August 23, 2011 7:11pm PT by Jethro Nededog
Ross Mathews Reveals His Talk Show Plans: 'I'm Going to Get It Right'
Ross Mathews has been at it for more than a decade and now the on-air personality has stepped up to the big league. As The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported on Tuesday, Mathews inked a deal with E! to develop his own talk show pilot and make him an official E! on-air personality.
“It’s going to be my big shot,” Mathews tells THR about his new talk show deal. “It’s my big show. We’re working it out now, but I have always wanted to be a talk show host ever since I was a little kid growing up in Washington state. Included in this deal is the shot to really shoot that show for E!, and I’m over the moon about it.”
Viewers got a taste of what to expect from Mathews’ new show when he guest-hosted for the second time on Chelsea Lately Monday night with guest Joey Lawrence. After the taping, we spoke to Mathews about Monday’s show, and what he envisions for the new talk show he’s developing for E!.
The Hollywood Reporter: You just guest-hosted on Chelsea Lately. What was the highlight of the show for you?
Mathews: I got to do the whole roundtable, and then Joey Lawrence was the guest interview. And hello, I’ve been like dorking out over Joey Lawrence since I was a little boy. It was like a boyhood dream come true to talk to him.
THR: Did you get any good dish from him?
Mathews: I did ask him if he ever dated Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and there was a pause. There was a pause, so my investigative journalism got to the root of that. I feel like there’s a history there. I like to consider myself hard-hitting, but flirting with Joey Lawrence got in the way of that.
THR: How did you feel when E! offered you the deal?
Mathews: When E! came to me and said they wanted to expand my role on the network including shooting a pilot, I was thrilled, but it felt right. I mean, I worked really hard and when you’re ‘Ross the Intern,’ I get it. I was behind the scenes answering phones of The Tonight Show with dreams of becoming a talk-show host and that Hollywood dream happened to me. But, I understand you don't get legitimacy like that right away. Sure, I was on national television on The Tonight Show for years and years and years, but I understood that a lot of people didn’t think I could ever carry a show. I knew it. I’ve always known that that’s the one thing that I would ever be good at. But slowly throughout the years and proving myself and developing that voice, when I found out that E! wanted to give me this deal, I felt like okay. It’s well earned and I’m ready. I am ready.
THR: How is your new talk show going to be different from what’s out there now?
Mathews: In the past ten years, we’ve built a really strong foundation not only with The Tonight Show, but now of course in the past few years, being on [Chelsea Handler's] show every week. The only thing that separates everybody -- because I don't think you would re-invent the wheel for a talk show -- it’s about point of view and that’s what I spent the past decade developing is my point of view. There are so many funny people, and so many talented people, but the one thing nobody else has is my take on the world. So, when I’m developing my show, that’s going to be the focus. My energy, my spontaneity, and my unique voice, and I’m not talking about this squeaky thing right here.
THR: How would you describe your point of view?
Mathews: I take a lot of pride in managing to be funny without having a victim at the end of my joke. I laugh at a really dark joke as much as the next person, but my jokes, I feel, don't have to hurt anybody to be really funny. That’s the number one goal of any show that I’ll do is being funny without a victim. So, it’ll be ‘LOL.’ It’ll be spontaneous and it’ll be a good time. Listen, it’s a crappy world out there right now. Unemployment is at almost 15 percent in some states. People need a reason to smile, and I want to give a half-hour of sit down, just chill out with me, and let’s ‘LOL’ together. It’s going to be a happy moment.
THR: Will you have your own sidekick?
Mathews: Listen, I’m not delusional enough to think that I could do this by myself. Every strong voice seems to bounce off other people and I’m thinking about who I want there with me. Who do I think is funny? Who do I think the audience will respond to? And I’m going to get it right. This kind of chance doesn’t come around all the time. I’m going to get it right.
THR: Who will be your first guest?
Mathews: I’m friends with Gwyneth Paltrow. She always told me that she’d be my first guest. So, we’ll see if that ever happens. I’m going to call that favor in one day.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro