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In the red-carpet rough-up, don't bet against the blonde



Published: Sat, January 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



In the red-carpet rough-up, don't bet against the blonde

By TANYA BARRIENTOS

KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

At the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 16, I guarantee that the best entertainment of the night won't come from inside the Beverly Hilton, where the prizes are doled out.

It'll come from the red carpet.

That's where Star Jones Reynolds (the bridezilla of daytime talk television) will take on Joan Rivers (the collagen queen of snark) in a fashion-commentary smackdown, no holds barred.

In case you haven't heard, it's a de la Renta rumble that's being hyped in the Hollywood tabloids like a Don King fight. The two gossip mavens will go at it, Manolo-a-Manolo, across the crimson shag.

Blonde vs. brunette!

Pulled-up vs. pre-nupped!

The thrilla in chinchilla!

In this corner: "Call Me Mrs." Star, representing the cable heavyweight E! network.

In that corner: "Can We Talk?" Joan and her daughter, "Find Me a Job" Melissa, representing the bantam-class TV Guide Channel.

Yes, you read that right. The TV Guide Channel, famous for ... well, nothing except its hypnotic, slow-rolling TV-schedule grid. "Wow, six hours of 'Seinfeld' reruns again?

Hot stuff

But this bout is so big, so bling, so botoxed, that for the first time in its history, the TV Guide Channel will shed the schedule for two hours Jan. 16. That's right, the Rivers team will fill the entire screen from 6 to 8 p.m., although their egos are bound to spill over.

The awards show will run on NBC from 8 to 11 p.m., and the network will have Nancy O'Dell from "Access Hollywood" doing its celebrity stalking from 7 to 8. But let's face it, in this game, she's strictly third-string.

Here's how the Joan-Star showdown came about.

For eight years, Joan was the undisputed chief of the celebrity fashion police. In fact, she practically invented the sharp-tongued trash talk that put E! on the map during the awards-show season.

But last year the Rivers team jumped ship after TV Guide waved a cool $8 million contract in front of their surgically reconstructed noses.

So E! hired Star, and played hardball at September's Emmy Awards, barring Rivers from the celebrity stroll because of contract technicalities.

The problem is, Star tends to be more interested in herself than in whoever happens to sashay her way. Last time she worked the glam walk, she cooed and swooned and practically kissed the hem of every Vera Wang and Marc Jacobs that fluttered by. But she was only buttering them up before putting them on the spot by asking them to appear on her show, "The View."

Can we talk?

Puh-leese. You call that celebrity journalism? I want my infotainment to be hard-nosed as well as tummy-tucked. Or at least exfoliated.

I demand sass and snoot and smugness. And Joan will serve it up, because she knows that's what will make us happy as we munch our Doritos and behold men and women who are prettier, richer, and much more successful than we can ever hope to be.

Gleefully, Joan will expose the poseurs wearing Zac Posen, and rib the narcissists in Narciso Rodriguez.If you ask me, that's the sign of a true champ, and a perfectly good reason to place our bets on her again.




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