Cash talk with Ebi Shankara

What would the game show host of Channel 5’s ‘Cash Struck’ do if he was a billionaire?


Photos: Channel 5, Melinda Woo

Meet the all rounded theatre-born artiste, Ebi Shankara, who will be headlining Channel 5’s brand new game show, Cash Struck, starting from next week onwards. The 28 year-old is a familiar face oft-seen on TV hosting major national events such as the National Day Parade (NDP) and the South East Asian (SEA) Games, but even an experienced host like Ebi is not spared from getting pre-show jitters. 

Although the live audience for Cash Struck will be significantly smaller than the crowds at the NDP or SEA Games, Ebi shared in an interview with Toggle that the intimate setting of the studio leaves him feeling intimidated.

“It gets better when you get in the groove of the show,” he said, as if subconsciously reassuring himself. “But it’s been a steep learning curve,” he admitted candidly.

Besides hosting the show and knowing the rules of the game like the back of his hand, Ebi’s job scope includes the all-important task of keeping TV viewers at home enrapt and entertained. As host, he has to guide a pair of participants through the one-hour gameshow, which features four rounds of pictogram trivia with increasing difficulty and few hints.

Participants are allowed to tenfold their winnings and stand to win a total of $100,000 cash prize should they decide to proceed to the bonus round, but here’s the catch: they will lose all their winnings if they fail to answer at least three out of 10 questions correctly.

As the game show host, Ebi is privy to all the questions and answers before the show – something he wished he knew less about so that he will be able to play alongside the contestants (and maybe bring home the $100,000 cash prize while he’s at it too?) Jokes aside, we speak dollars and cents with the host with the most and find out what he’d splurge his $100,000 cash prize on if he ever goes on the show - as a contestant, of course.

Read on for more!


What will you do with the $100,000 cash prize if you won Cash Struck?

I will invest in a car, maybe I’ll pay the down payment for a car with the money. I’ll also will keep some of the money to take my Master’s in directing, although I doubt that $100,000 is sufficient for a car and a degree.

What would you do for $1 billion?

I will never ever bungee jump, that’s my worst fear. But heck, I’d do that, or even do anything for $1 billion! (laughs)

What is your most expensive purchase ever?

I haven’t really bought a big ticket item in my life yet, so I guess my most expensive purchase would be my PlayStation 4, which I bought recently and cost me $700… I remember buying my very first PlayStation, the PlayStation 2, when I was still a student and I worked so much as a waiter, earning $10 per hour for two months before I spent it all on the gaming console.

What do you consider to be a ridiculous purchase?

I think people who spend more than $1,000 on a pair of Adidas Yeezy Boost are crazy! But if they have the money, I guess they can afford to do that. Maybe If I had too much money to spare, I would actually consider buying a pair of those too.

What do you think is your most bankable asset?

My smile is my most bankable asset for sure! Oh, and my talent. Sigh, I’m so narcissistic. (laughs)

What accessory would you be willing to spend on?

I would buy a pair of Nike Air Force, I’m a sneakers guy! I wanted to collect them, but I stopped myself because I realised that my social life will take a hit if had no money to go out… I love sneakers, but I think spending anything more than $150 is just uncalled for, for a pair of shoes.

What do you think money can’t buy?

Money can’t buy good sense. My grandmother used to pray every day for me to grow up to be sensible enough to make good decisions in life and I only understood how important it was when I grew up.

Cash Struck premieres Feb 7, 7.30 pm on Channel 5. Sign up to participate in Cash Struck here.
Catch Ebi in upcoming musicals Itsy at Victoria Theatre from March 24 to April 2. Tickets are priced from $70 at Sistic, and Tropicana at Capitol Theatre from April 13 to April 30. Tickets are priced from $66 at Sistic.

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