Grant Denyer hosts the new game show Celebrity Name Game.
Grant Denyer hosts the new game show Celebrity Name Game. Stuart Bryce

Grant's back on his feet in his favourite timeslot

GRANT Denyer wouldn't go so far as to say he's fighting fit, but he's happy to be back on his feet at least.

The Gold Logie winner helms Channel 10's new game show Celebrity Name Game, recording the show's first episodes just weeks after being released from hospital for a back injury which forced him to miss more than a month of hosting commitments for Dancing With The Stars.

"It was a horrific six weeks, enormously painful and it came at the worst possible time," he tells The Guide.

"It was the perfect storm of work for me. I had three shows overlapping - Dancing With The Stars, Celebrity Name Game and my radio show - at exactly the same time when the injury happened. I just had to be patient with myself. I'm feeling good now. I'm through the worst of it."

Denyer had to be careful not to aggravate his injury as he got back to work. He says it's been a "mad rush" to make up for a two-week delay in filming for Celebrity Name Game.

"It can take a year to a year and a half to be pain free, so I've got a bit to go," he says.

"Sitting is the worse thing for the injury, so I stand for radio and stand for Celebrity Name Game and then I lie down in between.

"The pain's under control. I notice it, but everyone else tells me they can't tell. I know my way around the space so I can cover up my weaknesses. I'm lucky I have the celebrities with me and they can carry the load. I can throw them a ball and put the spotlight on them."

The new game show replaces the failed Aussie version of UK quiz show Pointless, returning Denyer to the 6pm timeslot where he hosted Family Feud for four years.

"It's a place of much joy for me and much success which led to a Gold Logie. A lot of people don't like change, particularly in the heritage timeslots like 6pm, so we're not expecting to work wonders overnight," he says.

"One thing I'll say about Family Feud is if somebody says something silly then we don't let them off the hook. We let them have it right between the eyes - I love doing that. We take no prisoners on this show as well. That's how Australians are, why should it be any different on a TV show?"

In the fast-paced new format, created in the US by Courtney Cox and David Arquette, everyday Aussies are paired with celebrities in a race against the clock to correctly guess names, places and characters from across pop culture.

Celebrity Name Game host Grant Denyer with guests Beau Ryan and Courtney Act.
Celebrity Name Game host Grant Denyer with guests Beau Ryan and Courtney Act. Channel 10

"Because it's so fast-paced, you don't have the ability to control what comes out of your mouth. People make silly, hilarious mistakes because of the speed of the show. It's designed to entrap you into saying something you didn't mean to say," he says.

"I particularly enjoyed having Lisa Wilkinson on. It was like having the Queen turn up to your workplace; she's TV royalty. She came on and then the 15-year-old Grant inside of me lost his mind when we got her to say the word Uranus as part of an answer. I could not contain myself."

With more than 100 episodes to be filmed, applications are still open for contestants.

"Come for the fun; don't come to win," Denyer says.

"When everyone comes to win the money they're so nervous they drop the ball. You can't be afraid of embarrassing yourself. Come on with an open mind and do it for the giggles."

Celebrity Name Game airs Monday to Friday at 6pm on Ten/WIN.



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