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Jonathan LaPaglia on the pressure of being the host of Australian Survivor

Plus, he tells us how many push-ups he really does before being on camera.

By Amber Giles
When Jonathan LaPaglia took on the role of host on Australian Survivor last year, he knew he had to impress the franchise’s incredibly passionate and vocal fan base.
But there was another person – even more important to him than the viewers, network executives and critics – he was desperate to get approval from.
So who is it that holds more sway than all the above? Jonathan’s beloved 12-year-old daughter, Tilly.
As parents the world over can attest, you’re never seen as cool in the eyes of your own children.
“I now have some street cred with her buddies at soccer,” Jonathan tells TV WEEK during a chat in Samoa as season two of the popular reality series nears its finale.
Jonathan and his actress wife, Ursula

“A couple of girls on her team are huge Survivor nuts,” he grins. “I think I need to take the snuffer [the item used to extinguish a contestant’s torch when voted out] from the set and give it to her!”
As cameras started to roll on season two of Australian Survivor, Jonathan’s priority was making sure there weren’t too many bumps in the road throughout the season.
“I was exhausted by the end of the first season,” he says. “I mean, I’ve never, ever done a job like this before. I learned that it’s much harder than it looks. [US host]
Jeff [Probst] is so good at it that he makes it look very simple. I didn’t find it simple at all. So it was a very steep learning curve.”
Jonathan adds it was a case of “damned if I do, damned if don’t” when it came to emulating legendary host Jeff.
He’s also aware many fans thought last season’s contestants needed to be more strategic in their game playing.
“It’s easy to sit back and say, ‘Ah, you should’ve done this and you should’ve done that’,” Jonathan explains. “Everyone’s an armchair expert.

“There were a number of players last year who didn’t know anything or much about the game. And, personally, I find that refreshing. That’s how the original US show started out – nobody really knew what the game was about.
“As a viewer, you watch them discover the game. I like that part of it.”
While this year’s hopefuls are already boasting they are bigger and better than previous competitors, Jonathan warns they can’t start practising their final Tribal Council speech just yet.
“This season is just a different dynamic,” he teases of the final days.
Meanwhile, as fans of the show are well aware, Jonathan’s impressive biceps have their own following. Last season, many viewers took to social media to comment about how fit he looked.
“They think as soon as the camera pans off me, I’m doing push-ups!” he says.
So does he?
“No!” he laughs.
For the full story, pick up this week’s issue of TV WEEK.

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