I joined “Chasing News,” which airs weeknights on Fox in New York and Philadelphia as well as weeknights on My 9 in New Jersey to chat about my recent interview with Vinny Guadagnino. The fine folks in the newsroom there were most-interested in the part of our conversation where we dove in to the current political climate surrounding President Trump.
Semi-related: If you ever wondered what my living room looked like… voila!
Vinny Guadagnino successfully transitioned from a MTV reality show that covered he and his castmates drunken debauchery to a show that chronicles he and his mom traveling the country and eating different types of food.
But for the Staten Island native who is still proud to call New York home, the move is far from finished.
“As long as it’s a good product, I don’t have to be in the biggest thing,” Guadagnino explained during a wide-ranging sit down interview on my radio show. He even mentioned that he turned down multiple offers, including big paydays, because he’s “not a great, trashy reality star.” “I’m really not saying I’m too good for anything. I really believe in myself as an entertainer because I’m such a huge comedy nerd.”
Guadagnino also stopped short of saying he has any regrets about the process thus far.
“It’s actually kind of fun, like you were on this big show, and now you have to kind of like, weave your way out of it and on to the next thing,” he said. “Now, you’d be an idiot if you said, ‘Oh that show was not good,’ because people (still) want to talk to me.”
But after that, Guadagnino perhaps best exhibits the difference in mindset between he and his former “Jersey Shore” cast members.
“Every interview is now an audition, every TV show you go on is a stage and now you can just prove it to the world,” the New Yorker continued. “It’s interesting. It’s hard, but it’s fun.”
And while there were the inevitable tough moments on the road with his mom, overall Vinny enjoyed filming “Vinny And Ma Eat America” for The Cooking Channel with his mother Paola. The two are great on camera, and Guadagnino is hopeful for more episodes following the March 11 marathon that aired of the first batch.
Speaking of transitions, the show follows mom and son as Paola travels to new cities and tries cuisines she’s never had before (basically anything that doesn’t fall under the Italian genre). Guadagnino said one of the highlights was his mom eating and actually enjoying sushi, although he is doubtful it makes the “Feast of the Seven Fish” Christmas Eve dinner menu.
The eight or so days leading up to Memorial Day have proven to be some of the craziest since I moved to New York, and this year proved no different. The 2016 version of this stretch differed from previous years in that it didn’t begin until the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend; it usually commences on Thursday.
Nonetheless, I spent four days in Las Vegas covering the 2016 Billboard Music Awards and serving as the warm-up act for dick clark productions. This entails me going on stage in front of 20,000 people and hyping them up over what’s to come with the show.
This is my third year serving in that capacity for dcp and by far the coolest part this time around was having my Mom and my Aunt Alice in the crowd watching me. I even squeezed in dinner with them Monday night before my red-eye back east.
I landed Tuesday morning and what waited was two days of a normal work schedule. But on Thursday I hit the road again, heading down the shore to Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey for 95.5 PLJ’s annual Summer Kick-Off. This year, my fellow Western New Yorkers, the Goo Goo Dolls were the headliners.
I drove back Friday morning, with a pit stop at Wegmans to stock up on groceries, and was on the air Friday night. I took Saturday and Sunday to myself but was back on the air Monday evening – my fourth Memorial Day both in New York and on the radio.
Rachel Platten has experienced a lot in 2015 – from performing her uplifting anthem “Fight Song” on “Good Morning America” to enjoying cupcakes emblazed with her face.
“Which I didn’t even know you could do!” exclaimed Platten of the dessert, which friends at her record label served for her birthday last week. “It makes them more delicious.”
Everything has to taste better for the New England-born singer these days. Platten dropped her first album in 2003. Her next release came eight years later. Both were recorded independently from a major label. Then Platten, “Fight Song” in tow, shopped around her and the track from label-to-label. I jokingly mention that she “may have heard ‘no’ a few times;” rightfully so she quickly dismisses this.
“I think I’ve been rejected by probably every single person in the industry,” she responded, with little sense of hyperbole in her tone. “But I just won’t give up. I don’t know. I have this crazy little thing in my head that won’t quit.
“I didn’t care. Of course it hurt, but something in me just wouldn’t let me stop. I felt like I had this message to give the world.”
So did Columbia Records, the label that signed Platten and released her Fight Song EP. In addition to the “GMA” performance, Platten is enjoying her greatest chart success yet. “Fight Song” peaked last week at 11 on the Billboard Adult Pop chart; it’s been on the chart for 11 weeks.
“As I spread this message, I get the privilege of listening to other people’s struggles and what they’re working on overcoming, and what I’ve found to be so true is that we all have something,” she said. “Sometimes we’re shy about saying it publicly; sometimes we don’t want to declare it. But when you do there’s this power that comes from that, and you get this rush of love and support from your friends and family.”
And that rush will probably continue through the summer for Platten, as she tours in support of co-headliners Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri. The “Girls Night Out, Boys Can Come Too” trek kicks off at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on July 10.
In the inaugural edition of “Weekend Scoop,” we catch up with the four acts that played this year’s “Summer Kick-Off” at Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant, N.J. and find out what they are looking forward to with the unofficial start of summer. To see more from this year’s Kick-Off, click here.
“Weekend Scoop” will feature different artists, magazines, TV stations and more every week – reporting on subjects ranging from celebrity news to events you need to know about. Catch it every Friday on “Ralphie Tonight.”
