Entertainment

Jennifer Byrne steps down as Mastermind Australia host and is replaced by Marc Fennell

Jennifer Byrne steps down as the quizmaster of Mastermind Australia and is replaced by Walkley award-winning journalist Marc Fennell

Jennifer Byrne is stepping down as the host of Mastermind Australia.

The 65-year-old will return for the conclusion of the second season on weeknights from February 15, after filming was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She will then pass the ‘baton’ onto Marc Fennell, who is best known for his work on SBS’s The Feed and ABC’s Download This Show.

Time for a change: Jennifer Byrne (pictured), 65, is stepping down as the host of Mastermind Australia. She will return for the conclusion of the second season on weeknights from February 15, after filming was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Walkley-winning journalist, 35, will front the third season of the series from February 22.

He previously appeared on the show as a fill-in host in 2019, and starred as a celebrity contender, so knows ‘first-hand how intimidating it can be.’

‘While I may be the one holding the questions, I truly marvel at the gumption of the contenders. It’s going to be intense,’ Marc told SBS on Wednesday.

‘The best part of being the quizmaster is seeing the wild diversity of obsessions and topics that the contenders bring with them. 

'The best part of being the quizmaster is seeing the wild diversity of obsessions and topics': Jennifer will pass the Mastermind Australia 'baton' onto Marc Fennell (pictured), 35, who is best known for his work on SBS's The Feed and ABC's Download This Show

‘The best part of being the quizmaster is seeing the wild diversity of obsessions and topics’: Jennifer will pass the Mastermind Australia ‘baton’ onto Marc Fennell (pictured), 35, who is best known for his work on SBS’s The Feed and ABC’s Download This Show

‘I’ve been both a fill-in host and celebrity contender on Mastermind Australia, I know first-hand how intimidating it can be.’ 

SBS Commissioning Editor Josh Martin added Jennifer had quizzed contenders since Mastermind was re-launched to Australian audiences in 2019.

‘She leant the show her considerable intellect, warmth, and authority and we thank her for the instrumental role she has played in the show’s success,’ he said, Media Week reported.

'She leant the show her considerable intellect, warmth, and authority': SBS Commissioning Editor Josh Martin added Jennifer had quizzed contenders since Mastermind was re-launched to Australian audiences in 2019

‘She leant the show her considerable intellect, warmth, and authority’: SBS Commissioning Editor Josh Martin added Jennifer had quizzed contenders since Mastermind was re-launched to Australian audiences in 2019

‘We’re excited that the quizmaster baton will be passed on to SBS’s own Marc Fennell, no stranger himself to the Mastermind hosting role, who will bring his own unique style and energy to this one-of-a-kind quiz show.’

Specialty subjects for the finals week will include Monty Python’s Life Of Brian, the Great Wall of China, Casablanca, Ozzy Osborne, the Spike Milligan War Memoirs, Kokoda Track Campaign and Joan of Arc.

Mastermind Australia’s second two semi-finals will return weeknights from February 15 at 6pm on SBS. It will be followed by an hour-long grand finale on February 19 at 7.30pm – and season three the following Monday at 7.30pm.

New season, new change: Mastermind Australia's second two semi-finals will return weeknights from February 15 at 6pm on SBS. It will be followed by an hour-long grand finale on February 19 at 7.30pm - and season three the following Monday at 7.30pm

New season, new change: Mastermind Australia’s second two semi-finals will return weeknights from February 15 at 6pm on SBS. It will be followed by an hour-long grand finale on February 19 at 7.30pm – and season three the following Monday at 7.30pm

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