Reynolds tries to determine her TV future
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television WriterTue Jul 11, 8:06 PM ET
Now that the smoke is clearing from her abrupt departure from "The View," Star Jones Reynolds is trying to see if she has a future in television.
She's appearing this week as a guest host on HGTV's top-rated show, "House Hunters," a booking made before she left "The View." Reynolds said two weeks ago she was leaving the daytime chat show because ABC wasn't renewing her contract, drawing the anger of show creator Barbara Walters when the announcement wasn't planned in advance.
ABC said it cut Reynolds loose because its research showed her extreme weight loss and highly publicized wedding turned viewers off.
"She became a headstrong diva who lost her way and lost her audience by becoming this self-involved star," said Tom O'Neil, senior editor at In Touch Weekly. "If she taps what made her successful before, she can become successful again."
In Touch Weekly reported this week that both CNN and Fox News Channel have approached Reynolds about hosting jobs.
However, Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said the network had no discussions with Reynolds and has "no interest" in hiring her. CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson said there have been no conversations with Reynolds, although she didn't rule out the possibility in the future.
Reynolds' spokesman and agent declined comment on her future job prospects.
Reynolds' recent appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live" was an eye-opening indication of the curiosity attached to the story of her exit from "The View." King's interview drew 3 million viewers, nearly triple what his show normally gets.
CNN quickly reran the interview at least twice — including less than 24 hours later in direct competition with "The View."
Reynolds also had an impact on "House Hunters," according to Nielsen Media Research. Her debut Monday lifted the show's ratings 36 percent over what it had been averaging this year.
While HGTV has no immediate plans to use Reynolds again, "we wouldn't rule it out," said network spokeswoman Cindy McConkey.
Reynolds, a lawyer, began her television career in 1991 as an analyst for Court TV, quickly parlaying that into a similar role at the "Today" show. She worked as a correspondent for "Inside Edition" and had her own syndicated show, "Jones & Jury," which lasted one season.
That shouldn't be held against her, since there's a high failure rate in the syndication market, said Bill Carroll, an expert in that area for the ad-buying firm Katz Television.
Carroll said he can see Reynolds working in cable television, probably as a legal analyst.
"You can't have that kind of a profile and the awareness that she has and not have someone out there trying to take advantage of it," he said.
Before her recent problems, Reynolds appealed to many women who felt like they were misfits, O'Neil said.
At the very least, in a reality television world that can make stars of former "Brady Bunch" actor Christopher Knight and hip-hop performer Flavor Flav, there may be a role there, too. In Touch said she's being considered for celebrity judge slots on reality shows.