Q&A with ... Larry Emdur
You're about to take the helm of The Price Is Right for the third time. How did it come about?
The first call from Seven was looking for an expression of interest. It was a very short call. I don't know if they even finished the sentence before
I said yes. Then it went into how would it be done, what would it look like - there are 20 versions of the show around the world - and then they started to explain their vision for the reboot. It was a different format to the one we're used to. I was thrilled to be involved.
"I'm so thrilled about it" ... Larry Emdur.
Whenever the show is brought up in conversation you react like you're a kid. Why do you love it so much?
You answered the question yourself. It allows a nearly 50-year-old man to get kissed and cuddled and play games. It represents happiness, likeability and all those things you sometimes don't have the opportunity to do in television.
I take it you're not giving up your day job as host of The Morning Show?
That was one of the first questions. They've been clear about that and the schedule has been custom-built to allow for me to do both. And
I wouldn't have had it any other way. If they'd said The Price Is Right over The Morning Show, the answer would have been a short, sweet no.
You said this version of The Price Is Right would be different. What about the people who are looking for something familiar?
Absolutely. And that's been recognised. The people at Fremantle make some of the biggest game-show formats in the world, so they are well aware of that. It's still the game show it was: it has all the things you know and love about the show - the pricing games, the people coming ''on down'' and the playability at home, which is so essential for this format. But it's got a nice, New Age look to it. It makes terrific use of technology.
We've just lost Ian Turpie, who hosted The New Price Is Right for Seven. I understand you're planning a tribute in the first episode.
My first sit-down meeting with the producers was a few days after Turps passed away, so it was weighing heavily on my mind - where it was going and what we were doing and the history that was attached to that. So I said it would be nice to mention him and the reaction was an overwhelming ''absolutely''. It's just taking the opportunity to recognise an icon; to acknowledge his input and what he meant to the show. I'm very aware I'm swimming around in his shadow. I've been doing this show for 19 years and he hadn't done it for five or six years before that, so it was 30 years ago, and people were still calling out ''come on down'', so I think that says a lot about what he means to this show.
You've appeared on the US version of The Price Is Right. Was that slightly surreal?
That was an incredible moment for me and no one really gets it except for my game-show producer buddies. We were just shooting behind the scenes and Drew Carey called me out in the commercial break and introduced me to the audience and we did a little bit of schtick on stage, and then he asked if they wanted me to host the next segment. Within two minutes I was on stage on America's No.1 TV game show and it was totally bizarre.
You began your media career as a copy-boy at The Sun and The Sydney Morning Herald. Do you ever wonder about your career if you hadn't left newspapers?
Every single day. Seriously. When we signed this contract, my wife and I sat in the dark in the dining room having a glass of champagne and laughed at how ridiculous this all is. A high-school drop-out who failed everything finds himself in this position and I don't understand how it happened. I'm so thrilled about it but I'm not qualified to do anything I've ever done. What would I have done? I'd probably still be the world's oldest copy-boy.
Were the people at The Guide kind to you?
They were. And they taught me a lot - lessons I didn't know I was learning and I didn't understand until I'd left. About deadlines, working with cranky people, hung-over journalists, emptying ashtrays, making sure the toasted sandwiches arrived on time. They were good times. All the other copy-boys were doing shorthand; I just wanted to work overnight so I could go surfing during the day. That makes this position where I am now even more ridiculous.
The Price Is Right
Seven, weekdays, 5pm