'E! News' New Co-Host Terrence Jenkins Talks New Gig, Big Gets and Seacrest's Advice (Q&A)
"The goal is to land somewhere in the realm of Ryan Seacrest meets Will Smith," quips the former "106 & Park" host of his longer-term aspirations.
Move over, Seacrest.
Beginning tonight, 106 & Park's Terrence Jenkins will move into the American Idol host's former chair as co-host of E! News. His debut will feature an exclusive interview with bad-boy rapper Chris Brown.
The move comes as the hour-long show looks to expand beyond celebrity, focusing more broadly on pop culture, politics, fashion and music. Jenkins, formerly known as Terrence J, will join Giuliana Rancic on the weekday news desk, working on personality profiles and other reporting for the show.
Jenkins, who has appeared on-screen in such films as Stomp the Yard, Think Like a Man and Sparkle, talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the advice from Seacrest, the way he plans to differentiate the newscast and his longer term plan to build a Seacrest-meets-Will Smith empire.
The Hollywood Reporter: As you've been preparing in recent weeks, what's the pop cultural story that has taken place and made you say to yourself, 'I wish I was on the air right now?'
Terrence Jenkins: E! News’ coverage of the Olympic Games and the Presidential Election were incredibly exciting to watch. Seeing Giuliana in London and watching Ross Mathews interview the First Lady definitely made me want to jump in on the action early.
THR: You're filling Ryan Seacrest's shoes. What advice has he given you about the job?
Jenkins: As managing editor, Ryan is still an important part of E! News and he's been incredibly influential to me and my career. One thing that he told me was for me not to accept any limitations. He told me to look for ways to build my brand and to never take no for an answer.
THR: Who else have you sought advice from? What did they say?
Jenkins: I spoke with Sharon Osbourne the other day and she told me to "have fun, smile and always be yourself." Simple advice but important at the same time and I took it to heart.
THR: When you start to think about interviews you'd like to do, who are the top three subjects at the top of your wish list?
Jenkins: There are so many compelling people that I’d love to interview who are doing amazing things and having a big impact in the world of pop culture, it’s impossible to pick just three. I’m very excited about my exclusive one-on-one interview with Chris Brown that will be featured on E! News this Monday, my first day on the job.
THR: What will differentiate your iteration of E! News? What tweaks should the viewers expect?
Jenkins: I come from a vastly different background than anyone else on the show. I have a unique perspective that will hopefully add depth and energy to an already great program. It’s an exciting time for E! News as the show has continued to broaden its scope, covering not only celebrities and Hollywood but also expanding into the worlds of music, politics, fashion and sports. Viewers should expect the unexpected.
THR: Which elements of your past on 106 & Park do you intend to bring to this show?
Jenkins: I love sneakers. One day I'm going to convince G to wear some hi-tops on air!
THR: You transitioned from host to on-air talent fairly recently. What was the most eye-opening aspect of that transition?
Jenkins: It's been such a gratifying experience. I've been getting told no from casting directors for over 10 years after going out on hundreds of auditions, castings and meetings. It's eye-opening to see what can happen if you don't give up on your dreams.
THR: Looking ahead, what kind of acting roles are you looking to pursue?
Jenkins: I plan on acting in everything from dramas to romantic comedy, although I may have to do a few more push-ups before landing an action flick. But for me right now, my attention is focused on the job at hand and maximizing my full potential at E! News. I hope to contribute to and build on the show’s success, and give viewers something new to look forward to every night.
THR: Why did you decide to take the hosting gig rather than focus entirely on acting?
Jenkins: I have a deep-running passion for pop culture and I love having that direct, immediate connection of engaging the audience on a daily basis. E! is a global powerhouse that owns the world of pop culture and this is a dream job for me. I also love acting and being able to lose myself in a role. The goal is to land somewhere in the realm of Ryan Seacrest meets Will Smith. Here goes nothing...