If you’re going to launch a talk show about health, fashion, travel, and entertainment, you want a host who can chat knowingly about all those subjects. So CNN turned to the well-traveled megamodel Christie Brinkley to be the host of Living in the ’90s, which the network hopes will lure women viewers from such other morning shows as the syndicated Sally Jessy Raphael and NBC’s A Closer Look. Brinkley, 38, is confident her news-you-can-use show will stand out from its sometimes tabloid-influenced competitors. ”All the information is positive,” she says. ”It’ll get your day going.”
Each morning, Living concentrates on a regular weekly topic — from style and fashion on Mondays to show business on Fridays. In its debut programs the week of Sept. 14, for example, correspondents reported on adventure trips in Texas and the risks of eating seafood, and Brinkley chatted up designers Donna Karan and Mary McFadden in her Santa Fe-style, brightly decorated studio in midtown Manhattan.
On the set during a rehearsal, Brinkley, sporting positively perfect hair and an engagement ring the size of Kansas, looks quite at home in the hot seat. Her previous TV experience consists largely of Cover Girl commercials and occasional guest-host jobs, most recently on VH-1’s ”Top 21 Fashion Countdown.” Still, CNN approached her with the idea for Living, which she decided wouldn’t cut too much into her time with husband Billy Joel and daughter Alexa, 6, at their East Hampton, N.Y., home. ”She’s more than just a model,” says Living executive producer Jay Suber. ”I was mesmerized at the way she can be very reflective and connect with the audience.”
With more than 500 magazine covers behind her, Brinkley says her personal experiences will come in handy in many of the areas the show will cover. Health and nutrition? ”I’ve been very aware of health issues to prolong my own career. And I’ve worked with the top exercise gurus the world over.” Entertainment? ”I know most of the people who come on.” Travel? ”I’ve been around the world so many times. Hopefully I’ll have something to add if they’re discussing… ”— a map of Africa flashes on a nearby monitor tuned to CNN Headline News, and she points —”Kenya. I’ve been there (to shoot a 1988 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue). I might be able to mention a little island off the coast.”