The Culture of Reality TV

“Giving back in some way, shape, or form. Whether it’s through empathy, entertainment, cracking jokes, or buying someone a birthday card on their birthday, and putting a smile on their day. It’s the little things that make the difference.”

Mike Goldman


The live element, the fact that you never know what is going to happen, is what Mike Goldman misses from reality TV. When he became the host of Big Brother, back in 2001, it was like nothing anyone had seen. Now, 20 years later, it’s a very different show. It is filmed seven months earlier, music is added and it is very, very produced. What Mike really enjoyed was the live element that it brought to the Australian TV landscape. Anything could happen. A bloke could even walk out on stage with tape over his mouth and decide not to talk!


Here at The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) Podcast we definitely work with a live element, as those who watch through our YouTube channel can testify. We should have guessed that Mike prefers to work with a lack of structure when he didn’t fill in our guest form, gave no prompts and kept his jokes secret as that way, he explained, you can say something and get the real reaction rather than a fake laugh.


The random cheers from the ‘studio audience’, Mike introducing Brendan (#rolereversal) and a note from our ‘sponsors’ was all part of working with a professional entertainer! Mike’s wife even brought him a burger halfway through the interview and as he says, “it’s good to have something that’s a bit more organic, a little bit more free form. It’s real because I keep saying, you don’t get enough of that in the world today.”


It’s fair to say they went completely off script the whole time.


Have you read: The Culture of Thought Leadership – Peter Winick


Mike’s bio, or MIKEography as he calls it, is extensive. With both of his parents in TV and radio it will come as no surprise to hear that he did his first voiceover and started mobile discos, at age 10. Mike is well-known as an Australian television personality. He is an actor, voice-over actor and presenter appearing on shows right across the free-to-air television circuit as well as streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. 


The secret to Mike’s success comes down to having a strong network and the fact that he is not a pain in the ass to work with. You might be the best voiceover guy in the world, but if you come in and start being demanding, wanting to change the script and not being happy with the way things are going, then no one wants to work with you. Going the extra mile and buying random gifts when you go in and work with a client is something that has also helped.


Some of Mike’s marketing ideas include posted notes with his face printed on them which said, ‘voice, face, brain for hire’ and include his mobile number, as well as mobile phone chargers that say, ‘Mike charges a lot but he’s so worth it’.


Have you read: The Art of Persuasion – Dr Dan French


The culture of reality tv and culture in general when it comes to running any business, is so important. Especially so when working in the entertainment industry because a lot of the time the culture behind the scenes comes across on screen. Mike has worked in places where people in the team had to go and see a shrink, himself included, because of the random shit that they had to deal with. So now, when given a choice, Mike would rather earn less money and have more fun.


Hearing that Mike introduced Mullet Monday (which involved 20 wigs) and often turns up to work in fancy dress – for absolutely no reason – is testament to his values. Coming up with something that is fun for everyone to enjoy every now and again only takes 5–10 minutes out of the day…


The complete interview can be listened to here, on audio platforms, or watched here, on The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) YouTube channel.


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