After getting his own national audience on Network Ten (the show had a short run on the Nine Network initially) for the talk show Rove Live, Rove McManus says his first goal for the program was simple.
"I was excited that my 10 mates could see it - that was a huge success," he says.
Rove Live soon became a breeding ground for Australian talent. People such as Carrie Bickmore**, Peter Helliar and comedy duo Hamish and Andy all started on the weekly show.
These names, in particular, have gone on to great TV success. Surely they owe him several beers as a thank you?
"Absolutely," Rove says. "Of course they do. I'll be seeing Pete tonight, so I'll remind him of that!"
Rove Live also became the must-stop show for visiting international talent. The affable host admits that soon it wasn't a case of the show's producers asking, "Could you please come on the show?" but Hollywood agents asking, "Will you have them on the show?"
"We'd get stars to detour to Melbourne, because we became the show to do, which I'm really proud of," Rove admits.
Looking back on his many TV WEEK covers, Rove says he fondly remembers celebrating his show reaching 10 years on air.
"We had so many shows up against us," he says. "Everyone would put up their big guns, like Grey's Anatomy, The Apprentice... I remember The Weakest Link was put up against us, too - all these big shows.
"I can't say we beat them every time, but we weathered the storm, and to last 10 years was a very, very big thing."
The father-of-one, and husband to actress Tasma Walton, is still very much involved in the Australian TV landscape. His production company, Roving Enterprises, produces the Logie-winning news panel show The Project.
With a wealth of TV knowledge, Rove comments on what he feels is lacking on Aussie screens at the moment: diversity.
"Without pointing fingers, there are a lot of very similar shows on air at the moment," he says.
"There are, of course, plenty of programs guests can turn up on, but there's no show dedicated to just that - light entertainment. And I think there's a hunger for it."
Read the full story in this week's issue of TV WEEK.
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