Once again, South Side native, actress, TV and radio personality and Sunday Splash advice columnist Jenny McCarthy will be donning yet another one of her many professional “hats” and co-host “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” on Wednesday night (beginning at 7 p.m., WLS-Channel 7.)
During a phone call the other day, McCarthy expressed gratitude about all the positive things happening in her life, since she left “The View” last spring. Along with her recent marriage to Donnie Wahlberg, the entertainer is also hosting her daily Sirius Satellite radio show, plus is about to launch her reality show with Wahlberg, after the first of the year.
“The train keeps moving forward. That’s my motto,” said McCarthy.
As for the New Year’s Eve show, the Chicago native waxed enthusiastically about the upcoming event — despite it’s physical challenges. For example, where’s the bathroom down there in New York’s Times Square?
McCarthy laughed. “The answer is yes…and no, because there is no easily-accessible porta-potty. The bathroom for me and the crew is inside the ABC Studios. So here’s my trick: Since I’m pretty much the one that runs up and down the street talking to the people, I have to work it out that whenever I’m on camera, I keep moving closer to the ABC Studios! I make sure I’m right next to the bathroom, when I really need it!”
In addition, the TV star closely watches her intake of liquids on New Year’s Eve. “We’re out there a long time. We rehearse, beginning at 9 a.m and finish everything up around 2 in the morning. So there’s not a lot of drinking water, or else you’re be in trouble.
Speaking of that issue, does McCarthy feel sorry about the million people in Times Square who don’t have access to facilities?
“I ask them about that. ‘How long have you been out here? … How do you deal with the lack of bathrooms? … How do you go to the bathroom?’ They tell me they just don’t go, and many of them have been out there since 8 in the morning! That’s why we have so many sober people out there — because they can’t drink! … The funny thing is — and here’s the inside scoop: There’s not many New Yorkers. It’s all tourists who come into town. It’s a ‘bucket list’ thing for many people from all around the world — on how to spend New Year’s Eve.
“Another funny thing: Every year we have so many people from Norway, and Canada! They seem to be the majority of the population down there. Maybe it’s because they’re used to cold weather and can handle it!”
The New Year’s Eve gig clearly is something McCarthy loves doing. “Dick Clark did such a great job of making it a staple on New Year’s Eve. When I joined the team four years ago, I never thought I’d still be there now, but I hope to keep on going. I hope I’m able to be a thumbprint on this holiday for as long as Dick got to do it.”
When I asked about another fellow Chicago-area native going head-to-head with her on New Year’s Eve, McCarthy feigned ignorance about Oak Park native Kathy Griffin again teaming up with Anderson Cooper on CNN.
“Oh, is she doing that again with Anderson? The funny thing is I do love Kathy. There’s enough room for everybody, as I always say. If I wasn’t hired for this, I would be glancing in on Kathy, once in a while. … But, I do hope the majority watch us.”
As for people tuning into ABC on Wednesday night, McCarthy said, “Of course, I love it when people say, ‘I watch you on New Year’s Eve!’ Of course, they watch us on mute! Because they have us on during their parties
“That’s why I try to do as much physical comedy as I can, because I know I’m on mute. They are watching, but not hearing what I’m saying.”
Of course, McCarthy has made a mini-tradition out of the midnight kiss on New Year’s Eve. “I used to make my ceremonial kiss with a cop,” said McCarthy, but since her new hubby will be with her, “Donnie will be my New Year’s Eve kiss from here on out!”
Speaking of Wahlberg, McCarthy added that their new reality show, “Donnie Loves Jenny,” will debut on A&E, with 10 initial episodes, launching after the beginning of the year. McCarthy stressed “We made a point to make this show a lot like “Wahlbergers” [the reality show about Donnie’s family, restaurants, etc.]. In other words, to be family focused and very feel-good. We wanted people to walk away feeling, ‘Omigosh! I feel good.’ I didn’t want people to feel like they have to take a shower after watching the show.”
So, not in the vein of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians?”
McCarthy let out a loud guffaw. “I couldn’t wear as much makeup as them, even if I tried. Our show will be very down-to-earth, and real. “It will show the sweet side of the beginning stages of marriage and family. My dad is living with us, so it will include finding him love and dates. We touch on things that are sort of fun and light.”
Given McCarthy was clearly dropped by the producers of “The View,” when her contract was not renewed at the end of the last season, I wondered if she was still watching the show now.
“My [Sirius Satellite] radio show is on at the exact same time, so I don’t get to see it daily, but I do watch it — when there’s a news clip, if something happens that makes it on to a nightly news show.
“But I haven’t had a chance to really watch it, as a regular viewer. I’m always be a fan for what that show stands for: Women having their deeper conversations about what’s happening in life. I’m lucky that the show is still moving forward. … I’m sure it will be going on for years to come.