Jennifer Zamperelli says she has no idea when or if Dancing With The Stars will back on RTÉ, adding that she "hopes and prays" the hit Sunday night show will make a return.
In a statement last July, RTÉ said that the show will not go ahead in 2021 due to Covid-19 but hopes to bring back the series in 2022.
Speaking to RTÉ Entertainment, Zamperelli, who hosts the show with Nicky Byrne, said, "I am missing it. The break was nice to just catch up on family time but we're ready to get back, but I don’t know if it’s coming back.
"I keep asking the question but it’s still too early. I think they go into talks around May time but I don’t get a call until the middle of the summer anyway and I don’t think this year will be any different so I’ll hope and pray for a call in the middle of the summer.
"I love the show. I like the mini-heart attack I get before I go live at 6.30 on Sunday night. There’s nothing like that kind of show, it’s a mad show," she added.
"Everything and anything could happen and we’ve had it all happen, from people falling to blackouts so we’ve been through it all. Oh god, I say that now and when we come back something horrific will happen!
"It’s exciting and I miss talking about it and in those winter months in Ireland when it’s so bleak it’s so nice to have a bit of brightness and sparkle."
However, 41-year-old Zamperelli, who presents RTÉ 2fm’s morning radio show and stars in sitcom Bridget and Eamon with Bernard O’Shea, will be back on screens tonight when she hosts new RTÉ family quiz show Home Advantage.
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With €5,000 up for grabs, the pandemic-proof quiz sees only one player present in the TV studio, while their participating family remain at home - beamed in on a giant screen and called upon for "the home advantage" at key moments to offer their wisdom to win the jackpot over three rounds.
Given her background as a competitor on The Apprentice on BBC, Zamperelli is quite competitive and she says she is also quite the quizzer.
"I do enjoy things like The Chase, and I loved Who Wants to be a Millionaire? but yeah, I’ve always wanted to host a quiz show for years," she says.
"There's no nasty stuff except when we kick people off - there’s a trap door they fall down, and they eaten by sharks. Apart from that, it’s fine."
"I remember doing a pilot for one but it didn’t get picked up because it was a bit too convoluted so when this came around I jumped at the chance because I really enjoy family entertainment shows and this show is not a big convoluted thing that you can’t explain.
"It’s a family-orientated quiz, kids can take part and there’s a chance to win five grand in cash. You don’t have to go up the hill of Tara and ring a bell and stand on your head."
Asked whether she will be a catty Anne Robinson type host or more of a matey Bradley Walsh, she said, "Oh god!! I’m going to be myself. This is a family show, there’s kids so I’m not going to be tearing them to shreds if they get a question wrong.
"I don’t think there’s a need for that, that’s not me. I’ve been doing a quiz on my radio show for the last few years and when Covid happened, we got kids involved and I really, really enjoyed that so maybe that’s why I was considered for this show. Who knows?"
"I don't want to go back to the way it was, full throttle, never having a minute free. I’d like to go back to somewhere in between but I think we’ve all learned that."
"There’s definitely a warmth to this show" she adds. "There’s no nasty stuff except when we kick people off - there’s a trap door they fall down, and they eaten by sharks. Apart from that, it’s fine."
In the ultimate call a friend option, contestants will be able to turn questions over to their families, who are sitting watching at home, which may be a recipe for disaster if they get it wrong.
"They lose money if their family leads them wrong," says Zamperelli. "But this is a real snapshot of Ireland, of people’s homes and Irish families around the country so it’s lovely to see that because families come in all different shapes and sizes."
As for her own lockdown at home with husband Lauterio, who works in the film industry, and their children, Enzo, and Florence, Zamperelli says she has adjusted to the new normal.
"It was hard for him because all his jobs got cancelled. The film industry was decimated but now he’s back working so that’s much better. So, he’s off filming a new show for Amazon," she says.
"It didn’t really affect the kids. I spend my life taking them on walks and going to playgrounds. I struggled in the beginning when we didn’t know what the hell was going on but now I’m doing a lot better and I don’t want to go back to the way it was, full throttle, never having a minute free. I’d like to go back to somewhere in between but I think we’ve all learned that."
Alan Corr @CorrAlan2
Home Advantage, Saturday at 8:30pm on RTÉ One.