August 23, 2011 5:00am PT by Jethro Nededog
E! Signs Ross Mathews to New Talk Show Pilot Development and Talent Deal (Exclusive)
Ross Mathews is stepping up into the big league. The frequent contributor and sometimes guest host for Chelsea Lately has signed a comprehensive development and talent deal with E! Entertainment.
“It really is the time and I feel like I’m ready now,” Mathews, 31, tells The Hollywood Reporter exclusively. “I know how to speak to the audience. I know how to speak to celebrities. And I know my point of view.”
Under the new one-year agreement, Mathews will develop his own talk show pilot in collaboration with Chelsea Handler’s production company, Borderline Amazing Productions. He’ll also officially serve as one of E!’s featured talents.
“We’ve been doing stuff together for a couple years now, but this really makes it official,” he says of the talent portion of the new deal. “And so what this is going to do is sort of firm up our relationship and say I’m going to be one of E!’s people now.”
“When people see my face,” he continues. “I want them to say, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s Ross from E!’ and ‘I know where to tune in to see him.’ ”
In 2001, national audiences first met Mathews as a correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where he became known as “Ross the Intern.” Mathews still contributes to the show on occasion.
He has also appeared on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club, guest hosted on The View, and held a recurring role on the NBC soap, Days of our Lives. He’s also a national spokesperson for the Jenny Craig weight loss company.
On E!, Mathews has been featured on Chelsea Lately, After Lately, E! News, and Live from the Red Carpet. Under the new deal, he’ll continue to appear on those programs on a regular basis.
“I’ve been earning my stripes for the past decade,” he tells us. “And really honing my craft as far as surrounding myself with people that inspire me like Jay Leno and Chelsea Handler. I’ve been so lucky that they provided my opportunity to develop a clear voice that the audience has responded to.”
In January, he produced, co-wrote and starred in a pilot for E! alongside Chelsea Lately contributor, Heather McDonald, that ultimately didn’t get picked up by the network.
Mathews is represented by Creative Artists Agency and Degenkolb Entertainment.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro