Ross Mathews will be a permanent host on entertainment news show “Hollywood Today Live,” which is syndicated on Fox stations, Variety has learned. He has begun filling in as a guest host and will continue to do so over the next few weeks, before he officially starts the gig on Jan. 4.
Mathews’ appointment comes as the team behind the show has decided to feature more well-known on-camera talent, insiders say, adding that original co-hosts AJ Gibson and Porscha Coleman’s contracts were not picked up.
Gibson and Coleman, who will not be back on the show, were among “Hollywood Today Live’s” original talent from the time the show was greenlit, along with Tanner Thomason and Kristen Brockman. The latter two will remain on the series as regular hosts with Mathews, plus the current red carpet/field correspondent Amanda Salas. An unannounced fourth host will join Mathews, Thomason and Brockman, as the plan is to have the permanent foursome in place by Jan. 4.
Actress Garcelle Beauvais has been filling in as a guest co-host over the past two weeks, and Alexa Penavega (“Dancing With the Stars”) will co-host the show on Friday with Mathews, Thomason and Brockman.
Mathews will only have in-studio hosting duties as he will not be covering any red carpet events for “Hollywood Today Live.” Still under a deal with E!, insiders say that Mathews — who has been a staple on “E!’s Live From the Red Carpet” award show coverage — is set to appear on the cabler’s Golden Globes pre-show, though his negotiations with the net are still underway.
Aside from his award show work with E!, Mathews has appeared on the “Live From E!” roundtable series and hosted his own weekly entertainment show for the net, “Hello Ross,” which wrapped after two seasons in 2014. He’s also a judge on Logo’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Getting his start as Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” intern, Mathews hosts his own pop culture podcast “Straight Talk with Ross Mathews,” which has inspired a successful SiriusXM show of the same name that is currently being negotiated for an extension on the subscription satellite radio service.
“Hollywood Today Live” hails from Media General’s BiteSize TV. After a six-week test run in summer 2014, the daily show was picked up in major markets for the 2015 season and has since been picked up on more Fox-owned stations. The hourlong program films at BiteSize TV studios on Hollywood and Vine.
Mathews is repped by WME and Degenkolb Entertainment.