Justin Melvey answers the call on FOX8, Australia

A new "high-tech reality" series launches on FOX8 next week, The Phone hosted by Justin Melvey.

A Dutch competition format, it centres around two mobile phones left in random CBD locations, which if answered will thrust unsuspecting strangers into an Amazing Race-style show.

Melvey, best known for his appearances in Days of our Lives and Dancing with the Stars (Australia), is on the other end of the phone tempting two people into participating in a mysterious race. At the end of the game is a briefcase full of cash.

Melvey only gives them five seconds to agree to participating in his master plan.

If they agree to participate, contestants are lured to locations across the city with various challenges, which invariably pairs up the two strangers to team together.

The first episode begins with a ringing phone near Circular Quay, Sydney. Distant cameras watch Candid Camera-like as people seem confused by the ringing phone. It isn't too long before a young woman answers Melvey's call.

Another is laying in a gymnasium, watched on by CCTV cameras.

As the race proceeds and contestants fumble through certain challenges, the cash total in the briefcase starts to vanish. The Aussie series is sponsored, unsurprisingly, by a phone company which manages to make it onto the location list in the first episode.

Reportedly inspired by movies like Die Hard with a Vengeance and The Bourne Identity, later episodes of the eight-part series are filmed in Melbourne, Hobart and the Gold Coast.

An American series is due to screen on MTV hosted by Justin Timberlake.

The Phone premieres 8:30pm, Monday, January 19 on FOX8.

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