The Seven Network is set to capitalise on the expected mass-viewing platform of the Tokyo Olympics to relaunch evening gameshow The Chase Australia with new host Larry Emdur.
TV Blackbox can reveal new episodes of the top-rating quiz featuring Emdur in the hosting role for the first time will premiere on Monday, July 26 at 5:30pm.
Due to Seven’s commitment to the Olympics, the network has opted to produce a series of streamlined 30-minute episodes of The Chase Australia, which will screen during the games.
The popular quiz will then return to its regular 1-hour format in August.
Yesterday TV Blackbox confirmed the final new episode of The Chase Australia featuring original host Andrew O’Keefe is now scheduled to be broadcast on Tuesday the 20th of July; the network will then utilise repeat AOK episodes to conclude the week.
As previously revealed by this website, O’Keefe filmed a six-month supply of episodes of The Chase prior to his network contract expiring in December 2020. Due to episodes being broadcast out of order, the final episode produced with O’Keefe in the hosting role was actually aired in April.
There is likely to be little fanfare for O’Keefe’s final appearance on Seven despite his important role in anchoring the networks evening line-up for close to two decades.
The presenter hosted over 900 episodes of The Chase Australia and over 2200 episodes of Deal or No Deal. Both formats were a significant ratings success and provided a strong lead-in for the network’s news bulletins.
However, his time at Seven was also marred by a series of personal matters. Production on The Chase was suspended three times over the years due to O’Keefe’s mental health issues. The most prolonged delay was for eight months in 2019-20 when the network went dangerously close to running out of new episodes and was forced to air multiple repeats each week to pad out the season.
In February of this year, the presenter was charged with assault and had a provisional apprehended violence order placed upon him, after an incident involving his partner, Dr Orly Lavee. In June, a NSW magistrate dismissed the charges on mental health grounds.
If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual abuse or family violence contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Counselling Service 24-hour helpline 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732