Actor Jai Courtney hosts Nine’s new reality series The summit.
Filmed in New Zealand, the series is produced by Endemol Shine Australia.
In the rugged Alps of New Zealand, 14 strangers from all walks of life receive a million dollars in cash, split evenly. To keep their money, all they have to do is carry themselves and their backpack full of cash to the top of one of the highest peaks in the country. Teamwork will be essential because they have to stick together, so they’re only as fast as their slowest hiker. And here’s the gist of the game: when you’ve only got 14 days to get to the top, who’s going to force the group to fall behind, and how long do you hold them back before risking making it to the top in time? If you leave a hiker behind to move faster, his backpack full of cash is removed from the prize pool. But if they don’t make it to the Summit in time, all the money is lost.
Former AFL player
Alex knows what it takes to win and has the competitive drive to get there, saying, “I feel like scratching, which is the competitive side, and I like to push myself.” Having played for the Fremantle Dockers and Carlton Football Club, Alex admits he never considered himself a natural footballer and had to work hard to reach the level he played at. He says he had to work twice as hard as everyone else. Alex is the father of two girls and his family is the main motivating factor to take on an adventure like The Summit. He says, “I really want to challenge myself, but also set an example for my kids. It’s something they’re going to see and I want to do it for them. I don’t want to be 70 and think I should have just done it.
Annikki, born in Darwin and now living in Brisbane, is used to sun and swimming, so the snow and cold of New Zealand will be a new adventure for her. Annikki is an all-around dancer, teacher, and performer, with her specialty being a male-dominated style of dance known as Krump. She says her confrontational nature will help her handle whatever the Summit throws at her. “If anyone on the mountain tries to drive me crazy or test me, he’s going to have to work hard because I’m used to these things. But I’ve never been to a mountain like this before. The highest peak I’ve probably been to would be a ride to Movie World, so that would be the only thing that might scare me.
With three kids and little time on her hands, Brooke is a psychology student who has spent most of her adult life being a mom, so she’s ready to take some time for herself. She says: “I’ve never had the opportunity to embark on an adventure like this. This is my moment and I will take every moment and do the best job I can. Admitting that the tallest mountain she’s climbed is Mount Lofty in Adelaide, Brooke says she might not be the fittest out there, but her positive attitude will get her to the top. “I’m not one to give up. I am not giving up and anyone who knows me will tell. Sometimes I should learn to quit, but it’s not in me.
As the oldest contestant going up the mountain, Kitty is used to stepping out of her comfort zone. A registered nurse in a remote town in the Northern Territory, Kitty can handle the hard work. She says: “I work in a small town about eight hours from Darwin and it’s fabulous. I was there for six weeks and ended up working with young mothers and their newborns”. As the mother of two girls, Kitty says her daughters are more nervous about her embarking on this adventure than she is. “One of them isn’t sure if she’s ready to see me on national TV and the other one keeps texting me saying OMFG.”
Online health coach
Gemma is a resourceful who won’t let fear get the best of her and hopes to use her life skills to make it to the top of the Summit. She says her stubbornness will help her achieve her goals, Gemma is a fitness coach who will use her coaching skills to help everyone work as a team. She says, “I want to help people, I want to work with people, but I also want to win. When I set myself a goal, I really care and I don’t let anything stop me. “I have tried to prepare as much as possible for this adventure because I prefer to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared. I’m very meticulous, probably to the point of annoyance, but I manage.
Indy spends her life on the ocean and says it’s her first love, so getting to the top of a snowy mountain is a new adventure she’s willing to take on. She says, “I call it a hill because then it’s something I can get. By calling it a mountain I am making it intimidating and scary. A climb is much easier for me to understand and if I’ve won the mental battle then I’ll be fine.” As a marine scientist who grew up fishing, Indy caught a 267kg swordfish when she was 16, which remains the junior female world record. Using his family as inspiration to get to the top, Indy also knows the experience will be once in a lifetime.”I think I’m going to be a different person coming out of this. I think I’ll be more informed about other people’s motivations in life and how to take myself.” I take care of myself. There will be things that I take away from that that I will probably carry with me for the rest of my life. But it’s also a game and I know people are here to win and so am I.”
Happy go lucky Isaac is a Dubbo musician who loves his job, his community and is always up for a laugh. Hoping to use his sympathy to take him further in the competition, Isaac knows these attributes can be used to his advantage. He says, “You’re going to need people to trust you and take you to the top. You can’t do it yourself, and I’ll bring them in and then when I don’t need them, I’ll throw them away. Haha! He’s so mean!” Admitting he’s not the fittest person, Isaac will use his mental strength to keep going and tap into his survival spirit.
