Sunday, 29 May 2016

TCM's New Host Tiffany Vazquez and a Suggestion for An Additional Host

If you are a Turner Classic Movies fan there is little way you could have avoided the news this past week that the cable channel has hired a new, permanent on-air host. Tiffany Vazquez is only the third on-air host hired by TCM (after Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz) in the channel's entire 22 year history. At 29 years of age she also happens to be the youngest host hired by TCM (Robert Osborne was 61 when he started hosting TCM while Ben Mankiewicz was 36). She is also the first permanent female host and the first Latina host as well. Miss Vazquez will host TCM's Saturday afternoon programming block.

Tiffany Vazquez was born in the Bronx, but grew up in Queens.  She earned a Masters degree in international studies at St. John's University and a Master's degree in Cinema Studies at New York University. She interned at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Lincoln Centre. She served as Social Media/Web Content Manager at Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, New York. She is currently senior editor for film content at Giphy.

In 2014 Miss Vazquez won Turner Classic Movie's Ultimate Fan Contest. She was flown to Atlanta where she introduced the classic procedural The Naked City (1948) with Robert Osborne. This past December she was the host of TCM's Spotlight on Girlfriends in the Movies. At this year's Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival she served as a roving reporter.

As I mentioned earlier, Tiffany Vazquez's hiring is certainly history for Turner Classic Movies. She will be the first woman to serve as a permanent host on the channel. She is also the youngest permanent host TCM has hired. Given how many of my classic film friends are young women belonging to Generation Y, I think it is fitting that TCM has one as a host. Indeed, over the years Turner Classic Movies has continued to draw a younger audience and I am hoping that Miss Vazquez's presence will help continue that trend. Miss Vazquez is also the first Latina to serve as a permanent host on TCM (although not the first host to belong to a minority--Ben Mankiewicz is Jewish in descent). This certainly makes TCM much more diverse. Indeed, Tiffany Vazquez is living proof that not all classic film buffs are old, white, and male.

Tiffany Vazquez will make her debut as a permanent host on TCM on June 4. She will host four movies starting at noon and ending at 8 PM Eastern Time. The first will be Rebel Without a Cause (1955).  I missed Tiffany Vazquez when she was on Turner Classic Movies earlier, but I am certainly looking forward to her debut. My classic film friends have had many good things to say about her and, I must say, anyone whose choice of movie to introduce with Robert Osborne is The Naked City scores points in my book.

Of course, here I must point out that Robert Osborne is much older than when he first started hosting Turner Classic Movies and his health is not what it used to be. Sooner or later TCM will have to hire another permanent host. Here I will play armchair quarterback for a moment and suggest whom TCM should hire as their next permanent host: Bobby Rivers. Mr. Rivers has a long history in broadcasting going back to his days in radio in Milwaukee. Many of you might remember him from his days on VH1, where he interviewed everyone from Kirk Douglas to Sir Paul McCartney to Norman Mailer. He also served as a veejay on the channel. He was later a host on Lifetime Live on the cable channel Lifetime. He was later a host on the Food Network. He maintains the blog Bobby Rivers TV.

I personally believe Bobby Rivers would be a perfect fit for TCM. He has been a classic film buff all his life and has substantial knowledge of classic film. Indeed, many classic film buffs are already familiar with him from Twitter, Facebook, and his blog. I think I can speak for all of us when I say he is both charming and affable. Anyone who saw him during his days with VH1 knows that he is a very fine interviewer. I think Bobby Rivers would be a perfect fit for TCM. Of course, as a matter of full disclosure I must point out that I have been a fan of Mr. Rivers since his days on VH1 and we have been online friends for several years now, so I might just be biased.

Regardless, the hosts of Turner Classic Movies have always played an important role for the channel. They provide much more than simply providing commentary and trivia before and after each movie. Permanent hosts such as Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, as well as occasional hosts such as Illeana Douglas, provide fans with faces for the channel and thus forge a stronger bond between fans and the channel than if it had no hosts. I have no doubt that Tiffany Vazquez will continue that tradition and look forward to seeing for years to come.

27 comments:

KC said...

I think Tiffany Vasquez was a perfect choice for new host. When she posted a clip of one of her Girlfriends intros on Instagram a while back, I actually commented that they should just hire her already! Hadn't thought of Bobby Rivers as an additional choice, but I see what you're saying. He knows movies, he'd be able to handle the job and he seems friendly, which is important since fans of TCM are so connected to the network.

worriedabouthewrongthing said...

Bobby Rivers would provide a great balance for the show. He's well known for his interviews with a wide variety of sources about the movies. He'd be a perfect addition to the show.

MyMusings said...

Love, love, love the idea of Bobby Rivers.

Dominic Martello said...

This is great news about Tiffany Vasquez. I second, third and fourth it on Bobby Rivers. I've been following Bobby since his early VH1 days and he continues to be wonderfully insightful and consistently generous dishing out terrific laughs and heartfelt gulp in the throat moments. Congratulations Tiffany! Bring on Bobby!

David Thompson said...

Bobby Rivers! Brilliant!

Jim said...

If I need information about movies, I trust Bobby Rivers to know the answer! He would be perfect for TCM!

Another You said...

Yes!!! TCM should hire Bobby post haste! They'd be lucky to have him.

Keith Price's Curtain Call said...

