Airdate: The Phone

By David Knox on December 11, 2008 / Filed Under Pay TV 7

Foxtel doesn’t often stray into gameshow land, but The Phone will offer $25,000 cash per episode when it premieres in January.

Hosted by actor Justin Melvey, the Dutch concept sees two phones ringing in an Australian city and unsuspecting members of the public are lured into a gameshow format via other clues that help them find the other player. It’s dubbed the show, “one city, two contestants, three hours.”

Episodes were filmed across Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and the Gold Coast. Foxtel says the intens format replicates “the look and feel of the smash hit franchises Bourne Identity and 24″ -a big call.

It airs Monday, January 19 at 8.30pm on FOX8.

Press Release:
A random phone rings in the city – would you pick up? Those who do find themselves plunged into the adventure of a lifetime as they star in THE PHONE, an exciting new reality series premiering exclusively on FOX8 on Monday, January 19 at 8.30pm.

Hosted by Justin Melvey, THE PHONE is a fast-paced, high-tech reality series in which two complete strangers are plucked from their daily lives to compete in a cat and mouse game like no other. Every week, two new contestants must work together, but ultimately compete against one another, for the chance to win $25,000.

Each one hour episode starts with two strategically placed mobile phones ringing at opposite ends of a major Australian city. Once answered, a mysterious guide (played by Melvey) gives contestants five seconds to decide if they want to play the game. If they accept, the competition begins immediately, throwing the two contestants into an intense race.

With an interesting back story himself, Melvey’s fictional character communicates and toys with the contestants via mobile phone, setting them tasks and giving them clues and hints to find the briefcase of cash. Meanwhile, crews track their every move, exploit and error – with each failed task chipping away at the cash prize.

THE PHONE is the first series in the world to combine reality with an enthralling fictional element, making the show an exciting, original format. Filmed with frenetic pace in a voyeuristic manner, THE PHONE replicates the look and feel of the smash hit franchises Bourne Identity and 24. Viewers will feel they’re part of an espionage thriller that is gripping to the very end.

THE PHONE is a successful Dutch format that has been picked up around the world, including the US where Justin Timberlake recently signed on to produce a local version for MTV.

In Australia, the eight-part series was produced by dSP Beyond for FOXTEL with Executive Producer Chris Berry (Project Greenlight Australia, He’s Coming South). Episodes were filmed across Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and the Gold Coast.

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7 Comments »

  1. David Knox January 19, 2009 at 10:58 pm -

    Yes it’s very tricky with daylight saving and Pay TV. Lucky it’s built on a model of repeats.

  2. Isabel Warcon January 19, 2009 at 10:49 pm -

    I waited all week to watch the phone for the first time at 8.30pm, only to discover that it actually started at 7.30pm Queensland time. I was very disappointed that I had missed it.

  3. elizabeth alsop January 19, 2009 at 10:18 pm -

    i just finished watching the phone and i think its the best show iv’e seen in ages i think its funny ,well thought out and i wish i could have found a phone ,i totaly love those kind of shows.

  4. Jennifer January 12, 2009 at 12:37 am -

    I’ve been watching promos for this on Foxtel. It’s got the right ingredients to be a hit – first time on tv concept, unscripted action, constant movement, different locations, real people put in extraordinary situations (what would you do for money) and the “delightful” Justin Melvey.

    PS Foxtel. If you ever do a season 2 and need a glamorous female co-host . Pick me! Pick me!

  5. Jacqui January 11, 2009 at 9:46 pm -

    Fantastic, I loved both ‘The Mole’ and ‘The Amazing Race’ to have something like this come out is just too good. Can’t wait.

  6. June January 9, 2009 at 12:20 pm -

    Sounds interesting

  7. francis December 12, 2008 at 5:52 pm -

    sounds really good

    can’t wait to watch it. i wish i had picked up a random phone

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