Some credit “Jersey Shore” with reviving MTV, a network that was trying to find its place in pop culture after “The Real World” ratings dwindled, “The Hills” came to an end, and music videos became an online, on-demand commodity.
But, it almost didn’t happen. The original concept for “Jersey Shore” was actually intended for VH1.
“When I applied for it, there was actually a VH1 application,” revealed Seaside Heights star Vinny Guadagnino. The Staten Island-born partier sat down with me at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT before signing copies of his new book, Control The Crazy: My Plan To Stop Stressing, Avoid Drama, and Maintain Inner Cool. “It was asking for ‘orange’ people that have really spike-y hair and big muscles and stuff.”
Offended that the casting directors thought all people who partied on the Shore looked like this, Guadagnino applied, despite lacking the tan, hair, and muscles. Producers loved him and the reality TV star was a part of the first show pilot, entitled “Guidos.” Initially, the plan was to take the “Flavor of Love” or “Rock of Love” dating competition model and apply it to Seaside Heights. But fearing that there was already too many shows similar on television, Viacom executives changed the concept to a more “Real World”-like model. Vinny was left, but some younger women, such as Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi were brought in. Suddenly, the show was more MTV friendly.
“You need diversity in the cast,” explained Guadagnino. “You need a spectrum from light to tan (laughing). That’s why you pick me, because people want to identify with different types of people. So if you had all the same cast member, it wouldn’t really be an entertaining show, right?”
Probably not, and perhaps the series would not be gearing up for its sixth season. Filming in “the house” begins this summer.
“When I first started, I didn’t know what I was walking in to,” Vinny recalled. “Now at least I know who is going to be there. I know that ‘Snooki’ is pregnant and Mike [‘The Situation’ Sorrentino] was just going through something so, I just know as much as you do. I’m just going to go there and make the best of it.”
That “something” Guadagnino referred to is probably the reports that “The Situation” found himself in rehab, allegedly over addictions to alcohol and prescription pills. The abuse of drugs is one of many lessons Vinny touches on in his new book, as he tries to help others cope with anxiety issues.
“Whenever Mike does something bad, he always comes to me,” Guadagnino said. “He’s like, ‘Vin, I’m gonna do something.’ And I’m like, ‘Alright…’ because he knows that I’m going to give him “the look” afterwards.”
As Vinny found himself needing help, he went to an on-set therapist, who he refers to in the book as “Dr. B.” But not even a professional could prevent the anxiety from getting the best of Guadagnino, and he reveals in the book that it was his personal struggle that led him to temporarily leave the show during season five.
“When it was happening to me, they really didn’t know what to do,” said Vinny, before revealing that his cast-mates offered him amongst other things, strippers, to help him out. Guadagnino appreciated the sentiment but declined. “Anything that ever happens to you can be looked at as a positive thing because the reason why I know all this stuff and I have a book and that I’m very knowledgeable in spirituality is because I’ve gone through it.”
As he said earlier in the interview when referring to himself, Guadagnino truly is the “Dalai Lama” of the house on “Jersey Shore.” If nothing else, he certainly adds to the cast a diversity that he credits with the show’s success.
The cast returns to Seaside Heights this summer to film season six of the hit reality show. In addition to Snooki’s forthcoming child, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino just finished a stint in rehab.
“Nicole is supposedly coming down,” the “blast in a glass” said. “I mean she probably won’t be drinking with me. But, Nicole and her personality, me and my personality, you don’t even need alcohol to have a good time.”
Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Surely regardless of Snooki’s soberness, there will be plenty of the usual shenanigans that fans of “Jersey Shore” have come to expect. Deena did say that she also expects that some of her friends will visit while she’s in the house.
“Give me music and a bar, and I’ll just dance on it really,” Cortese continued, attempting to convince me that she doesn’t need liquor to party.
There is one thing that the “walking holiday” definitely can do without: her cell phone. This is definite, because all phones are confiscated once taping commences. Cortese revealed that the cast’s isolation from the outside world can sometimes benefit it.
“Say you’re on your cell phone and something happens outside the house, and it completely changes your mood; like [the producers] don’t want that to happen,” she explained. “My first time I was in the house, thank God they kept all that stuff away. No one knew about me… and they were trying to find every skeleton in my closet, and all these lies were going on about me throughout the media. But I had no idea so I was completely fine in the house.”
Deena has certainly adapted to life in the spotlight – accumulating over a million followers on Twitter in the process. Her boyfriend of seven months however, prefers to stay away from the cameras, and may not be seen regularly on the upcoming season.
“He’s not really in to the limelight, and people knowing about his business,” Cortese said of her beau, Chris Buckner. “Hopefully he does [come to visit], even just to get lunch or something.”
Cortese assures though that despite her relationship status, she is still the same partier that viewers have come to both love and loathe.
“I’m the same blast in a glass, he knows I’m a meatball,” she said. “As long as I don’t cheat on him, me and him will be fine, and I would never cheat on him.”
But, for better or worse, what happens in Seaside Heights ends up on MTV. So one way or the other, we’ll all get to see if Deena is true to her word next season.
“Jersey Shore” cast mate Snooki dropped a couple bombshells, err… meatballs, this week. Nicole Polizzi confirmed to US Weekly that she is pregnant with a child and that the father is her new fiancé, Jionni LaValle.
Holyyscoop.com’s Diana Madison checked in to “The Ralphie Radio Show” with celebrity reaction and her own insight on the future of the hit MTV reality show.