The New York Post’s infamous gossip column and website, Page Six, has expanded to television with “Page Six TV” on FOX, airing nationally on Monday evenings. Taped in front of a live studio audience, the show will deliver all the latest news in entertainment, culture, real estate and politics. We chat with host, John Fugelsang, who’s also been a regular on CNN and MSNBC, about why some celebs leak their own stories to the media and how gossip is like “mental comfort food.”
Why do you think people are so obsessed with celebrity culture?
I think it’s because life is hard and being a grownup is a monster and we are in very troubling, scary times. Sometimes you need to occupy the other hemisphere of your brain. Most of it is nonsense but a lot of it is mental comfort food.
Definitely. So what can we expect from “Page Six TV”? When I first heard about it I thought of TMZ. How will it be different from that?
This is going to be different from anything else on the air right now. We have a very, very talented cast of regulars including Mario Cantone, who is one of the funniest guys in the game. We have Bevy Smith who is an expert in this field to having a live audience. I think a lot of folks who are into politics who tuned into “The Daily Show” will find that that even if you are not into the celebrity story, [they] will still tune it because it is so damn funny.
The live audience angle definitely ups the ante.
That’s what made me want to come to the callback.
How do you guys get the word so fast about the celebrity news?
Honestly, it is fascinating to me. I am learning about this whole culture, too. Part of the appeal for me in taking the hosting job on this is not only talking to these gossip experts about the stories, but also talking to them on how their industry works and who their sources are and how celebrities themselves put this information out. Getting sort of an inside scoop on not only the stories but on the insanity behind the stories.
Who is your favorite Hollywood couple of the moment?
Let me think about that. Wow, you stumped me. I’m used to making fun of these people. I would like to say my favorite Hollywood couple is Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, but they live in New Jersey.
I consider them Hollywood. Bruce is an A-lister.
OK, I would say that one then. I have come to really admire Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for the way they just do their thing and not care about the haters.
Do you think some celebrities enjoy being gossiped about?
Not only do some of them enjoy being gossiped about, a lot of them leak their stuff themselves. One of the things I have found fascinating is trying to get experts to figure out which one of these sources are behind these celebrities’ back or if it is their actual spokespeople for the celebrities dropping hints here and there. A lot of this is self-promotion which is part of the game and I respect that, but it sure is funny.
What are some easy ways to get into a tabloid?
It is really easy to get into a tabloid. First, become famous. Even become famous for no reason. These days it’s better to be famous for no reason. We are leading the world in people who are famous for no reason right now in America. Once you are famous do something to enjoy yourself and people will start talking about it.
What are ways to stay out of the tabloids? Some celebrities manage to keep themselves out of the spotlight.
That’s a great point. You know, Page Six’s motto is, “If you don’t want it on Page Six, don’t do it.” I sort of think that celebrities are entitled to privacy — most celebrities certainly enjoy their privacy. I think if you want to stay out of it, see if you can discover that privacy does still exists in the era of camera phones, Facebook and the NSA. It’s pretty hard. That’s why this show impressed me because the team working on this show knows everything about everybody. I don’t know where people get their information, but I’ve never seen so many folks whose phones are buzzing and vibrating constantly. Page Six is ground zero in the community.
You can tune into “Page Six TV” on weeknights this summer on FOX at 7 p.m. if you’re in New York and Philadelphia. For the full schedule, visit:pagesixtv.com.
Follow Jennifer Logue on Twitter @jenniferlogue