Andy Lee steps outside his comfort zone for Ten’s new show The Cube

The Ten Network is betting big that Andy Lee's star power can make UK-created gameshow, The Cube, a success in Australia. Mumbrella's Zanda Wilson caught up with the host to find out what drew him to the project.

Ten’s new game show The Cube premieres this evening at 7:30pm, with radio and television personality Andy Lee as host.

The show is going up against Nine’s proven Married At First Sight, which returned to just under a million metro viewers earlier this week.

Ten will be wagering that with the effervescent Lee at the helm, that the concept, which has already aired over ten seasons from 2009 to 2015 in the UK as ‘The Million Pound Cube’, will really kick off in Australia.

The Cube premieres tonight at 7:30pm on Ten

It’s also Lee’s first foray into television without Hamish Blake and outside of their production company Radio Karate (aside from appearing as a judge on Nine’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation).

Much like Lee’s famed radio show (and now podcast) with Blake, The Cube looks set to appeal to the everyday Aussie, taking everyday tasks and turning them into challenges.

And if his infectious sense of humour comes through as much in the show as it does in our interview, the show will be properly funny as well.

“Firstly, I’d have to direct them inside to an elevator,” he says, deadpan, after I ask him what his elevator pitch for the show would be.

“And as soon as I got in there, I’d say a mixture of skill games and memory games, that are played inside a perspex box, giving you a chance to win a quarter of a million dollars.

“You’ve got nine lives to make your way through seven games, to get to the quarter of a million. And every time you want to continue, you have to risk it all.”

The Cube isn’t a gameshow in the traditional sense. Knowledge counts for little, with tests coming in the form of what may seem like simple tasks, such as catching, balancing, memorising, and reacting, in a 4m x 4m x 4m clear box.

Lee, who is also an executive producer on the show, says one of the things that will make the show stand out is the way it is shot, with 140 cameras surrounding the cube to capture every moment in breathtaking slow-motion.

“There’s a lot of action. The way it’s shot is incredible. The technology is insane. 140 cameras on this thing, like something you’d see in The Matrix,” he says.

“So the way these games are covered is a cut above anything else I’d seen. That was one of the things that really excited me about it.

“So if there are any deficiencies in the hosting, they’ve made up for it with technology and cameras, with 140 cameras Channel 10 probably didn’t have too much faith in the host.

“With other game shows I don’t think you get the same sort of action, Millionaire, The Chase… going back further to Wheel Of Fortune, Sale Of The Century, there’s nothing physically happening.

“There are memory challenges, but they all have a physical element which changes it. You have to risk all your money every time you want to play on. So you get to see the game before you decide whether you’ve got the skill to pull it off, again that’s something unusual in gameshows.”

After a string successful projects like Caravan Of Courage, True Story, and more recently, Perfect Holiday, why is it now that Lee is stepping outside of Radio Karate, which he runs with Blake, as well as Ryan Shelton and Tim Bartley?

“It’s the first time I’ve stepped away from doing our productions, and I love the productions that Hamish and I put together with Tim and Ry. So it was going to take a pretty big concept or something that I really loved to step away from, from the energy I’m putting into those shows and do something outside of Radio Karate.”

As it turns out, there’s also a personal reason behind Lee’s connection to the show.

“I love skill games. My whole life growing up, Dad would always have little challenges going for us. Estimation games, and a lot of spatial awareness games, blindfolded games.

“When I’m doing the laundry with my girlfriend, generally it’s dividing the whites and the colours is some type of game, or whether we can land it in the laundry basket. And this format had all that for me, and then back to that technology – it looks cool!”

The Cube was filmed in Sydney when COVID-19 was still impacting travel with restrictions on gatherings and borders. As a result, Lee says he ended up having to stay up in Sydney for longer than he planned, because if he went back to Melbourne, he wouldn’t have been able to return.

“Everything was COVID safe, and from a production point of view I found that a little sad,” he says.

“Every single person wore a mask the entire time. I was one of the only ones that didn’t have to while I was performing. But I had a COVID test every single morning – a rapid test at 8:45 with the doctor at my house every day while I was in Sydney.

“That was mainly for a level of comfort for myself and the contestants.

“So there were those extra protocols… the main thing was I didn’t get to see everyone’s faces. I love working on shows, and the crew vibe is really important.”

“Basically I only got to see people’s faces when we had a beer afterwards and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, that’s what you look like’,” he laughs.

“The crew was 110 people and all of them had to follow those protocols. And they worked through it with a smile on their faces.”

So what is Lee hoping for in terms of the show’s performance? Will Australia warm to The Cube straight away?

“If it doesn’t get 22 million on the first night… well, obviously we expect three million Australians will have something else on. So we can’t be greedy and go for the full 25 million.

“So we’re just left with a safe number of 22 mil, I’d be surprised if we don’t get that.”


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