One of the perks of being a TV producer is listening to TV news anchors trashing one or two of the celebrity guests they just interviewed during the commercial break. Few celebrities deserve it. But one or two… they get trashed right on the air! The most outrageous attack on a celebrity that I can remember by anchors I’ve worked with was against Wilson Phillips’ lead singer Chynna Phillips. She arrived late for her “live” interview on the show, and we literally had to “float” her segment, which means pushing it later and later into the show – because she felt her hair wasn’t quite right. When she finally went on air, it was obvious she had an over-inflated opinion of herself. She was cold and testy and made no apologies for being the epitome of a despicable diva. But that was just the beginning. Once she left the set, the anchors, all four of them, just tore into her “live” on the show. They talked about her hair issues that caused her segment to repeatedly be floated, they talked about her cold behavior during the interview, and, if memory services me correctly, one of them referred to her, indirectly, as a bitch. She was promoting her solo album, Naked and Sacred, and she was miffed because most people read the album title as Naked & Scared.
I’m no stranger to face-offs with celebrities. I’ve personally had off-camera run-ins with Jermaine Jackson aka Jacksun, (over our coverage of Michael’s molestation trial), Richard Simmons (because I said something negative about Streisand in his presence), Tiffany (she was so tipsy in the green room before the show, that I went in, unplugged the video feed of the show so the monitor went to snow, and told her we were knocked off the air and couldn’t interview her after all – and she bought it!), Jon Voight over his “live” on-air plea to Angelina about alleged substance abuse issues, (lawyers were involved in this one), Whoppi (who parked in my space), one particularly persnickety dog handler who insisted I wash my hands before being permitted to pet the puppies starring in Beethoven’s 5th, (I didn’t pet the pups), and I once (accidentally) nearly ran over Britney Spears with my SUV in a studio parking lot (which my nieces and nephews still refuse to believe is true). But none were as satisfying as the Chynna syndrome because she got her just desserts on the air. Celebrities who are jerks, not that those named above are, deserved to be called out on the proverbial (red) carpet.
One other pseudo-celebrity my anchors memorably attacked on-air was John Wayne Bobbitt, the dude whose penis was sliced off by his wife. Bobbitt was in L.A. to promote his X-rated film, “John Wayne Bobbitt- Uncut”, that, how do I say this, showed the results of the re-attachment of his penis. I personally booked him because I thought the anchors would have a great time teasing him about the penis thing and the porn thing. I even picked Bobbitt up at his hotel that morning to be sure he would arrive to the studio on time (because he was a bit inebriated at the premiere party the night before). I sat next to him at the premiere, which was extremely awkward, seeing him on-screen doing the nasty, and hearing him grunting in embarrassment next to me. But once he got on-set, the anchors just attacked him…. wife beater, scumbag, disgusting excuse for a man, on and on. I was truly surprised as I had no inkling they were going to go that way.
Like Bobbitt, we’ve had our share of intelligence-challenged celebrities. God divides. If he makes you pretty, he often also makes you stupid. And that’s the lesson to take away from all of this – if you clearly understand what I’m saying here, you’re obviously ugly.