Ben Fordham on Ninja Warrior: ‘I’d never heard of it’

“I’d never heard of it… it’s one of the biggest TV franchises in the world”

The host of 2017’s hottest surprise Australian Ninja Warrior has revealed he’d never even heard of the format when first approached by Nine for the gig.

On a recent Mediaweek podcast, Ben Fordham recounted to James Manning the story of how he wound up with the coveted role.

“I’d never heard of it… it’s one of the biggest TV franchises in the world,” he said.

He continued to explain how he was called and asked to meet with the bosses at the network, with no idea what was going on.

“No one likes hearing that,” he said. “So of course the worst thoughts go through my head: ‘What have I done? What have I said? Who have I offended?’.”

When he learned that Nine wanted Fordham for Ninja Warrior, all he could say was: “What’s that?”

All this would soon change after a call to Sky News’ Greg Burns for advice. It turned out Burns’ twin boys (Fordham’s Godchildren) absolutely loved watching Ninja Warrior on YouTube. After double-checking with the kids on his street, Fordham’s mind was made up.

“By the time I went into the meeting at Channel 9, I’d decided ‘I don’t know what this thing is, but I’m doing it’. Because if kids are obsessed about anything, you know there’s a sure-fire chance this is going to work.”

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