Career

EXCLUSIVE: Grant Denyer on going for Gold, the end of Family Feud and his gorgeous girls

'I never expected to ever be nominated for a Gold Logie for a game show!'

By Bella Brennan

He's been dubbed the nicest guy on television and TV WEEK Gold Logie nominee Grant Denyer certainly lives up to his reputation.

With boundless amounts of energy and enthusiasm, you'd never tell the 40-year-old has just been through one of the most challenging periods of his professional life.

Ever the optimist, Grant's very much a glass-half-full kind of guy when discussing the recent axing of Network Ten's Family Feud game show.

"As the saying goes, 'to get where you're going, you need to leave where you've been,'" he wisely tells us.

In this exclusive interview, Grant talks to us about his "humbling" Gold Logie nomination, the secret weapon responsible for his incredible career and the three loves of his life, daughters Sailor, seven, Scout, two, and wife Chezzi Denyer.

Grant Denyer on his Gold Logie nomination

Despite having 22 TV WEEK Logie Award nominations under his belt, the presenter is still pinching himself over his Gold Logie nomination.

"It's really lovely and quite humbling. I never expected to ever be nominated for a Gold Logie for a game show. I didn't think that people held game shows in that regard," he says.

"It's been a total surprise! Obviously with the show finishing, the messages have just blown me away. I can't believe how much people have held the show in their hearts, they've been outraged [it's over]… they've sent me the nicest possible messages I've ever received in my entire life," he adds of the bitter-sweet timing with Family Feud finishing just days before the full list of TV WEEK Gold Logie nominees were announced.

"The whole thing is really overwhelming but lovely."

"It's really lovely and quite humbling," Grant tells us of his Gold Logie nomination.
"It's really lovely and quite humbling," Grant tells us of his Gold Logie nomination.

A very Aussie Logies

This year signals an exciting new chapter for the long-running award show, with the 60th TV WEEK Logie Awards uprooting from Melbourne and heading to the sunny Gold Coast as part of a four-year deal with the Queensland Government and Tourism and Events Queensland.

And Grant has big plans to fully embrace the change of scenery.

"Well, because it's on the Gold Coast now, limousines are so passé. I'm going to ride a dolphin to the red carpet. When the night's over, I'm going to jump on my moped in my thongs and boardies and ride down to the nightclub district with Tracy Grimshaw on the back," he laughs of hitting the town with his fellow Gold Logie nominee.

"Then you'll find us at 3am in Cavill Avenue, with me pushing Tracey down the street in a shopping trolley with a slab on my shoulder. We're gonna do it in spectacular Aussie style!"

Grant also has a word of warning for any celebs planning to let their hair down at the after party.

"If anybody does something silly, I'm recording it! That way, I've got leverage over either celebrities or television executives to ensure my employment for the next 15 years," he deadpans.

Grant, pictured with the stars in his category, wants to hit the town with fellow Gold Logie nominee Tracy Grimshaw.
Grant, pictured with the stars in his category, wants to hit the town with fellow Gold Logie nominee Tracy Grimshaw.

Farewell to Family Feud

If Grant does indeed win Gold on July 1st, he'll be using his time on the stage at The Star to thank the dedicated team who worked around-the-clock on Family Feud.

"The crew put more effort in than I did, and they put the show before their friends and families and loved ones, and I can't repay that," the Family Feud host explains.

Closing the curtain on the show Grant credits for saving his career proved to be one of the hardest things he's ever had to do.

"That last day of records was incredibly difficult. We had a rule where no one was allowed to say that it was the last day because otherwise I wouldn't have gotten through it. I would have broken down. It was really tough and very emotional," he admits.

"In fact for the very last show we recorded, we had to have two goes at the opening because I walked out the first time and just broke down in tears."

He adds: "I had to run back behind the set and have a little cry, get it out of my system, then I pulled myself together to finish the job. It took every bit of strength that I had because 1200 episodes, over four years is a major commitment. One of which I've cherished and enjoyed every single second."

Four weeks after Family Feud was put to bed, Ten announced the father-of-two had landed a brand-new hosting gig on the Australian version of Game Of Games, a unique entertainment show created and hosted by Ellen DeGeneres in the US.

"It's going to be off-the-charts crazy! It's only just gone to air in America and it's a massive hit," Grant vouches.

"It's basically crazy games on a monumental level. The lunacy is cranked up to an 11. It's silly stuff but in a stadium environment."

Grant's secret weapon

The other person Grant will be thanking if he walks away victorious at the TV WEEK Logie Awards will be his wife, Cheryl "Chezzi" Denyer, who he married in 2010.

"My wife is a massive part of my career and it's a great night for her to join me so we can celebrate it together. I would not have gotten here without her. She's incredibly strong, creative and supportive and she's built my career with me," he reveals.

"It's a great night for us to spend together and reward her for all the work she's put in."

The couple, who are based on a farm near Bathurst in NSW, first met when they worked together at Sunrise in 2005.

And for Grant, it was dislike at first sight.

"To be honest, we didn't really like each other at the start. I think we were really similar and we had really similar fears so therefore we actually clashed," he recalls.

"She was quite pushy in terms of how she thought I should do things and then I was a smart alec know-it-all who thought I knew better. There was a tug-of-war situation that went on for quite a while until one day, I brushed her hand accidentally and then I just felt this tingle from the top of my head to my toes just come over me."

"And it was from that exact moment that I realised, 'Oh my God, I can't live without this woman! I need her in my life forever!' and it was instant from that moment on. That was the moment and I still remember it to this day."

The amazing woman behind the man: Grant credits Chezzi for all his success.
The amazing woman behind the man: Grant credits Chezzi for all his success.

The Denyer dream team

Grant admits that working in TV comes with a unique set of challenges and credits Chezzi for being the ultimate backbone of his career.

"Because we worked together, we have a great understanding and love for the same industry. We kind of combined all of our skills and poured it into my career. And the cool thing about that is, she's got me a triple Logie nomination, which is lovely, and now she's expanding her own projects."

"She's working on Mummy Time, an online parenting platform which is a mum's resource where you can have a laugh about the good and the not-so-fun parts about being a parent. She's done an incredible job. I'm really proud she's doing her thing and making her mark."

"I've often felt guilty and uncomfortable that she's put so much time on my career because I don't feel it's healthy in the long-run for her. She needs to be doing stuff for her own soul but she likes to further the family. It's just team work!"

Grant's wife's online parenting platform *Mummy Time* has started making waves.
Grant's wife's online parenting platform Mummy Time has started making waves.

Meet the mini-Denyers

Becoming a father to Sailor and Scout is Grant's proudest achievement to date.

"They're very funny, cheeky and very compassionate and they've got that right amount of spunk about them," he tells Now To Love. "I'm totally besotted by them and in love!"

WATCH: Grant Denyer jokes about with his daughters. Post continues...

In fact, his little ones are already following in his motor racing footsteps and they already know how to drive.

"We've got a long drive way at home and Scout climbs in the front, sits on my lap and she steers down the driveway. At two years of age, that's pretty incredible!"

"I learnt at seven, Sailor drives on her own now and I taught her to drive properly at six. We do that on the safety on the farm. I think it's critical to learn how to drive as early as possible because it only make you a much safer driver."

As for whether they'll have a third child, Grant says "never say never."

"I don't know if we're done with kids or not? I'm blessed to have two gorgeous girls, who are so much fun. I don't need anything more in my life but we haven't exactly closed this door just yet."

Grant is the proud dad to two beautiful daughters, Sailor and Scout.
Grant is the proud dad to two beautiful daughters, Sailor and Scout.

Grant Denyer's career in numbers