Jenny McCarthy says her mission with her new late-night talk show is to “bring sexy back” to the genre. This seems like an eminently attainable goal for the former Playboy centerfold, who describes The Jenny McCarthy Show as “Playboy After Dark meets Watch What Happens Live.” The weekly gabfest, which will feature celebs and comedy segments, will haunt VH1 Fridays beginning Feb. 8.
The show will shoot in Los Angeles, but if it’s a big hit and the network wants to make it a daily program, McCarthy says she will insist production move to her hometown of Chicago, where she has recently re-relocated. It was in the Windy City where the 40-year-old McCarthy, who has been turning heads lately with her toned abs, took some time to answer our “7 Questions”:
You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three titles. Which ones do you choose?
Us Weekly, National Geographic and then Outdoor Life — with a giant deer on it, and someone hunting it.
If your DVR only carried three shows, which three would you pick?
It’s so funny, because I have nothing on my DVR, and I haven’t been into TV forever because I write so much. (In addition to her books, McCarthy also writes an advice column for the Chicago Sun-Times.) Modern Family, Mob Wives, and I like documentaries, so I would probably look ahead for documentaries or specials on cults.
What has been your strangest fan encounter?
I had a guy jump off a railing onto my head. Like, off a balcony. But a lot of the times it’s on an airplane. I think 90 percent of the time I fly I get it. Because you can’t get off the airplane, is the problem. You have an audience that is listening and watching, and sometimes there’s a line formed and it basically just turns into an autograph session, or a therapy session because there’s a lot of moms with kids with autism.
Tell me about a time when you were starstruck.
The first time I went out to L.A. after moving from Chicago and had kind of made it, I met Goldie Hawn. She was my mentor, so to speak, and when I saw her I was like a kid in a candy store. Not so much anymore. I’ve realized that celebrities aren’t all that great. Everybody’s s— stinks the same.
What are three things you have to have in your fridge or pantry?
Gluten-free crackers. I have to have soup, so now I can survive off the crackers. And I have to have water, or I’ll lose my mind.
What are you hoping to bring to the talk-show game with your show?
Everyone is always saying they want to try something different, blah blah blah, but I think really the difference comes in the host. My humor tends to be a little bit more like Monty Python, so I wanted to incorporate that into late night, and bring some sexy back. So basically, that would put me as Benny Hill.
How has life been since you’ve moved back to Chicago?
It’s been the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. I never thought in a million years I would be coming back, because in my head back then it meant I failed. Really, I came back going, “Oh my God, it actually worked. I’ve got the best of both worlds.” I was able to go out and make a brand and come back and have my son be raised the way I was raised, in an awesome community of friends that you have for a lifetime. He says he’d never go back to Los Angeles, so I feel lucky that all worked out. Hopefully I’m still able to survive flying back and forth to work and live.
Photo: Credit: VH1