Shaun Micallef apparently sets ‘things on fire’ in the studio as he makes return to TV

Shaun Micallef is returning with a new TV chat show, and a surprise format.

Shaun Micallef is returning with a new TV chat show, and a surprise format.

Aside from enjoying a healthy relationship with social media – posting comments about Donald Trump’s court appearances, white cats, language nuances and Twisties – Shaun Micallef is about to go back into the studio to make a new show.

Formerly host of the ABC’s weekly satirical news show Mad as Hell, Micallef, 61, is gearing up for a “unique, hilarious chat show” with a format producers hope could go global.

ITV Studios Australia has teamed up with Micallef’s company, Giant Baby, for the ABC to make Eve of Destruction.

“It will be celebrity-driven,” Australia’s ITV boss David Mott tells The New Daily.

Without going into too much detail, Mott says the format is based on the idea that if you had to “quickly escape your home”, what would be the two things you would take with you besides your children and pets?

Celebrities bring their chosen thing – a toy, a piece of memorabilia given to them by a loved one – into the studio, and Micallef is tasked with extracting their never-before-told sentimental, funny or emotional back story.

What happens next?

Apparently it involves Micallef testing “the celebrity on their prized possessions, one of which will be destroyed – by fire, explosives or other madcap methods”, according to TV Tonight.

“We are so excited to have the legend that is Shaun Micallef back with us on the ABC, if the pilot is anything to go by he will be setting things on fire in the studio,” the ABC’s chief content officer Chris Oliver-Taylor told TV Tonight.

“We are also absolutely thrilled to work with Motty, Micallef and everyone at ITV – it’s great to get this amazing team back together in Studio 31.”

Shaun Micallef during his heady days on Mad as Hell. Photo: ABC

In July 2022, Micallef confirmed he would no longer host Mad as Hell after 10 years and 15 seasons.

At the time, an ABC spokesperson said Micallef “has decided to take some time away from Mad As Hell at the end of the upcoming season.

“The ABC and Shaun maintain a great working relationship and we look forward to continuing to work together … he will also appear on the ABC as part of other projects.

Micallef posted a statement on X (formerly Twitter) saying he felt it was time for someone younger to take advantage of the resources and opportunities on offer.

“I’m turning 60 in a week for f—’s sake,” he wrote.

That same year, he also pivoted to the Ten network for Shaun Micallef’s Brain Eisteddfod and released his memoir, Tripping Over Myself.

Publisher Hardie Grant said comedy has been Shaun’s escape, his guiding light, his refuge, his passport, his lifebuoy, his drug, his mask, his means, his end, his lingua franca, his Self.

“Behind the persona of one of Australia’s best-loved comedians lurks, as you will discover, an idiot,” the book’s logline reads.

“You will laugh, you will dog-ear pages, you will wonder, you will Google ‘Jerry Lewis’, you may book a trip to India, and you will come away from this book reflecting on your own life in new and remarkable ways”.

During the ABC’s Upfront showcase in November, Micallef guaranteed his show would not be like any other commercial reality TV hit going around.

“[it] … will not feature cooking, home renovations, marriage, singing, sport, RBT units, dogs, wilderness survival, quiz questions, news clips, stock footage, wearing masks, border security, amazing races, Lego, sitting on a panel or being marooned on an island in your underwear,” Micallef said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Nor is it likely to use the 1965 protest song Eve of Destruction, written by PF Sloan and recorded by Barry McGuire, as an intro track, but that cannot be confirmed nor denied at this stage.

Suffice to say that while he missed out on a Logie last year for most popular presenter, Micallef is no doubt determined to secure that trophy for the pool room with Eve of Destruction when it is launched later this year.

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