Fourteen years ago when he made an appearance in the hit TV comedy series, Taxi Driver which also featured Mikki Osei Berko as his Uncle, Master Richard, little did many know that the man widely known as Aboagye had made his debut television appearance 4 years earlier in 1995, when he played Ghana’s former president, Jerry John Rawlings in George Laing’s classic kids TV show, Kyekyekule. His real name is George Nii Armah Quaye, born October 7th with a dream of becoming a rapper, a lawyer, a marketer, even a DJ, but never an actor.
In 2001/2002, George played the lead role in his first international movie alongside top UK stars Maynard Eziashie (The Contract, Ace Ventura), Jimmy Akingbola (Holby City, Habibti), Naomie Harris (Skyfall, Pirates of the Caribbean,) and a host of others in “Anansi”- a dramatic Odyssey of three young men and a lady surviving a perilous stowaway expedition from Ghana to Europe. It was produced by Germany’s Avista Film and Brainpool with support from the media program for the European Union and shot on locations in Ghana, Morocco, Germany and Spain.
“Kyekyekule was what got me acting back in Mfantsipim school, but Taxi Driver made me drop the music and lawyer dreams…who knows, I just might pick up the law bit again…as for acting, ermmm I’m waiting for a script as good as Anansi” George Quaye.
February 13, 2006, this Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) Degree Holder from the University of Ghana, Legon would leave his high flying and enviable Technical Director Position at Village Communications to take up a much lower copy writer role with the Multiple Concepts Group/Charterhouse Ghana. A group he never regrets as it set his life in the right direction.
Having hosted and produced a few corporate events, wedding receptions, parties and other small events here and there, George will step up to his biggest show yet, when he hosts Charterhouse’s night of 1004 laughs and music at the National Theatre. “I was so scared I had to call my big sister to come pray with me before the show started…I laugh at myself every time I look at that video and see what I wore wearing. OMG! We have come far…” he says with a quirky smile on his cheek.
Between 2006 and 2012 George would go on to host and produce all editions of the comedy show alongside the team at Charterhouse, discovering Ghana’s funniest man today, Funny face along the way. He also produced award winning shows like it takes two, Agoro, stars of the future, the Goodlife game show and a host of other events including the ever prestigious Ghana Music Awards.
With such rich experience it came as no surprise when Charterhouse in collaboration with the British Council and TIGO, in 2009 placed its biggest, first and only educational reality TV show, the Challenge, in his hands to produce.
Working diligently and perceptively with teams from the British Council, Tigo and within, George has managed to keep the standards of the Challenge high from day one, pushing it a notch higher every season. “He is attentive, smart, always ready to learn and not afraid to try new things. Yes we have a lot of producer’s in house, but George is one of the most reliable when it comes to programs like the challenge” Nii Ayite Hammond, Director of Productions at GHOne Entertainment TV.
The Challenge, when it first premiered in 2009 had joy fm’s man in the morning, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah as host. In 2010, Kojo returned to host the show for a second season running, but lost the slot when he got signed on to MTN by the time season 3 was ready to roll. Eric Don Arthur from TV3 got the job but was replaced with Louis Sakyiamah, aka Lexis Bill in the fourth Season.
By this time the show’s producers and sponsors were inundated with the public outcry to inject some fun into the show. The planning for a total overhaul before the launch of the fifth season started with a crunch 3 day brainstorming meeting at the Movenpick hotel. Several reforms were made to the show structure and the search for a host begun in earnest with this simple benchmark for would be presenters: intelligent, must hold at least a first degree from a reputable tertiary institution, bold, articulate, TV experience would be a plus, knowledge of the show would even be better and most importantly, a great sense of humour.
After weeks of auditions at the studious of GHOne, the Communications Master’s Degree holder from the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana Legon, Producer of the show from the very beginning, intelligent, bold, articulate, great knowledge of the show, great sense of humour with a lot of stage and television experience, George Quaye was given the nod to produce and host the show. “It’s a new arena for me; scripting, hosting and producing. But I have a great team from GHOne, TIGO and the British Council to count on. I think it’s gonna be fun…” He says shyly, but proudly.
So George Nii Armah Quaye is host of the Challenge Season 5 and if what we saw on the premier episode is anything to go by, then we can boldly conclude that this is going to be the most exciting season yet.
The Challenge Season 5 is produced by GHOne with support from IPMC, Beige Capital, VitaMilk, the University of Salford, Northampton and the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen Scotland. It is a British Council Ghana Initiative and proudly sponsored by TIGO.
The show airs this and every Sunday at 5:30pm on TV3 and at 8pm on GHOne entertainment TV. Visit www.thechallengeghana.com for more info.