I’m A Celebrity’s EP on reuniting with South Africa and farewelling Chris Brown

This Sunday, Ten’s long-standing series ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ has a bittersweet return to South Africa, its first post-COVID, while it also gears up for its final series with its host of almost a decade, Dr Chris Brown.

When asked about what returning to production overseas has been like, Ten’s head of entertainment and executive producer of ‘I’m A Celebrity’, Stephen Tate, told Mumbrella: “Um, you mean returning to the birthplace of life as we know it and the spiritual home of ‘I’m a Celebrity’? It has been fantastic.”

Stephen Tate

KIIS FM’s national drive host Woody Whitelaw was the first celebrity revealed this year as the guessing game continues with celebrity clues drip-fed through Ten’s marketing and publicity channels.

The program pulled back from filming the last two seasons at the traditional location of South Africa due to COVID-related considerations. However, local production was not without its challenges.

While filming the eighth season in Dungay, New South Wales, a crew member of ‘I’m a Celebrity’ who tested positive for COVID plunged the Local Government Areas of Kempsey, Byron and Tweed into lockdown.

Tate acknowledged that the unique experience during COVID “changes the level of scrutiny” that the show put into every single production.

“It really does make you analyse everything that you’re doing. But South Africa opened up very early, and so they’re in quite an advanced stage,” he said.

Checking in with Mumbrella in 2021, Tate was nevertheless upbeat about the potential of a local premise for ‘I’m a Celebrity’. He went as far as to say that “the audience is responding so strongly to an Australian version that you would have to question whether you would return to Africa”.

The show’s 2021 season premiered to 1.031 million metro viewers, while the 2022 launch brought in 794,000 metro viewers.

When asked about what contributed to the decision to return overseas in the end, Tate said it was due to the prospect and excitement of bringing back the live format.

“With the time difference that South Africa presents us, and the excitement of the animals and the jungle over there, and most importantly, being able to go live again, just give the show a dynamic and excitement that you can’t replicate with a pre-recorded show.”

Co-hosts Dr Chris Brown and Julia Morris

In terms of the replacement for Dr Chris Brown, who has been hosting ‘I’m A Celebrity’ since its conception and will join Seven Network in July, Tate said Ten “will cross that bridge after the finale”.

“We’re concentrating on this year and we’re enjoying having Chris and Julia together for one more season.

“I have to say, it is one of the most hotly contested roles in Australian television. I’ve had so many people, you name names, I’ve had them reached out to see what we’re doing but honestly, we’re doing nothing until we finished the season.”

On the commercial aspect, furniture brand Bedshed has returned for the fourth year as the show’s major partner, alongside new sponsors including Harris Scarfe.

Head of Paramount ANZ brand studio, Michael Stanford, said: “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! is one of the most integrate-able formats on free-to-air TV, offering bands unrivalled exposure in an unexpected but brand-safe and family friendly environment.”

Accompanied by a two-minute musical ad, the program will be publicised across large format outdoor, retail, street furniture, radio, print, digital and social media, community events and sports activations, alongside Ten’s owned communication channels.

Senior vice president of content and programming, Daniel Monaghan, Paramount ANZ said: “We’re doubling down on the fun and coordinated chaos of the show, ramping up the joy we still feel of being able to travel and go overseas, leaning into the stomach churns of our food challenges and focusing on the freak outs with the creepy crawlies.

“We’ve also leveraged a competition on 10 Play for audiences to guess the celebrities with $10,000 up for grabs. So, we’re making sure our viewers are pumped for this Sunday 2 April when it will be revealed just who is going to the jungle.”


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