He is a broadcasting celebrity in America, Europe, Japan and New Zealand, but mention his name in Australia, and you're likely to be met by the response, Michael who? This despite the fact that every time he goes on air as a commentator for The One Championship mixed martial arts program, he broadcasts to tens of millions of viewers, making him arguably the most heard and watched Australian television presenter currently working.
"In 2019, our Tokyo show drew 81 million viewers. Globally we were the fourth highest rating program that year with over six billion views. We were the first organisation to hold a closed-door sporting event in 2020 after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the company is based in Singapore, I did that broadcast from Melbourne – to over 150 countries and around 50 million viewers," Michael says.
Michael grew up as the son of an immigrant factory worker in Melbourne, fat, bullied and with a burning ambition to get ahead and prove all the naysayers who said he would never amount to anything wrong. He also had a deep booming voice perfect for presentation. As a teenager, he started his career in community radio, where he gained confidence from his skill behind the mic and the knowledge that no one could see him. Even then, he had the ability to get interviews with famous sports stars and celebrities that no one else could access, the first being cricketer Wasim Akram during Pakistan's 1993 tour of Australia. Neither his audience nor the people he asked for interviews knew he was still a teenager.
Unable to gain traction in Australian sports broadcasting, Michael took his talents to America. On his way to becoming one of the most highly sought-after sports broadcasters on US cable networks, Michael became famous for his catch cry, Good Night Irene. In his memoir of the same name, he pulls back the veil of sports commentary and peeks into the lives of some of the world's biggest celebrities. A natural storyteller, his book is filled with entertaining descriptions of his encounters with the rich and famous, including a gun-toting Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Diego Maradona, Hulk Hogan, George Foreman, Dana White, Cathy Freeman and others.
Michael's story is an inspiration for individuals struggling to overcome bullying and find hope, courage and meaning in their lives. For any child battling to find their place in the world, and who thinks they won't amount to anything beyond their identity issues (weight, gender, etc), his story is proof that with passion, devotion to hard work and a willingness to put yourself out there, you can achieve your dream. He is inspiring, moving and entertaining.
Michael Schiavello has written five previous books. Amongst his numerous awards is an Asian Television Award "Emmy" in 2018 for best presenter/broadcaster. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Irena and family.
Good Night Irene