“I suppose if you’re sitting in your lounge room watching Channel Seven you’re probably thinking ‘That Larry Emdur boy’s on a lot!’” laughs Larry Emdur.
He’s not wrong. As co-host of The Morning Show, Emdur is on air 13.5 hours a week. From today he adds another 2.5 hours as host of the rebooted game show The Price is Right.
Has he ever worked so much in his career?
“I feel incredibly lucky because everything they’re asking me to do, being The Morning Show and The Price is Right, I love, love to do. So I don’t feel like I’m working,” he says.
“I’m not sitting there slugging it out, I’m having a ball.
“I said to Seven ‘I’m happy to talk to you about The Price is Right but in no way, shape or form can it interfere with The Morning Show.’ I feel incredibly loyal to that show and love that show.
“But it’s a ten minute drive to the studio, and we do an afternoon and evening record and they’ve put in a nice lounge in my change room fo power naps. So they’ve made it very simple!”
Emdur previously hosted the game show from 2003 – 2005 and 1993 – 1998, both times on Nine. But he follows former host Ian Turpie and Garry Meadows in a trusty format that has also aired on both Seven and TEN.
Despite his other TV projects, it is Price which the audience still associates him most with.
“There’s been The Main Event, Cash Bonanza, and Wheel of Fortune even. But this one was a long time and very successful so I suppose people have fond memories of it,” he says.
“It’s been part of peoples’ lives at some point whether they were parents and are now grandparents or whether they were kids watching who have now grown up or they were at university watching it for pretty girls in bikinis. Everyone has a link to this old thing.
“I’m so proud to have been associated with such a pop culture icon.”
Price has always been an equal-opportunity game show, putting not just pretty girls in skimpy bikinis beside holiday prizes, but hunky men in speedos and overalls. The last season saw male model Frank Raco become the darling of housewives across Australia simply for standing beside a ski jet or lawn mower.
“Frank was outrageously popular,” laughs Emdur.
Rest assured there are male and female models once again, plus surprise celebrities and new voice-over guy, Brodie Young (Big Brother, Quizmania)
“Brodie is the new ‘Come on Down’ guy! He’s very good at it and he has lots of fun and it’s a very interactive role this time as per the French version. He’s all over the set, running up and down, involved in prizes, he jumps in a spa when he’s giving that away. He’s really doing great.”
So what is the secret to its success with middle Australia? The variety in its games? The fact that an audience member can win thousands of dollars in prizes simply by attending a record?
“With all successful game shows there has to be a playability so that if you’re sitting on your lounge you’re thinking ‘I can get into this.’ I think Price is globally recognised as being one of the leaders in that format,” Emdur explains.
“It’s a concept where you always feel you can do better than the person playing. Everyone is an expert until they’re on the set doing it.
“But it’s fun. If you’ve had a long, hard day, the news is coming up you can just relax with Price and Deal and just have fun.”
Emdur says the set for the new series is his favourite of them all. Modelled on the French version, it is deliberately glitzy. There are also new games: Check Out, Hi Low and Plinko.
“Plinko is a larger than life game where people have to walk up 20 stairs and drop these big coins. It’s very funny,” he says.
And the ever-popular Cliffhangers is back.
“When I first hinted on Twitter that this was coming back I must have got 200 tweets ‘is the yodeling guy coming back?’” he laughs.
“We’ve dropped the dog but he’s got a whole range of outfits now. He will change with the seasons because he has a summer outfit, a winter outfit, and Mardi Gras week we’ll dress him up. He’s like a Ken Doll now!”
Such is the enthusiasm for Price that a tweet Emdur sent out for audience members netted him 6,800 responses alone.
“It’s been overwhelming. It’s taken me totally by surprise, the amount of affection there is for this programme. Not me, but this programme and what it means to people. I hope it translates to ratings and success,” he says.
“I’ve been involved in launches for many, many show but I’ve never seen anything quite like this.”
If you are attending a shoot in Sydney, Emdur recommends the best way to be selected to appear as a contestant is to impress producers in the meet and greet screen test before the show. But be warned, you have limited time to prove you are lively and relaxed, without being fake.
“During that few seconds you have with a producer they’re looking for TV stars. I’ve always said the contestants are the stars, not the host or the games. So we’re looking for people who can carry it. That doesn’t need much. The producers will say ‘How are you today?’ and at that point you’ve got to say something fun or have a great T-shirt on or have a great story, because I’m relying on you very heavily for this show,” he says.
“During the show we’re watching as well. So if somebody is a stand out yelling and screaming during the game, we may think ‘That’s a character we’ve got to have on the show.’”
But nostalgia aside, Price is back for one reason alone: to lift Seven’s early evening audience in the run up to Seven News. Together with Deal or No Deal, Seven is looking for a game-show led recovery.
Emdur has been around long enough to know about the business in ‘show business’, but is optimistic he is up to the task.
“If we do our job which is to bring people in at 5:00 then everyone enjoys the fruits of that. So that would be a good thing across the network and deliver a better audience to Deal.”
The Price is Right airs 5pm weeknights on Seven.