Emmy-nominated Fil-Am hosts own chat show
LOS ANGELES—He got “physical” with Olivia Newton-John. He’s pals with Sharon Osbourne. He and Margaret Cho ate “bizarre” Asian food items spread over the reclined bodies of two hunks in briefs. Welcome to the world of Fil-Am Emmy nominee Marc Anthony Nicolas, who hosts the weekly talk show, “On Your Marc!”
Marc, one of the producers of CBS’ “The Talk,” is having the time of his life being in front of the cameras in his own show, which airs on Lifestyle Network, a premium channel of TFC (The Filipino Channel). The Manila native’s playful personality livens up the show, a dream come true for the man who worked behind the cameras for Tyra Banks, MTV and FOX before becoming a producer on “The Talk.”
The son of Marianito (from Sampaloc) and the late Teresita (from Pasig) immigrated with his family to the United States when he was four years old. Outstanding in his student days, Marc worked his way up after college. He juggles his job at “The Talk” with hosting “On Your Marc!” which he created with executive producer Philip Anthony. RD Alba directs the show which debuted last June and will premiere its second season in December.
Below are excerpts from our fun interview with Marc:
If somebody had told you that you’d have your own talk show someday, how would you have reacted?
I would’ve said, “Yeah right! When pigs fly!” Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d host my own show. But this proves that we should never underestimate the power of hard work, dedication and persistence.
You and your guests always seem to have fun. So far, what has been your craziest experience on the show?
I’m lucky to have a great team behind the show. Philip and RD are phenomenal to work with! We want viewers to be entertained so we think out of the box when brainstorming. Each episode is tailored for the celebrity guest.
Olivia Newton-John’s interview was so much fun and fabulous. We wanted to pay her tribute by having me transform into three memorable characters associated with her. I got “physical” with her by wearing gold skin-tight leotards. Then I dressed as a T-Bird, rocking hair grease and a leather jacket. Finally, I morphed into a Pink Lady with purple hair.
What are the first things that come to your mind about some of your guests?
I’ve known Sharon Osbourne for five years. She is as real as it gets. She inspires me to be the best version of myself.
I feel as if I grew up with Olivia Newton-John, because my family watched “Grease” often and that’s likely why I felt an instant connection with her when we met.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Margaret Cho’s. She is hilarious, kind, a free spirit.
I’ve known Carnie Wilson for years; I’m in love with her aura and energy. Around each other, we laugh uncontrollably because she comes up with the most unexpected things. She loves Filipino food, especially adobo.
I’ve been a fan of “Beverly Hills, 90210” since it premiered, so interviewing Ian Ziering (a.k.a. Steve Sanders) was a dream come true. He’s loving; you can see that in his eyes when he talks about his kids and his wife Erin… I’m so lucky to have him as a friend.
How can you not know who Keith Richards is?
I nearly died of embarrassment on the show when I told Sharon that. I blame Madonna, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé for hogging my iPod! Seriously, after that faux pas, I did intense research and can now tell you almost everything about Keith Richards.
Who had more fun eating “bizarre” Asian food off the bodies of two guys, you or Margaret Cho?
Margaret and I had an amazing time playing “Super Marc-et.” We both enjoyed the game—which she won but I think I had more fun, as evidenced by how I took my sweet time savoring the food! We were giggling throughout.
What are the first things that come to your mind about “The Talk” hosts?
Sharon is an incredible and gentle leader but she also knows that family comes first. Julie Chen is a seasoned talent… beautiful inside and out.
Sheryl Underwood is so funny! She manages to have fun, and make it fun for everyone else. Aisha Tyler is multitalented… she’s one of those unicorns who is great at everything. Sara Gilbert is sweet! Her positive attitude gives the whole team great energy.
What’s your daily schedule like as
producer of “The Talk”?
I wake up at 6:30 a.m. At 8 a.m., I arrive at “The Talk” [set]. We prep for the live show until 11. From 11 to 12, “The Talk” goes live. From 12 to 6 p.m., we work on the next segments, etc. By 6:30 p.m. I’m at SoulCycle (exercise chain branch in West Hollywood, California). From 8 to 11 p.m., I work on future episodes of “On Your Marc!” At 11, I sleep. Somewhere in that schedule, I eat.
What do you enjoy most and least about being a producer?
I enjoy everything about it. I love working at “The Talk” because it’s a place that pushes me to be the best producer I can be… I’m proud to be a part of the show.
What was it like working with Tyra Banks?
Ah-mazing! When I found out that I was hired at “The Tyra Banks Show,” I couldn’t stop jumping. She’s smart, beautiful, funny and fierce! Those were the best years of my life.
What were the highlights of your stint?
It was my very first talk show. I didn’t realize there was so much work that goes into creating a daily talk show so I did my best to learn everything I could.
Actor-comedian Alec Mapa once said that being Asian and gay is a “double whammy” in the US entertainment scene. Do you occasionally still feel resistance?
Asian and gay are only two of the million things that I proudly am. When we put smart, funny, hardworking and well-dressed into the equation and conversation, I don’t think there is any resistance that cannot be negated!
What challenge do you wish to overcome, personally and professionally?
My challenge and daily goal is to learn something new and be better than yesterday’s version of myself. No one should ever stop learning.
You worked as a pharmacy tech in a hospital and as a server in restaurants. Were you already harboring dreams of breaking into the entertainment scene?
We all start somewhere. My years spent working at the pharmacy and restaurants may not have been as optimally fulfilling but they gave me so much: the motivation to dream big and the courage to take leaps of faith.
It was during that time that I was convinced about what I wanted to do with my life, [and I learned] the value of hard work that the entertainment industry would later require of me. I spent many days daydreaming and strategizing but I focused on being the best pharmacy technician and the most animated restaurant employee I could be.
That preparation and attitude paid off when I later met a woman named Lindsay Wilkinson, who opened the door for me and gave me my first shot as a production assistant.
What’s your advice to people as they struggle to pursue their passion?
If you have a dream, do everything in your power to make it come true. Take risks!
If you can start over, what would you do differently?
I would do everything exactly the same. The experiences that I’ve encountered made me the person I am today. If it doesn’t challenge me, it won’t change me. I have no regrets.
What are your long-term plans, goals and dreams?
I would love to write a children’s book! I want a fun read for kids to let them know that dreams really do come true. I want to inspire and motivate kids!
(E-mail the columnist at email@example.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.)
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