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Rivenbark: TV tryouts were not a screaming success

By Celia Rivenbark

Now that Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy have announced that they’re leaving “The View,” I think it’s the perfect time to make my move into television.

Truth is, this newspaper gig has been fun for a few decades but Barbara Walters, who also exited “The View” recently, has proven that you’re never too old to reinvent yourself.

The openings have come about because Shepherd, who has been on the show for seven years, didn’t like the terms of her new contract, and McCarthy, who was only on the show for one year (it just seemed longer) was let go because the suits at ABC said she kept giving everybody measles. Kidding! No, they just said the show is “moving in a different direction.”

One small problem. I haven’t had a lot, OK, any, success with TV. I have been “pre-interviewed” to appear in segments on (1) The Rachael Ray Show and (2) The Bethenny Frankel Show and bombed both times.

In the first case, I had an in-person interview with Rachael’s producers in New York City. We spent an hour together and there was much gushing on both sides, but, well, the phone didn’t ring for a week and, when it finally did, they said they had “decided to go in a different direction.”

I handled this with the aplomb of a seasoned professional journalist and immediately gathered up all my Rachael Ray saucepans and casserole dishes from Kohl’s and ran over them with my car. And over them again.

The Bethenny show was a little different. They did a pre-interview on the phone, and with every answer I gave, the interviewer suggested that I “BE BOLDER!!!” explaining that Bethenny is “super high energy and the audience needs to feed off that energy.” (Which is good because that means they’re not feeding off Bethenny’s Skinny Girl food line.) “That’s super!” I said.

The pre-interviewer assured me she “had Bethenny’s ear at all times,” and I asked if she kept it in an Altoids box and showed it off at parties, but she didn’t laugh. I had to admit she was very good at her job. Her questions were pointed and provocative and my answers were, I hoped, thoughtful and considered.

Finally she said: “That’s nice but I’m not feeling the energy.

“Bethenny wants you to be WILD! Where’s the ENERGY???”

I started dropping cuss words and screaming my answers into the phone following each with a semi-maniacal “YOU FEEL ME????”

“Yes! Yes! That’s it! That’s it!” she screamed. “More of that! Do it again!” I felt like we were making the world’s weirdest phone porn.

A few days later, I got the call and, guess what? They decided to go in a different direction. I pictured that direction as a planet inhabited by people who gulp Red Bull by the case and crush the empties on their Botoxed foreheads.

Clearly, this TV thing is harder than it looks. But still basically super!

rivenbark.com

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