How Billy Bush got Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir an Oscars gig
At the recently concluded Sochi Olympics, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir achieved a new measure of celebrity.
Now they’re going Hollywood.
Just days after returning to the States following their Games gig for NBC, the two have been hired by “Access Hollywood,” which is produced and distributed by NBCUniversal Television Distribution, to comment on Oscars style. The fashion-forward onetime Olympians will be posted in a tower position above the red carpet, where the program’s veteran host, Billy Bush, will be interviewing Academy Awards attendees.
As with Bush, viewers won’t see Weir and Lipniski on Sunday; instead, they will appear in Monday’s two “Access” episodes, including segments taped at the Oscars.
As it turns out, Bush was the one who suggested the skating experts move their act from the ice rink to the red carpet. While conducting an interview with Weir in Russia, he suddenly had a stroke of inspiration, said Rob Silverstein, the entertainment show’s executive producer.
“He lit up and said, ‘You [and Tara] are doing Oscar red carpet for us,’” Silverstein said. “It hadn’t hit me yet, but as soon as Billy mentioned it, I thought it’d be great, so we made a deal with them in a day.”
So later this week, “Access Hollywood” cameras will trail Lipinski, 31, and Weir, 29, on a shopping excursion as they search for their Oscar outfits. Then, they’ll debrief with the program’s style producers, going over what stars wore on the carpet in previous years and studying current trends.
“It’s not two clowns up there,” Silverstein said. “They actually know their stuff. Yes, they don’t work for InStyle or Vogue, but they don’t need to. Fashion -- and our show -- is about fun, and they’re fun.”
Though Silverstein’s team has yet to ink any post-Oscar deal with Lipinski and Weir, he is already envisioning a future with the two. He’s said he’s hopeful they will also serve as correspondents for “Access Hollywood” at the MTV Video Music Awards and the Emmys in August.
“I’m anticipating them being great,” Silverstein said, “because they’re authentic and authenticity sells. Plus, they don’t take everything too seriously -- and neither do we.”
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