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How a House Husbands star & Bondi Vet became a favourite TV duo

On paper it shouldn't have worked, but when Nine first paired Dr. Chris Brown & Julia Morris together, 10 liked what it saw.

On Sunday the 8th season of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here will conclude on 10, with a King or Queen of the so-called Jungle crowned once more.

And with it ends another season for irrepressible hosts, Julia Morris and Dr. Chris Brown, one of the more unlikely duos on screen.

It’s a pairing which on paper normally wouldn’t have seen the light of day. After all, she is a comedian / actor while he is a TV vet.

But it wasn’t 10 that first had the idea to pair both together, but an executive producer at Nine, Brent Williams.

Williams was producing the 2013 Logie Awards. Rumour has it Julia Morris, who was then appearing in Nine’s House Husbands, agreed to present as long as it was beside the best-looking man in television (…and who can blame her?)

“Walking out into the toughest room in television and delivering comedy that lands is almost impossible”

Stephen Tate, 10’s Head of Light Entertainment, recalls, “We were all in the room that night. We definitely saw that there was a comfort and a trust between the two of them. Walking out into the toughest room in television and delivering comedy that lands is almost impossible. And they did it. You can only do that if there’s trust between the two. So we thought ‘There’s something there’ but I wouldn’t like to say we knew 100% that we were going to get this enduring relationship.

“We are now eight years into one of our most successful franchises with them at the helm.”

A year later TV Week invited both back to announce the 2014 nominations (pictured) with both impressing seasoned media with more of their repartee.

“I wasn’t entirely sure we hadn’t gone so far from the brief we’d annoyed the Logies overlords”

“We’d presented a Logie the year before and there was a strange spark then,” says Dr. Chris Brown. “But then, to host the Logies Awards nominations lunch felt like just a one-off extension of what was a one-off. We’d been given what is essentially a long and relatively dry list of names and shows that could obviously have felt a little flat within a few moments. But we had this unspoken understanding we were going to change that. And seemed to instinctively fill gaps for each other and naturally set the other up for a laugh and add some colour and energy to the event. It turned into a fairly wild, unplanned ride but I wasn’t entirely sure we hadn’t gone so far from the brief we’d annoyed the Logies overlords. But weirdly they seemed delighted!”

Not long after 10 announced both as the hosts of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, an ambitious reality show screening Live from Africa to Australia. While Morris’ Live hosting skills were consummate, Dr. Chris was an astute choice to reassure the audience the use of animals was with due consideration.

“Chris is still very much at the forefront of the animal welfare on our show,” Tate confirms. “If we ever in doubt, we actually do reach out and speak to Chris about it. We work with the Animal Welfare League and the RSPCA, but having Chris’ expertise at hand is incredibly valuable to us.”

“We were accused of having the worst laugh track in television”

When it premiered in 2015 viewers saw the Bondi Vet holding his own in the comedy stakes, but were perplexed by the idea of hearing a smattering of laughter from a small on site crew.

“We spent two or three seasons trying to convince the audience that was really the crew laughing. We were accused of having the worst laugh track in television,” Tate recalls.

Tate describes their pairing as “lightning in a bottle,” acknowledging them for taking risks and the scripts by writers Matt Lovkis and Michael Ward.

“They basically inhabit the minds of Chris and Julia. Matt is on set and Michael is in the control room and essentially, in the screenings earlier. Really it’s the four of them that create the most incredible comedy,” he explains.

“It’s like we have a hotline into the hot mess of the other’s mind”

After 8 seasons, and a brief dalliance with Sunday Night Take-Away, it’s clear Nine’s casting idea has paid off for 10 with big dividends.

Both are now seamless hosts, with a chemistry that audiences see as authentic.

“Despite both approaching everything from a very different angle, we seem to have a deep understanding of where the other person is probably going to take it. It’s like we have a hotline into the hot mess of the other’s mind,” says Dr. Chris.

“Julia is a remarkably generous person”

“Live TV is perfect for ‘beautiful mistakes’ and sailing in and out of those storms is probably my favourite part of working alongside Julia.

“Julia is a remarkably generous person to just about everyone she comes across. And that’s something I’ve seen a lot here and in Africa. But it’s very under the radar…”

I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here final airs 7:30pm Sunday on 10.
NB: TV Tonight filing results Live AEDT.

13 Responses

  1. For me, they are the main act and the celebrity bits the fill ins. I wouldnt watch it if they wernt the hosts. Having said that i can see how othets might find julia annoying. I just think you either get her or you dont. I get het!

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