'Paradise Hotel' Host Lives the Dream
Wed, Jun 18, 2003 03:18 PM PDT
by Rick Porter Zap2it, TV News
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - It's one of those only-in-Hollywood stories: Amanda Byram came to Los Angeles just to visit a friend, and a few weeks later she ended up hosting a new series on FOX.
"I'm just riding on the crest of this wave, and I'm scared to open my eyes in case someone pinches me and tells me it's not happening," says Byram, a native of Ireland and now the host of "Paradise Hotel," which premieres at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday (June 18) on FOX. "I know it sounds corny, but it is actually a dream come true."
The story has a definite air of serendipity to it, but it's not as if Byram has never been on camera. She's a former model who has hosted "Ireland AM" in her native country and "The Big Breakfast" in London. An executive producer of "Paradise Hotel" knew her from the latter show and asked her to audition after meeting her in Los Angeles.
Now, Byram is shuttling back and forth between Los Angeles and the show's secret "paradise" location -- reportedly somewhere in Mexico -- to oversee the activities of 11 single men and women at the hotel and the people who want to join them on the show.
"So far, it's all been fantastic fun," Byram says. "The cast reminds me of the Spice Girls. You've got the guys who can't pass a mirror without stopping for an hour to check themselves out, you've got the cute girl, the sexy girl, the muscle girl, you've got the quiet guy. The dynamic between them is great -- they're all crazy, actually."
Suffice to say that will probably make for good TV, as the idea of "Paradise Hotel" is to stay in the hotel for as long as possible.
The show begins with six women and five men checking in, getting to know each other and then picking roommates. One woman, however, ends up in a single room and has to work to ingratiate herself with the others to improve her chances to stick around.
The person who ends up with the single room the next time through has to leave the show. The big twist, however, is that a member of the audience will then join them. Viewers will watch the goings-on at the hotel on Wednesday nights, while the following Monday, members of a studio audience will compete to join the other guests.
"Basically if you're sitting down to watch this reality show, and you get really into it and see a couple of girls that float your boat and think, 'Whoo, I'd like to be part of that,' you can be," Byram says. "The beauty of that is the person who gets voted on will actually know more about ... the backbiting and the bitchy gossip than the guests themselves, which is very, ha-ha, evil."
The remaining guests will get to pick who joins them at the hotel. The first week, the women will choose a guy to join them, while the men choose a woman the next time around.
Byram says one studio show has been taped, and that the women's questioning of prospective guests "got very hot and heavy."
"It was very funny to watch," she says. "There were definitely a few sparks flying."
Byram hopes to stay in Los Angeles for a while after "Paradise Hotel" ends, joking that she hopes "they don't send me home."
"I'd love to [stay], yeah," she says. "The plan is to stick around for a while and enjoy and work in L.A., so, fingers crossed."