SBS reveals Jennifer Byrne as Australia’s Mastermind quizmaster

Mastermind will be returning to Australian screens after a 34-year absence, with SBS selecting TV host and journalist Jennifer Byrne as quizmaster.

The show will see Byrne take the iconic Mastermind chair and give contestants two minutes to answer as many questions as possible on their chosen specialist subject.

Byrne will be taking the iconic Mastermind chair

Specialist subjects will include everything from Australian parrots to the Harry Potter series, John Cusack to the Whitlam government dismissal, Wicked: The Musical to women in Australian rallysport and everything in between.

From there, the contestants will advance to a general knowledge round and the person with the highest combined score becomes the winner.

Weekly finals will see one person advance to the semi-finals and eventually compete against other winners at the end of the season for the prestigious title of Australia’s Mastermind.

SBS director of TV and online content Marshall Heald said the network is thrilled to bring the show to Australian screens and is confident it will be a winner with quiz lovers.

“We’re delighted to bring Australian audiences an entertaining and intelligent point of difference in the 6pm free to air slot with the truly iconic Mastermind – and who better to oversee proceedings than the inimitable Jennifer Byrne, who brings brains, gravitas and warmth to the role – a killer trifecta,” said Heald.

Mastermind is a beloved quiz show format, with versions running in several countries around the world, SBS said. In the UK it has run for nearly 50 years and was originally inspired by creator Bill Wright’s experiences of being interrogated by the Gestapo during World War II. It is a BBC UK format and is produced for SBS by BBC Studios.

Byrne said she was excited to be part of the ‘gold standard’ format.

“As an avid devotee of games and quizzes, being a quizmaster for Mastermind – the gold standard of its breed – is a huge thrill. I’m looking forward equally to drilling the contestants with tough questions – and sharing a friendly chat about their weird and wonderful specialist topics,” said Byrne.

Byrne has had a long career in Australian media, working across print, radio and TV. She was a founding reporter with Nine’s Sunday programme and spent 12 years traveling the world for 60 Minutes and as anchor for Foreign Correspondent.

The show will air on weeknights on SBS, premiering at 6pm Monday April 15 and will be available on SBS On Demand.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.