Bobby Rivers is beyond brilliant. He can deliver commentary on classic films, contemporary films, TV, and theater. At some point, not only will you probably laugh, and then all of a sudden, you realize that he just taught you something. If TCM doesn't take him, can some producer make him a show and see what happens, and if not any of those things, then can we get him into a classroom?

William Schultz said...

I first knew of Bobby back in the 80's from VH1. He was funny and handsome and oh yeah...gay! I was like orpah seeing the Supremes on tv!!! I would love to see Bobby back on tv and He be a great match for TCM

The Happy Camper said...

I can think of no one in todays market more suited to host than Bobbie Rivers. His knowledge if films is endless and his humor shines like the classic stars that he would be introducing a whole new generation to. Looking forward to seeing Rivers on TCM.

Lee Steele said...

An inspired idea! Bobby Rivers would be a perfect followup. You've convinced me. And I'm almost ready to accept that Robert Osborne won't be on TCM forever.

Venice Parrish said...

I think the most important part of introducing a new host is working him or her in gradually, as TCM has done with Ben Mankiewicz. TCM took years to work Ben up to a bigger and more involved role. Just tossing someone in as a full-fledged host right off the bat is a little disconcerning - at least for me. Robert Osborne is so beloved, it will be hard to say goodbye to him, but already having accepted a new host, as they have done with Ben, will make it easier.

Michael Callies said...

I thought Ms. Vasquez was really good in her earlier segments but watching her yesterday while introducing a block of George Pal films was struck by some vocal tics (lip smacking, tongue clicking, breath intake) that took me right out of what she was saying. There was alao a stiffness to her delivery that was not present in other intros she's done. I don't know if they're just shot with one take with no time for reshoots or what was happening but I think she is a breath of fresh air and that this was just a one time thing. If not they need to work with her to address this the same way they would with a news anchor. Did anyone else see those George Pal intros to see what I'm talking about?

Sara Kindle said...

I'm sorry, but Ms. Vasquez is waaaaay too stiff. It sounds as though she is reading every single word she says - none of it sounds natural or unrehearsed 100 times. Young is good, female is good, color is good - but get someeone more natural sounding please.

Karen said...

I agree. Very stiff and it's obvious she is reading.

Jules said...

I agree, she is very stiff and unnatural. The way she speaks is so odd that it's distracting.

Thomas Valentino said...

Just terrible.

Terence Towles Canote said...

I have to agree with Michael. I think she was great in the first several segments she did (which was when this post was written). Unfortunately, the more recent segments she has seemed stiff and it has seemed obvious she is reading, as some of you have pointed out. I think the problem may be that TCM records the segments in batches. That is, they recorded several a day. I am wondering if Tiffany didn't start out with all this enthusiasm and then as they recorded more and more segments she didn't get worn out. As a result she became stiff and it becomes obvious she is reading. I think Venice may be right. Maybe they should have gradually worked her in. That way, she could have adjusted to the filming of segments in batches and would improve over time until she could record several segments for several days. At any rate, I think she could well improve over time. I have to confess I wasn't particularly impressed by Ben when he started, but now I can't see TCM without him!

Thomas Valentino said...

Really should cut their loses here and get rid of her. Mechanical movements with the hands, reading everything, no personality at all. Even she admits she only recently came into "classic movies". Reminds me of when John Belushi died, they tried to make an actor of his brother James Belushi. Either you got it or you don't.

Tamala S. said...

Agree with everyone. I dont like watching on Saturdays because of her. Skip her intros and then return when the movie is on. Even the fuest programmers are better with more energy and personality. Don't understand why they picked her.

oldmoviebuffintherough said...

give the girl a break, we are all nervous with a new job. She should be doubly nervous with a new job and being in the media spotlight. Ask yourself, could you be comfortable in the spot light of millions of people dishing out facts about movies made decades before you were born to a huge number of old movie fans who having seen most of these movies have a set opinion about those movies thus having a hard set opinion of a host having lived with the great Robert Osborne's brilliant delivery of facts for every movie he ever hosted. Seriously give her time. She has the chops. Just let her get comfortable with her new role.

Renee' Davis said...

As a singer I always tell people sitting in who cannot sing too well ....if you love that song...DON'T sing it! I admire Ms Vasquez for her love of the classics. Unfortunately acting is simply not her forte'. When introducing these movies there is a certain amount of acting ability that is necessary to bring the listener in and create anticipation.
I hope she is allowed to develop her on camera persona...I just don't think she should do it on the air.
Pete Peterkin

TMack Foor said...

Ms. Vasquez may be young & talented in some way but I don't see it . She looks like she is reading every single word off a cue card. No depth, warmth or feeling in what she is saying. Not a natural. Find someone else who clicks/connects with viewers. But it's not her!

Unknown said...

Something went wrong along Ms. Vasquez's path at TCM. She started off engaging, sure if herself, thrn lapsed into a robot version of who-knows-what with timed arm gestures, words straight from a card, and clearly no idea what she is saying judging by her awkward pauses. Whoever got to her, go away. I used to live for intro, but now I whince listening and opt instead to FF to the movie. Please, stop "training" the poor kidd

Mary Siegel said...

I find Tiffany Vasquez to be irritable and grating. A good cheerleader? Sure. But falls short in having knowledge, culture and poise in presenting informative and enjoyable comments about film. Don't think any amount of experience will change this. Just a very poor choice by TCM. So, when I see her, I change channels until actual movie begins.

Karen said...

I noticed the same things. Very distracting

Karen said...

Unnatural is a perfect word. Way to stiff.