By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Monday, July 18, 2016
Actor and comic Mario Cantone is a mere 56 years old but during an interview Friday, he kept fashioning himself as that out-of-touch uncle who couldn’t name a member of One Direction or “Pretty Little Liars.”
Sure, the “Sex and the City” star isn’t typically up to date on the latest Kim Karsashian or Taylor Swift shenanigans but he has been cast on a test run of a show called “Page Six TV.” It’s basically a panel show (like “The View” or “The Real” or “The Talk”) but mixed gender and focused on pop culture like syndicated shows “TMZ” and “Dish Nation.” And it plays off the legacy of the famous New York Post gossip column Page Six.
The program debuts for three weeks starting today (July 14) in seven markets, including Atlanta’s Fox 5 (WAGA-TV). Here, it will sub out “Dish Nation” at 7 p.m. (You can still catch “Dish Nation” at 12:30 a.m. if you have it on DVR.) If the ratings are strong enough, the syndicator will pitch it for time slots for the fall of 2017.
“I have to study up to know what I’m talking about with some of this stuff,” Cantone admits. “The great thing is I’m representing my age. The townhouse set that doesn’t give a s*** about this stuff. It’s nothing serious but the point is to joke around and have fun.”
He had just finished a test show and enjoyed it. (The show has to be shot the same day to keep up with breaking gossip.)
His colleagues include a couple of young journalists (Carlos Greer of the New York Post, Elizabeth Wegmeister of “Variety”) and Bravo “Fashion Queens” host Bev Smith. There are no plans to do celebrity interviews or go on the street. It’s simply a gabfest in front of an audience with some alcohol involved a la “Watch What Happens Live.”
“It’s a quick show, half hour, boom boom!” Cantone said.
Getting back to his “old” credentials, he said he loves watching TCM more than TMZ. And he called the other panelists “young’uns.” (Bevy Smith, though, is 49 years old, just seven years younger than he is.)
Cantone actually started his entertaining career hosting a children’s show in his 20s. “I was the kid at one point,” he said. “Not anymore. I like this position of being older and having to admit I don’t know who that person is. It’s refreshing!”
He finally admitted after I prodded him: “I’m not that old. I play the elderly card. I shouldn’t! I don’t look it! And I’ve had no Botox! When you see my forehead looking like an ice skating rink, come get me!”
And I had to ask if he had heard anything about a third “Sex and the City” movie. Unfortunately, he has heard nothing recently. “We were hearing rumors, then it went away,” he said. “I don’t know. They better hurry up or it’ll be ‘Sex and the Sunshine Home’ soon!”
Cantone, in the meantime, recently shot episodes of ABC’s summer limited series of “$100,000 Pyramid” (and he was good!) and will be a panelist on “Match Game” later this summer with Alec Baldwin as host. And he has recently done two off-Broadway shows. One called “Steve” was directed by “Sex and the City” alum Cynthia Nixon.
And he starred in another starring Ralph Macchio of “Karate Kid” fame called “A Room of My Own.” “He’s my buddy,” Cantone said. “The play is set in the 1970s. I play the closeted gay uncle who cannot talk about his sexuality.”
This reminded me of Charles Nelson Reilly of “Match Game” fame. For Cantone’s episodes, he gets to sit in Reilly’s spot on the panel. He said in his promos, he’ll channel the man’s greatness.
“Page Six,” 7 p.m. weekdays from July 18 through 5