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The Bachelorette Australia

The Masked Singer may be hitting all the right notes, but Osher Günsberg isn’t taking its success for granted

“I was unemployed before The Bachelor came along.”

By Thomas Mitchell
As far as sleeper hits go, they don't come much bigger, or more bizarre, than The Masked Singer. The 10 show sees celebrities dress up in trippy outfits and perform hit songs while audiences try to guess who, exactly, is in disguise.
The premiere drew 1.56 million viewers, making it the most-watched show of the night and, more importantly, pipping the traditionally big-rating The Block.
So why are we hooked on this perplexing series, with its crazy costumes and confused judging panel?
"It's nothing like you've ever seen before, and yet you can't look away," Osher Günsberg, the show's host, explains. "We've all decided it's important to figure out who's behind these costumes, and now you're hooked, it's so much fun."
While the panel of judges includes reality TV veterans such as Dave Hughes, Danni Minogue and Jackie O – we'll get to US film star Lindsay Lohan in a minute – Osher is perhaps the most baffling addition.
Having just wrapped on The Bachelor Australia, and with The Bachelorette Australia just around the corner – not to mention the fact he's a new father – no-one would have blamed him for passing on this opportunity.
Osher with his gorgeous newborn Wolfie.
But for Osher, the fickle nature of TV is a career lesson that continues to echo each time he makes a decision.
"I was unemployed before The Bachelor came along, so I always think of that," the 45-year-old presenter says. "I had no job and I was paying rent out of my savings in a foreign country.
"And then I had 10 weeks of work that year – which was The Bachelor season one – and I just prayed it would come along the following year."
Since then, Osher has become the face (and hair) of The Bachelor franchise in Australia. No-one is more synonymous with rose ceremonies than the former Channel V host.
And yet, despite the security that comes with a high-profile prime-time gig, Osher knows better than to assume he's safe.
"People think it's this glamorous industry – 'Oh, Osher must live in a mansion,'" he says with a laugh, then adds, "I live in a three-bedroom apartment with my two kids and my dogs."
Osher with The Bachelor 2019 star Matt Agnew.
The success of The Masked Singer "is another reason to be grateful," he says, "but I won't stop being interested in the next job, and the next, because I know what it's like to not have a job at all."
Osher is no stranger to reinvention, and neither is actress Lindsay Lohan.
The Mean Girls star was signed on as The Masked Singer's celebrity trump card, a big name to generate buzz.
But despite early whispers of strange behaviour on set, Osher reckons Lindsay has hit the ground running.
"She came off the plane prepared," he says. "In our first team meeting before we recorded, she was already dropping names; she had a cheat sheet. She'd done her research on who was famous in Australia."
The Masked Singer crew: Dannii Minogue, Dave Hughes, Lindsay Lohan, Osher Gunsberg and Jackie O.
There's little doubt Lindsay is part of the allure. Between her presence on the panel and the "Who could that be?" guessing game, The Masked Singer has tapped into a family-friendly gap in the market. And it seems to be working – just ask Osher's teenage daughter, Georgia.
"She's 15-and-a-half, and I watch the way she watches TV, which is with a phone in her hand. If what's on TV is boring her, she switches to Instagram or wanders off to her room," Osher says.
"I watched her during The Masked Singer and she was glued to the screen from start to finish. That was so extraordinary for me. She doesn't even watch The Bachelor that closely!"
If Georgia's reaction is anything to go by, then The Masked Singer isn't going anywhere. But ever the realist, Osher is prepared for whatever happens.
"My former manager always used to say to me, 'Osher, unless you're reading the six o'clock news, every show you're ever on will eventually be cancelled,'" he recalls.
"He reminded me to always think about what comes next. Now, that's the approach I take."
Georgia, Audrey and Osher.
The Masked Singer airs Monday and Tuesday, 7.30pm, on Network 10.

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