AIRDATE | MASTERMIND launches with Jennifer Byrne as Quizmaster

Jennifer Byrne will host MASTERMIND
Image - SBS

Famous for its challenging questions, intimidating setting and pervading air of tense expectation, MASTERMIND is a legendary tournament quiz show beloved around the world, from the UK to Russia – and soon, Australia, when it returns to our screens after 34 years weeknights on SBS from April.

With highly respected TV host, journalist and self-confessed quiz junkie Jennifer Byrne (ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club, Sunday, 60 Minutes, Foreign Correspondent) at the helm, the program places contenders in the iconic MASTERMIND chair and gives them two tense minutes to answer as many questions as possible on their chosen specialist subject.

Specialist subjects will include everything from Australian Parrots to The Harry Potter Series; John Cusack to The Whitlam Government Dismissal; Wicked: The Musical to Women in Australian Rallysport – and everything in between.

The contenders will advance to a general knowledge round, and the person with the highest combined score for both rounds is declared the winner. Each Friday the weekly finals will see one person advance to the semi-finals and eventually compete against other winners at the end of the season for the prestigious title of Australia’s MASTERMIND.

It’s set to be tense, thrilling, at times humorous and, above all, entertaining.

SBS Director of TV and Online Content Marshall Heald said:

“We’re delighted to bring Australian audiences an entertaining and intelligent point of difference in the 6pm free to air slot with the truly iconic Mastermind – and who better to oversee proceedings than the inimitable Jennifer Byrne, who brings brains, gravitas and warmth to the role – a killer trifecta.”

Mastermind quizmaster Jennifer Byrne said:

“As an avid devotee of games and quizzes, being a quizmaster for Mastermind – the gold standard of its breed – is a huge thrill. I’m looking forward equally to drilling the contestants with tough questions – and sharing a friendly chat about their weird and wonderful specialist topics.”

Running for nearly 50 years in the UK, Mastermind is an addictive global phenomenon, originally inspired by creator Bill Wright’s experiences of being interrogated by the Gestapo during World War II, and captured on screen by the use of a spotlight, black chair and rapid fire questioning.

Who can handle the pressure to be crowned Australia’s MASTERMIND?


MASTERMIND premieres 6pm Monday 15 April on SBS. The series will air 6pm weeknights and will be available after broadcast on SBS On Demand.


MASTERMIND is a BBC UK format and is produced for SBS by BBC Studios.



About Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne is a senior journalist and broadcaster who has worked in all arms of the media: print, radio and television.

 Having done her cadetship at The Age and worked on UK’s Fleet Street, she was a founding reporter with Channel Nine’s Sunday programme and spent some 12 years traveling the world for 60 Minutes and as anchor for Foreign Correspondent.

 She was publishing director of Reed Books, morning presenter on ABC radio, won national awards as interviewer and columnist for The Bulletin and, in May 2006, returned to TV to create the country’s first televised Book Club, which ran on the ABC for 11 years. 

 Alongside books, Jennifer’s favourite pastime – far too serious to be called a hobby – has since the age of 2 been the playing of games. Including quizzes, cards, board games, and crosswords (physical and electronic). To be invited to become the first Australian host of Mastermind – a show she grew up watching, of course – is the realisation of a dream she didn’t know she had.