We chatted with Lopez six months ago and checked back in with the Extra host as he looks back on his first months on the job of hosting the hit celebrity news show.
SheKnows: In a sea of celebrity news shows, what sets Extra apart in your opinion, Mario?
Mario Lopez: I think we're different because, first of all, we're the first one to create our social network, and with extratv.com, there are so many cool things, like our friends-with-benefits giveaways. I love that we get to take care of so many people, especially in this economic climate, and give away such cool free stuff. People always come up to me and say, 'Is that true? Is there a catch?' I'm like, 'No, there's no catch. You just have to sign up.' I really like that element of the show, and I don't know too many other shows that are doing that.
It's the only one out of the entertainment shows where [there's] a sole host; there's usually a guy and a girl. With all due respect to the other anchors and shows out there, I'm not really trying to be that anchor-y sort with the almost-screaming-at-you kind of delivery. I try to keep it very conversational, just like I'm talking to you right now. I want to come across as your friend. A lot of these people grew up with me in their living rooms, so they are familiar with me. I just try to come off as everyone's friend, filling them in and wanting to engage.
We let the fans talk directly to the stars, and our fans and celebrities really like that. We have celebrities in our Celeb Degrees ask other celebrities questions. I think our Life Changers segment is great with all these exciting things that we have planned with all the health experts and doctors who give valuable information. At the same time, it's just kind of a light, funny -- I try to keep it light and funny. It feels young. I could go on and on.
SheKnows: What's it like interviewing celebrities when you yourself are one?
Mario Lopez: I'm a fan of television and movies also, and I get really excited to meet people I haven't met before. I think being in this business for a long time, they look at me as one of them and part of the team, so they feel very comfortable. They're more apt to open up to me than maybe someone else.
SheKnows: Which interview made you nervous? I'm betting it was the one with President Barack Obama.
Mario Lopez: When I interviewed President Obama, I was a little nervous only because of the circumstances. The plane was delayed, they forgot my clothes, and he was running ahead of his schedule. When I finally got the time, I was a little bit frazzled, and usually I'm a little bit more together. But he was so cool, nice and down to earth that I quickly got comfortable.
But other than that, I'm usually pretty prepared. I'm just myself. I figure they're going to want to be real cool to me because then I'm the one who can tell people that they were nice or not. But I like people in general, so hopefully that comes across and I haven't had any problems with anybody.
SheKnows: Your history on television is varied. Acting, hosting, dancing -- is there anything on TV you won't do?
Mario Lopez: If it was in poor or bad taste or just totally inappropriate, I'd try to avoid that. If it's in poor taste or incredibly cheesy or bad, I'll say no. I've said no a lot. Most of the stuff is pretty positive and kind of clean cut. Well, with the exception of my role in Nip/Tuck when I'm playing the doctor. I do some racy... that's just the nature of that show. But I love it, the quality actors and great people. I'm blessed to be working on that show.
SheKnows: Your show Extra is filmed like a news show. How is that a challenge?
Mario Lopez: It's kind of like doing a live newscast where we're at certain events, award shows or whatever. Everybody comes at once, you're trying to fight for time to get with them, they're in a hurry, and they'll say some funny things. Sometimes we cut it down to the second. I was having to do a lot of shows live, which is again like doing the news, and I love that.
SheKnows: Tell me about your children's book.
Mario Lopez: I have a children's book that will be coming out that I hope to turn into cartoons. My sister and I are very close, and she has a son and a daughter who are the same age difference that we are. Long story short, the book focuses on brother and sister bonds specifically. It encourages kids to use their imaginations because we could never play in the house. Adults always sent us outside to play. [The book covers] shenanigans as we were growing up.
SheKnows: Favorite shows on TV when you have time?
Mario Lopez: I rarely get to watch TV as much as I'd like. Like I said, I'm a fan of television. I grew up in front of the TV. Other than listening to the morning news while I'm shaving, and catching up on my sports center and see how my teams are doing while I'm getting ready at night. I'm a big fight fan. I work for HBO as well -- HBO Boxing -- so I'm always keeping up with the fights. I like Real Time with Bill Maher because I like politics a lot. I like the whole HBO lineup with Entourage and all the shows that play on Sunday nights. I still get a kick out of America's Funniest Home Videos. I don't think you get tired of seeing people wipe out. But I don't get the opportunity to watch as many shows as I'd like.
SheKnows: It's been 20 years since Saved by the Bell. Any chance for a reunion?
Mario Lopez: I'm all for a reunion if they can get everybody together. I just know that schedules are tough. It's a big deal that we're celebrating 20 years. The anniversary is still in the air, so that's kind of cool. I've had a couple of the people on my show at Extra here, so hopefully we'll continue to get everybody on.
SheKnows: Finally, is there anything you would like to say to your millions of fans?
Mario Lopez: Thank you so much for watching and for your support. I'm having a lot of fun, and I hope you like what you see. I want to hear your comments because it's all about the people watching the show. If you're not an Extra friend, sign up because we're giving away a lot of cool stuff. It just keeps getting better, and you could win. We've got a lot of people who have won a lot of cool things, so don't waste time.
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