by Holley Dey
TELEVISION: Review:: The Gossip Table, airing weekdays 9:30 a.m. ET on VH1
No sooner had Marianne bemoaned the single life than colleague Chloe Melas announced her own recent engagement. For a fleeting moment, the disconcerted look on Ms. Garvey’s face and satisfied expression on Chloe’s belonged to sisters or close girlfriends rather than industry pros. But then again, the five men and women seated at The Gossip Table feel like a modern day family come together for the holiday. They’re excited and excitable; they all talk at once, and each has a pressing story to tell.
Rob Shuter (NaughtyButNiceRob.com) takes the middle seat and moderates the half hour, deftly directing the chatter and flow between the panelists, leaning forward to speak in a confidential tone that promises exclusivity. To his right and left, respectively, sit Marianne Garvey (New York Daily News) and Chloe Melas (HollywoodLife.com). To the far right and left are seated Delaina Dixon (DivaGalsDaily.com) and Noah Levy (In Touch). All five media mavens come to the table with glasses filled to the brim, prepared to spill the latest celebrity news across the table and into our living rooms.
There is a delightful chemistry between the five; they seem to genuinely enjoy each other and the celebrity dirt that is shared. During the summer pilot shows, I was particularly impressed by Garvey whose expressive face and comedic timing would be equally well suited to a scripted television role. Over the summer, Delaina Dixon and Noah Levy seemed marginalized by their positions at the table. Happily, the fall reboot of the show includes camera angles that showcase the full panel to advantage. On Monday’s fall premiere, Ms. Dixon stunned in a patterned dress, sharing a fresh, confident smile and voice.
The show enjoys a rapid pace and animated delivery, a caffeine analog for viewers who need that morning jolt. The conversation is punctuated with oohs and aahs of appreciation for Hollywood news bites, and bursts of applause that welcome the occasional celebrity call-in guest. All that glee comes directly from the panelists themselves who are not only the team on the field, but the cheerleaders on the sideline! Somehow, they manage to exude the same enthusiasm for Suri Cruise’s new pink iPhone that you and I might reserve for an unexpected day at the beach.
I’ve watched three installments of The Gossip Table; two that aired over the summer and the fall premiere. Of that ninety minutes, one story in particular impressed. That involved a photoshopped movie poster that trimmed several pounds from full figured actress Melissa McCarthy, and prompted a telephone call to VH1 from New York’s own Rosie O’Donnell. Ms. O’Donnell remembered a similar 1996 poster trim that left her unrecognizable. Could Courteney Cox have just signed onto the film?! When Rosie’s agent complained, the film’s producer responded, “She should thank me. She never looked better.”
Here was a unique story with some depth, touching on a sensitive issue easily relatable to body conscious viewers, and that drew upon the show’s New York home base for its celebrity connection. Inspired, and much different than the majority of The Gossip Table‘s content. That content generally leans toward celebrity trivia and features the same names that typically front the supermarket tabloids. If you care to keep up with the Kardashians, track the Jolie-Pitts or ridicule the Gosselins at the start of your day, the opportunity is here. Tuning into Monday’s fall premiere, I anticipated something a little special, and by jove, I got it! A double dose of the Kardashians was served.
There is an abundance of talent and experience seated at The Gossip Table. I hope that as time passes that talent will find ways to leverage the show’s New York location to advantage, and will offer content that is nationally relevant, but decidedly different from the Hollywood hype that so many other entertainment shows, blogs and papers repeat. Paired with the panel’s vibrant personalities and cheeky good humor, that would be a recipe for success.