Former Olympic skier
Jacqui, a five-time Olympian, five-time world number one in aerial skiing, says: “I spent twenty years skiing from a jump faster than a car and as high as a three-story building. Wacky Jacqui is a cool name for me. With snow and ice a familiar backdrop for Jacqui, it’s not the elements that trouble her but her living conditions. From sleeping with strangers to no bed, it’s her only concern. Nicknamed “Logistics” by her husband, Jacqui is leaving her kids and a successful career at home to take on the mountain, but she’s left them as prepared as possible. She says, “I run my house like a military operation. Just to get here and do it, I sent my husband a 28-card Excel spreadsheet on how to run a household. So it’s not romantic but very true. He calls me Logistics.
As a personal chef, Jans turned her attention to self-employment, and after years of working for various restaurants, cafes and food trucks, she now creates recipes for social media fitness apps and brands. Ambitious and ready for an adventure, Jans says his mother was his inspiration to fight harder and harder. “Once I get something into my head, it’s over. My mom always taught me that once you have a goal, you have to work out the steps to get to the end. If you make a mistake you will learn, so get back up and keep moving.”
Born in London and based in Melbourne, Josh says friends would describe him as a bit quirky, a little quirky, but loyal with a fun nature. With some climbing experience—he’s scaled peaks like Kilimanjaro—Josh is ready for the constant changes the mountain can bring. “I love hiking, it really takes us away from all the things that sustain us in life. You know, when you’re thirsty, you go to a faucet. If you are uncomfortable, you sit on a sofa, so there is nothing left in this environment. You feel alive because you have to adapt”. As a father of two, Josh has his sights set on the prize. “I’m driven to make sure my kids have the happiest life and the best start in life possible, so winning this will help give them a big boost.”
Lulu “Bang Bang”
A mom, boxer and pocket rocket, Lulu jokes that “My ring name is Bang Bang Lulu. I become a smiling killer because I’m still smiling at you as I punch you in the face. A two-time world champion boxer, Lulu is used to people’s misconceptions about her, saying, “I’m petite, I smile big and I’m pretty friendly, but they don’t know I could bang their ass.” Lulu loves adrenaline-pumping adventures and hopes her time in the mountains is a great combination of her love of thrills and her ability to overcome challenges. “This will be a challenge for me and I like it. I want to do this for my children so they can see me do it and overcome the difficulties of the moment. I think it will be powerful for them to see and take in their own lives as well.
Owner of the Donut bakery
Working hard is in his family’s blood, but so is taking risks and that’s what Phillip hopes will be his strength to tackle the mountain. He says his fellow hikers may get the wrong first impression of him, thinking he’s quiet and shy. But having worked in retail since he was fifteen, he soon wins them over and easily earns their trust. During COVID Phillip has encouraged his parents to start experimenting in their bakery and says it has been worth it. “We started making bold donuts and overnight the business exploded. My biggest fear is losing everything because I grew up poor and my parents worked so hard to get to this point so I have to keep working and keep pushing. I didn’t know how to make bread but I opened a bakery, so I know how to adapt and expect the unexpected”.
Not one to let life slip by, Sam is a strength and conditioning coach from Sydney who likes to push himself to the limit. He has jumped out of planes at least 15 times, traveled through countries like Sri Lanka and South Africa and says he will leave nothing behind. “I will get to the top of that mountain and know that I did the best I could do. If you say I can’t do something or say other people are going to beat you at something, you better believe I’m going to show up with all guns blazing to prove you wrong. Sam grew up camping with his family in Queensland, so the outdoors don’t bother him. He believes the mind game will push him further. “At the end of the day, it’s you against you. I get competitive against other people, but I’m always competing with myself and I want to do the absolute best that I know I can do, and if I haven’t, I’m not happy.
Happy, lucky and funny, Stephen thinks he will be underestimated and that will be his goal. Meeting his fellow hikers, he says, “I think they’ll say ‘I hope this guy has lots of sunscreen!’ Beyond that, I think they’ll say he won’t stop talking. There will be songs, there will be stories, so they will know they are there. A dad from Brisbane, Stephen jokes that the physical side of him probably isn’t his main asset. “Why have abs when you can eat kebabs?” But he hopes to play an honorable role within the team. “You don’t want to win at all costs. I mean, you don’t want to cheat to win, but you’d like to think when you walk away that you could still shake everyone’s hand and say you played well. That’s how I’d like to treat the game.”
Previews 7pm Sunday out of nine