Emmy Central: Kinder, Gentler Red Carpet a Winner for Star Jones, E!

Sep 27, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Critics may have sniffed at her performance, but Star Jones’ turn as a red carpet queen for E! generated ratings that were on par with those of past years and kept the network’s promise to improve its relations with the talent community.

After a summer-long search “The View” co-host was announced last-minute as the replacement for the longtime E! team of Joan and Melissa Rivers, who left the network last July. Ms. Jones’ turn at hosting the two-hour annual celebrity fest “Countdown to the Red Carpet” garnered a 1.92 household rating, according to E! In 2003 the show likewise drew a 1.92, and in 2002 it pulled a 1.89.

This year’s red carpet rating is a bit more impressive considering viewership of the Emmy telecast sank to 14 million viewers, its lowest rating in more than a decade.

During the show “Sex and the City” actress Kim Cattrall said that with Ms. Jones hosting, the red carpet “is not as scary as it usually is.” Some critics, however, said that was precisely the problem, and chastised Ms. Jones for being too gushing and for frequently plugging “The View.”

E! Networks President and CEO Ted Harbert said he will decide this week whether Ms. Jones will host future televised red carpet events.

“Maybe for her first time getting out there, Star was one to have a good time with all these people she knows, but I’d much rather err on that side than the other side,” Mr. Harbert said. “I got so many comments from all over the country was that she was so refreshing.”

One of Mr. Harbert’s goals with the network has been to mend fences with the creative community. Tapping Ms. Jones could be seen as an effort to make E! a more hospitable promotional pit stop for celebrity talent. Mr. Harbert, who on Emmy night was on-site with the red carpet team, said he was relieved to see celebrities lining up to speak to Ms. Jones.

“I’m not going to say [Ms. Jones] was 100 percent a choice to deliver the friendly red carpet,” Mr. Harbert said. “But anybody who had a question about talking to E! before, I think those questions have been answered.”

Other members of the red carpet team included Robert Verdie (host of new weekly E! series “Fashion Police,”) Brooke Burke (co-host of E!’s “Wild On,”) KTLA-TV reporter Sam Rubin, E! Online’s Kristin Veitch, former “The Bachelor” star Andrew Firestone and actor/comedian Mystro Clark.