The Block NZ's Mark Richardson reveals what's different about this year's show
Mark Richardson has a gruelling schedule. The alarm goes off at four in the morning for his sports news presenting gig on The AM Show and once that is over, it's off to Auckland's North Shore where the latest season of The Block NZ is being filmed.
And if that wasn't enough, once a week he is guest host on Three's The Project.
With such a busy work life, it is no wonder Richardson is doing this interview on speakerphone en route to The Block's not-so-secret location in the suburb of Northcote.
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But the former Black Cap thrives on being busy – at least up to a certain point.
Before teaming up with Duncan Garner and Amanda Gillies on The AM Show, he was used to working both ends of the day doing breakfast radio and then presenting Prime's weeknight sports show The Crowd Goes Wild.
Between those two media gigs, he might also have been doing TV cricket commentary or working on The Block NZ.
"I'd be up at four and home at eight," Richardson says. "Then all I would want to do is have dinner, chill out and go to bed. It was robbing me.
"Even sitting down for 10 minutes and reading with my kids (he has twins aged 10), I'm now able to do that.
"I've got more energy when it comes to those times and it's made a massive difference."
Juggling jobs means that Richardson has to always keep uphis energy levels.
"I drink way too much coffee and it doesn't really have an effect on me," he says. "I'm a bit of a bread fan and I eat far too many poor carbohydrates, but what I do is I exercise.
"If I get a spare hour in the day, I get out there, pound the streets. I do triathlons and I either go for a swim, a run or a ride and I make sure I do it as hard as I can. Hard exercise freshens you up for the next thing that's on. I really enjoy that."
Richardson says taking the job on The AM Show is "one of the best career moves at the moment, I think I've made".
Thanks to his dry sense of humour and frank views, his on-camera remarks sometimes make the headlines.
"I'm on a tight leash but I pull on it as hard as I possibly can," he says. "One thing I've found doing a show like The AM Show, when you open your mouth and say something controversial it has way more legs than it used to when I worked on my evening sports show for The Crowd Goes Wild, which is on Prime and Sky.
"On Three, with all due to respect to Prime and Sky, I'm on a larger network and that format just has a few more legs – which, I've got to say, I like.
"I don't have any problems with upsetting people. I don't have any problems with anyone getting outraged with what I say and I enjoy walking that line."
But on The Block NZ it is usually the contestants rather than the hosts whose comments attract the attention of the media and the public.
Richardson's relationship with the show goes back to when it started in 2012.
One thing he has noticed about the show's contestants in the past couple of years is their increased willingness to back themselves.
"The belief is greater every year," says Richardson. "I think probably that's due to an understanding of just what The Block is about.
"People think, 'You know what? I can do that and I can do it better'. That's what I've noticed every year."
Richardson is reluctant to reveal too much about this year's houses.
A drone flyover by Fairfax website Stuff suggests they are four townhouses but he will neither confirm nor deny this.
"That will get revealed when the show goes to air," he says.
"But they're big. They're the biggest houses we've had in the history of The Block and it's going to be one hell of a job to get them done.
"But I think if they are done to a good standard, all the ingredients are there for them to be high value, fantastic places."
The Block NZ, Three, starts Sunday June 25, 7pm.
- TV Guide