Posted Saturday October 14, 2017 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Harvey Levin is best known as the arbiter of Hollywood gossip for "TMZ." But the former attorney also had a hunger to dig deeper. A realtor inadvertently gave him a great idea.
The realtor had tipped him off that Steven Spielberg's home was up for sale and was amazed by all the cool items he had in his home and how each told a story about his life. This led to Levin's hourly celebrity interview show "OBJECTified" on Fox News, in which subjects provide important objects in their home that provide talking points for key moments in their life.
"The reason in it works so well," Levin said in an interview earlier this week, "is they feel more in control. They're able to connect to the subject matter. It really opens them up in a way that you could never do so just sitting on a sofa."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Judge Judy Sheindlin have been past subjects. This Sunday at 8 p.m., he spends time with Atlanta mogul Tyler Perry and said it went better than he had expected.
"There were things with Tyler Perry that even surprised him," Levin said. "You'll see that throughout the hour. There were revelations he had literally on the spot about his son, about his career and his childhood. You'll see things where even he has to stop and think."
Fox News provided a teaser exchange:
Tyler Perry: Emmitt is Emmitt Perry Sr., my mother’s husband and the man I thought was my father for 40 years.
Harvey Levin: He made your life hell. He beat you badly.
Tyler Perry: He had this distinct disdain for me and I think he knows I’m not his child, I think he’s always known that.
Harvey Levin: And that was the disdain.
Tyler Perry: I think so. I think so.
Harvey Levin: So what he blamed on her, he took out on you.
Tyler Perry: Absolutely.
Harvey Levin: So you said you prayed a lot, what’d you pray for?
Tyler Perry: His death.
Although Perry is typically picky about to whom he speaks with in the media world, when told of this concept, he immediately said yes.
"He is amazing guy," Levin said. "Tyler Perry in some ways shouldn't be alive today with what he's been through as a physically, sexually abused kid who grew up in poverty who had nothing going for him other than his faith and a very strong-willed mother to protect him. And he somehow maneuvered through his life to become this incredibly successful mogul."
He noted how Perry failed for years yet he persevered. "He is this huge guy, six feet seven, who lived in his Geo Metro at one point," Levin said. "A Geo Metro! I'm significantly shorter than he is and I couldn't live the way he did."
Ultimately Perry bucked the system and found a way to both work with and against the Hollywood system, becoming a huge player in Atlanta and the world. The timing of this works well since his latest Madea movie is coming out.
Levin didn't come to Atlanta. Instead, he and Perry jshot at Perry's palatial home in Los Angeles, where he spend two to three months out of the year.
Upcoming episodes will feature part-time Atlantan Shaquille O'Neal at his Orlando home, entrepreneur Mark Cuban and Martha Stewart.
"I love doing this show," Levin said. "It's incredibly gratifying and interesting. I was an investigative reporter for many years. Really, celebrity news has never been the center of my life. I love being able to stretch a little bit. My passion is biographies. We can do a video biography of these people in a kind of unique way."
"I hope we get picked up for more seasons," Levin added. "And if we do, boy, I've got some great names for season two!"
We also talked briefly about the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal:
"We've done some stories involving Harvey Weinstein over the years. He's a mogul. But in terms of all these stories, this is something that was just in the ether. For a long time, people talked about it but not specifically. I never heard names, just rumblings. There were media organizations that looked into this and for one reason or another they didn't publish it. By the way, there may be legitimate reasons for that. You have to have a story like that buttoned down so you don't get sued. It's a daunting story to do. You've got to have facts to back up your story."
He acknowledged that many Hollywood insiders stayed quiet the first few days after the New York Times story came out. But he said once Gwyneth Paltrow told her story earlier this week about how Weinstein made inappropriate advances toward her in a hotel room when she was 22 and Brad Pitt confronted him, "it's like the floodgates opened."
"OBJECTified," 8 p.m. Sundays, Fox News