celebrity

The Masked Singer was no accident: Osher Günsberg has some of the best instincts in TV.

When ads started dropping for The Masked Singer, Australian audiences collectively cocked our heads, squinted our eyes and wondered why on earth anyone would think such a concept would work on free-to-air television.

Then, on the night it premiered, over 1.5 million of us tuned in.

The show is Network 10’s highest rating program of the year – and it’s no coincidence at all that its host is Osher Günsberg.

For almost 20 years, the 45-year-old, who started his career in broadcasting, has had impeccable instincts for what will work on Australian television. It’s a skill that has rewarded him with a unique strand of longevity in the entertainment industry, and opportunities which will see him appear on Network 10 four out of seven nights this week.

Of course, those appearances aren’t including his bi-weekly podcast, or his role as the voiceover for Bondi Rescue.

Here’s Osher’s latest TV conquest, The Masked Singer. Post continues after video.

Video by The Masked Singer

So how is he so good, you might ask?

In an interview with Tanya Hennessy on his podcast Better Than Yesterday, he admitted that he does certain things or says certain things while hosting purely for the edit room or the capacity for meme-age.

Because he knows that’s how shows gain traction in 2019. 

Whether it’s intentional or not, Günsberg’s commentary of his own shows has become iconic on social media, leading to a cult following.

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But his TV genius pre-dates even The Bachelor, with his huge success hosting Australian Idol from 2003. In 2004, he was nominated for a Silver Logie, and he continued to co-host the show with James Mathison up until 2009, when he hosted solo for one season.

If you look back at Osher’s TV conquests – he was the host for all seasons of Australian Idol, The Bachelor and Bondi Rescue – three of the arguably biggest free-to-air shows we have on Australian TV.

In fact, Osher pretty much hosts the only shows Australians tune into free-to-air to watch.

In his podcast episode with Jackie O Henderson, the KIIS radio host gushed with praise after watching and working with Osher in the flesh during The Masked Singer.

“You blow my mind how crazy good you are in this role and how you belong in this role – on a stage, on live TV. You’re brilliant at it. I tell everyone and anyone about how impressive you are,” she said.

Osher then said that he thinks the The Masked Singer “will run a while,” and we are not doubting that prediction given his track record.

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Osher and the judges (Dannii Minogue, Dave Hughes, Lindsay Lohan and Jackie O) from the Masked Singer. Image: Ten.
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But the charismatic TV host didn't have the easiest road to success. In fact, after his stint on Idol he found himself jobless.

"I had no job and I was paying rent out of my savings in a foreign country," he told Now To Love.

"People think it's this glamorous industry – 'Oh, Osher must live in a mansion,' he added. "I live in a three-bedroom apartment with my two kids and my dogs."

At age 20, Osher threw himself into the world of radio doing midnight-to-dawn shifts at a station in Brisbane before moving to an afternoon shift and then getting a gig on Channel V, which was the start of his TV career.

But TV is a fickle business, and in 2013, the 10 weeks that was season one of The Bachelor was the then 39-year-old's only paid work that year.

Perhaps that's why Günsberg works so unmistakably hard - because he knows what unemployment looks like.

At the same time, it's likely his instincts are so strong because he appears to genuinely love what he does.

You can see it in his hosting style, you can see it in his Tweets that he fires off religiously when his show is on air. You can pretty much see it exuding off him in waves of pure joy whenever he is asked about or talks about what he does - and Australia has rewarded him for it.

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Günsberg has managed to crack the code for Australian prime time TV, and it's no accident.

It takes remarkable skill to make television look so easy.

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