Celebrity Families

Australian Ninja Warrior’s Ben Fordham says family life is better since he left breakfast TV

'My mornings changed from grabbing a coffee on the way to the studio, to having breakfast at home with the kids'

Anyone who has worked in breakfast television will agree on one thing: the hours are brutal. You're up very early in the morning to head to the studio, and by early evening you're exhausted. It's the kind of job you can't do forever.
Ben Fordham knows that better than most. He was part of the Today show team – alongside co-hosts Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson, newsreader Georgie Gardner and entertainment editor Richard Wilkins – for four years, until 2014.
"As much fun as it was being there with Karl, Lisa, Georgie and Dicky every morning, it's a lot more fun now," the 41-year-old tells TV WEEK.
"My mornings changed from grabbing a coffee on the way to the studio, to having breakfast at home with the kids."

Ben and wife Jodie Speers, who are parents to three-year-old son Freddy and 21-month-old daughter Pearl, know the pressures of balancing work and raising a family.
But Ben reveals he was thankful to get a reality check early on in his career.
"When I started out in TV, I wanted to be a 60 Minutes reporter," he recalls. "Some of the cameramen said to me, 'Mate, I've missed six of the last 10 birthdays' or 'I didn't get to go to my daughter's birthday for the first five years.'
"They said it with a degree of warning and I quickly realised it wouldn't be for me."
That's not to say Ben's life has slowed down. He's still the Nine Network's go-to guy, as well as fronting a radio show for 2GB and co-hosting a new season of Australian Ninja Warrior.
"The more balance you can put into things, the better," he says.
Balance has become essential in his life, as he and Jodie juggle busy TV schedules.
"Jodie gets up every morning at 3.15am and she's on air at Channel Seven, reading the early-morning news bulletin," he explains.
"When she gets home at 6am, the kids are up and she does a full day as a mum."
Ben says Jodie puts in a "superhuman effort".
"Who you marry is probably the biggest decision in your life. I think I chose well, and Jodie keeps it all together. Also, I'm clearly punching above my weight!"

As for the adorable youngsters, he's nothing short of a devoted dad.
"I'm so proud of them that it's an unstoppable force," Ben laughs.
"They're the biggest thing in my life. At the end of the day, I'm just a parent who thinks his children are little sensations."
Given that he seems so suited to raising kids, could there be another one on the horizon?
"Well, you're always thinking about these things, aren't you?" Ben teases. "But I'll put it this way: Jodie makes all the major decisions in this household, and that would go into that category."

Meanwhile, he has more than enough to keep himself occupied with the return of Australian Ninja Warrior. The fitness competition proved to be a ratings winner no-one saw coming.
"Not everyone at Channel Nine thought it would be a big hit [last year]," Ben, who hosts the show alongside Rebecca Maddern, reveals.
"I can probably put myself in that category as well. However, everyone embraced it and we're thankful for that."
For Ben right now, it seems timing is on his side. With Australian Ninja Warrior and his home life bubbling along nicely, the popular presenter is flying high.
"So far, so good," he says with a smile.
Australian Ninja Warrior's Freddie Flintoff, Rebecca Maddern and Ben Fordham.
Australian Ninja Warrior airs Monday and Tuesday, 7:30pm, and Sunday, 7pm, on Nine Network.

read more from