Entertainment

Dickie drops Celebrity MAFS bombshell

Speaking on Nova’s Fitzy & Wippa Tuesday morning, the veteran Today showbiz reporter – who is celebrating 35 years at Nine – confirmed long-running rumours that the network was workshopping a celebrity iteration of the show.“[Former Nine CEO] David Gyngell once said to me, ‘Mate, I’ll give you …’ I won’t mention the amount of money, but a lot of zeros, if you do Celebrity Married At First Sight,” Wilkins, 67, said.Wilkins did not elaborate further as he laughed off the suggestion.It is not known when he was offered the lucrative opportunity, however Gyngell resigned as Nine CEO in 2015 and was replaced by Hugh Marks.Meanwhile Wilkins has been in a relationship with former flight attendant Nicola Dale since mid-2020.Nine is yet to confirm plans for a star-studded version smash hit dating series, however leaked texts from MAFS expert John Aiken from 2020 sent the rumour mill into overdrive. The Instagram DMs, obtained by NW, showed Aiken messaging a mystery contestant named ‘Reece’, in which he wrote: “Hi Reece. As you know by now from our email conversation you will not be the only celebrity on MAFS 2021. We are currently trying to figure out if we want celebrity marrying a celebrity for the season or celebrities paired up with strangers on the outside.”A 2021 show never came to fruition.A Nine spokesperson is yet to respond to news.com.au’s request for comment.It would make sense that Nine would want to expand the franchise given MAFS’ dominant standing in the TV ratings war.This year’s season, which won the 7.30pm timeslot every night that it aired, blitzed ratings across the first quarter of 2022, recording a national average audience of 1.9 million viewers per episode. The finale – which aired in April – became the highest rating non-sports program this year with a national average audience of 2.3 million.

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