Best on Ground set to kick things up a notch

According to FOX Sports Executive Director Steve Crawley, Jonathan Brown was at a lodges Event when something Matty Johns said sparked an idea — and a bit of envy.

Johns spoke about his NRL entertainment show, The Matty Johns Showwhich has been shown on FOX Sports since 2013.

“After they had a few beers, Jonathan said to Matty at the table, ‘How come you guys get to have fun and we don’t?’ That wasn’t a bad point,” says Crawley TV tonight. “That’s where Best on the ground started.

“Patrick Delaney got some money in the COVID years and said, ‘What should we do?’ So we said, ‘Let’s build a big stage behind the studios on Dorcas Street that can hold 100 people and let’s go to an entertainment show?’”

The show hit screens in March, with hosts Brown, Mark Howard, Kath Loughnan, Nathan Buckley and Nick Riewoldt.

Accompanied by a studio audience and a band led by ex-Melbourne Demons Russell Robertson, it was screened late Saturday night and drew a crowd. Last week it garnered 360,000 STV viewers following a AFL Prelims.

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“It’s quite late but there are a number of shows that are on subscription TV much earlier. It’s doing linear numbers in the mid-hundreds every week,” he continues.

“If the game ends at 10, things will go a little bit better. It runs at 11:00 a.m. and plays these numbers. It struck a chord with the audience.”

Crawley claims her charm lies in not being another football talk show.

“We’ve got a couple of writers with us and they’ve been a hit. It’s very different than turning an entertainment show into a footy show. I was really excited to do it in Melbourne because, as you know, that’s where the entertainment shows were happening. It was famous for her. It was quite sad that all those shows from our childhood and the studios like the ones we now fill in the old Channel Seven are gone.”

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best on the ground like its northern counterpart, it sets its presenters in humorous skits. For tonight’s Grand Final edition, the show will feature the show’s top ten moments in front of the largest studio audience for 2022.

Howard, Loughnan, Brown, Buckley and Riewoldt will also perform their first live sketch, compete in a “What Are You Lovin’ moment of a Grand Final Macca and unpack their top 10 clangers.

“Nathan Brown is the most serious guy in the world. On that show, people were amazed by the sketches he does and the way he talks, it’s quite amazing. Same goes for Nick Reiwoldt, Jonathan Brown. People see her in a completely different light.

“I’m blown away by how much they gave to the show and how much fun they made for others.”

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If Crawley has his way, the show will go up a notch in 2023, though he’s not yet saying if that means a new time slot or a bigger budget.

“It’s a really big couch, so there are people I can see sitting on that couch,” he teases.

“I’m really happy with the way the show is and the five people who are on it did a great job. But I think it’s such a good show that we can build on it.

“We’re very proud of how it’s going, how it’s sticking its head up. We’ve decided that we’re going to really focus on this show and make it better than it is today.

“But we’re pretty happy with where it is after its first season.”

Best on Ground: Grand Final Edition tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX Footy.

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