Jason Gunn is a New Zealand television presenter, director and writer. He is best known for co-hosting hit show Dancing With The Stars, and game shows The Rich List and Wheel of Fortune. Jason got his start in children's television, becoming a household name with Jase TV and the longrunning Son of a Gunn Show.
Gunn credits his parents for their acceptance and encouragement. On family drives Gunn would often provide entertainment from the back seat. "They'd let me practise my stories and impersonations and funny voices, and get me to entertain visitors."
Jason had his first taste of the entertainment industry aged 17, when director John Banas cast him in the lead role of Adrian Mole in the touring musical The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4.
Gunn's father encouraged him to persevere in his continuing efforts to get into television. Eventually Gunn won the chance to audition for a presenting job, and was offered a six-week contract with the children's department at TVNZ. Gunn's natural exuberance and ability to handle a live television environment saw that contract rolled over for 14 years.
Soon Gunn had become the face of New Zealand children's television. He hosted on long-running programmes After School, What Now? and the Son of a Gunn Show, often accompanied by his sidekick Thingee, a grey puppet with bulbous eyes. The puppet even wins title billing in made for video production Jason and Thingee's Big Adventure. Thingee infamously lost an eye during one Son of a Gunn recording, before finally returning to his home planet on an episode of What Now?
After the end of Son of a Gunn in 1995, Jason began to expand his demographic, hosting performance showcase Young Entertainers, and the show Small Talk, in which contestants guess how children will answer questions.
In the late 90s Gunn and his wife, children's TV veteran Janine Morrell-Gunn, set up the company Whitebait-TV (now Whitebait Media). Gunn has written and directed a number of productions for the Christchurch-based company, which opened its own state of the art production complex. In 2003 Whitebait won the tender to take over production of longrunning Saturday morning show What Now?, which Gunn had once helped host.
In 2001 Gunn made headlines after appearing in episodes of Havoc and Newsboy's Luxury Suites and Conference Facility and playing a comical drug dealer. In 2003 he agreed to join the cast of voluntary prisoners on Celebrity Treasure Island.
In 2005 he won hosting duties on the high-rating Dancing the Stars, which pairs New Zealand celebrities with professional dancers in a competition for charity. Aside from presenting alongside dancer Candy Lane, the show has occasionally showcased Gunn's skills as a singer and dancer. Dancing with the Stars won him best presenting awards in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2007 readers of TV Guide agreed, voting Gunn the funniest person on New Zealand television as well. In this period he was also host of game show Wheel of Fortune.
In 2016 Gunn returned to TV as presenter of You're Back in the Room, a Kiwi take on the British game show featuring hypnotised contestants. Gunn also loads short comical videos to YouTube, some of which reference some of his earlier television gigs.
Jason Gunn lives with his wife and four children just out of Christchurch, where he is busy learning to drive a tractor.
Whitebait Media website. Accessed 7 September 2016