was actually very reserved.”

“Some people described Xavier as like ‘baby Chris Hemsworth.’ He looked like a young Brad Pitt to me. But he was actually very reserved. In some of the eviction chats, I had difficulty getting anything out of him. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.

“Ian wanted to be in the show because he wanted to expand his social skills, and that made him somehow compelling. So, you don’t have to be an extrovert to get attention.”

But there were also criticisms, including three non-white contestants evicted in a row, questions around the editing of storylines, and a focus on Survivor-like challenges at the expense of social games. Kruger says all feedback will be put on the table for consideration for a 2021 series, including whether challenges favour those most physically fit.

“Maybe that’s a case of having those dinner parties with certain topics… to get more of a picture of where people sit in a social, ethical aspect.

“There may be more more mental challenges, more endurance challenges, that requires skill rather than physical strength.”

There are 4 remaining contestants in the running for the remaining $234,000 prize: ‘Bromancers’ Dan & Mat plus ‘Romancers’ Sophie & Chad.

Voting will open tonight  at bigbrother.com.au and closes during the live (AEST) Grand Final on Wednesday. Rehearsals get underway today for the Kruger-hosted finale at Eveleigh.

Travel arrangements are due to see all housemates except Melbourne mummy blogger Zoe George and dance teacher Laura Coriakula reunited, with a studio audience of around 70 in line with NSW COVID guidelines. Amelia Fisk is producing for Endemol Shine with Andrew Backwell and Michael Pell overseeing for Seven.

“I’m looking forward to it because it’s live, so you can go off-script”

“I’m looking forward to it because it’s live, so you can go off-script and there’s not much anyone can do about it!” Kruger laughs.

“Having said that I’m a big believer that less is more of me, these days. I wouldn’t like to see more of me in Big Brother because it’s not about the host, it’s about the people in the house. And I often joke with Amelia Fisk, ‘Please never hold a shot on me for longer than three seconds.’

“It’s that old showbiz adage: Leave them wanting more.”

Big Brother airs 7:30pm Tuesday and Wednesday on Seven.

16 Comments:

  1. Lol Sonia hasn’t done “live and dangerous” since her days on Dancing With the Stars. Since she hosted BB back on Nine she was so heavily reliant on the script word for word and instruction “To the audience” and never went off it!
    Highly doubt her comment above is even a possibility. She doesn’t seem to have the confidence these days sadly

      • True! But like I said, she doesn’t have the ability to think on her feet and go off script. Today Extra is also heavily scripted.

        My point is that Sonia isn’t able to think on her feet and go off script like Gretel had that capability to do. If we look back when live muck ups happened – ie the powecut during the second last eviction in 2004, Gretel had nothing to go on. But she held that show and kept it going without a script, if it was Sonia today she would fumble.

        I like her, my issue is that she used to be “rogue” and go off script in the DWTS days and her quick one liners were fantastic. She appears to have lost then when she left that show.

  2. seems like the most common, and valid complaints have been:
    Too much strategy and gameplay chat, even when it is not that interesting and the game plays out exactly how everyone expects.
    Not enough getting to know the housemates.
    Need to cast more Angelas with naturally big personality and less people that seems like they are from a casting agency and are constantly battling to uphold a profile.
    Episodes become too formulaic, shake it up a bit more with some more twists.
    Far too much contact with the outside world, they are getting a call every second episode.
    Generally feel like they have had it easy, more psychological torture and moral dilemmas.

    • daveinprogress

      I agree with a lot of your comments although not more torture! The casting was somewhat lacking. As Sarah the eliminated contestant said she was competing with a former AFL star, an international model and a gymnast. All seem comfortable with cameras and the artifice of it. What she didn’t say was that Mat is a seasoned tv performer. I stumbled across repeats of Think Tank he was one of the regular brains on it. Yet he’s been painted as an ordinary bloke from mining in Broken Hill.

      More Alans and Ians. Raw and unaccustomed to the medium. Angela was great, unsure if she had any media experience. A natural.

  3. I think the the new BBAU has been rough around the edges but this format has so much potential.

    But the biggest thing that needs improving is the casting – of course there’s the issue of diversity (to avoid the awkward fact that all people of colour were voted off at the earliest opportunity – Angela, was fake evicted after having won immunity/nomination power for two episodes)

    But the cast should be truely competitive and know that BB is now a game show – who’s bloodthirsty and money hungry for to backstab … who will do whatever it takes to win.

    Plus, why so many boring people – if Zavier wasn’t giving you much content and was quiter, then why was he put on the cast.

  4. Good interview. I’ve never been a fan of Sonia hosting BB but am interested to read her take on things. I’ve found myself fast forwarding through her chat with the housemates these last couple of weeks because it’s always just the same mundane questions like “How important was it for you to win today’s challenge?” 🥴😴

    I hope they mean it when they say all feedback will be put on the table. Specifically on this site, we know what we’re talking about.

  5. The Things I've Seen.

    Love this interview.
    As one of the “purists” of Big Brother I have to admit that I enjoyed this series for the most part. Yes, I still would prefer if the show was live, but in light of Covid, I’m glad it wasn’t, otherwise this year we wouldn’t get the payoff or resolve a series like this needs. (I.e. Crowning a winner.)
    That being said, I do hope once they begin looking at the feedback, they will make it live once more, give the audience some sort of power throughout the entire series. Say, all housemates vote first, the three with the most votes are nominated, then all housemates participate in a power of veto comp to remove one person from the lineup, and then it goes to the public.
    I hope next year there is more emphasis on the housemates and having conversations. I think they aren’t giving the public enough credit in saying we aren’t happy watching people talk.
    I also…

  6. I much preferred Big Brother with live evictions. Merlin coming out with his mouth gaffer taped and a banner and Bree Amer being wrongfully evicted were great memories.

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