- TV Show
Extra! Extra! It’s hard to believe, but Extra — the second longest-running entertainment news show in syndication — kicked off its 25th season earlier this month.
To mark the momentous occasion, current co-hosts Mario Lopez, Tanika Ray, Renee Bargh, and AJ Calloway reunited at Universal Studios Hollywood with former Extra alums including Mark McGrath, Leeza Gibbons, Libby Weaver, Dayna Devon, Samantha Harris, Jon Kelley, Charissa Thompson, David Rose, Wendy Walsh, Lauren Sanchez, Brad Goode, Arthel Neville, and Dave Nemeth.
“It was so great coming back and seeing everybody because Extra’s a family,” McGrath, who co-hosted the show from 2004-2008, told EW of the celebration. “At the end, all of the hosts got on the bleachers and took a photo, and I thought, wow, this show’s been on 25 years entertaining America and bringing the greatest entertainment news, and I’m a part of this thing, I’m a part of the legacy. I kind of had a moment to myself and stopped and smelled the roses and thought how fortunate I was to be a part of this trip and to have taken it with such incredible people.”
Ray, who returned to host Extra in 2017 after serving as a correspondent from 2004 to 2009, echoed the sentiment, noting that she made sure to have everyone at the reunion sing the recognizable chant from the Extra theme song. “I kept yelling out, ‘We’ve gotta do an Extra! Extra!’ and we did a glorious one.”
The Extra reunion also featured a 350-pound anniversary cake, made by “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro, and plenty of reminiscing. While chatting with EW, McGrath opened up about one of his most memorable Extra moments.
“My favorite interview was with Brian Wilson,” revealed McGrath. “I’m a songwriter, he’s America’s premier songwriter, and to be sitting in a room with him, and he’s sitting at his piano while he’s doing the interview, and he’s playing ‘God Only Knows,’ which is my favorite Beach Boys song…” With only five minutes allotted for their one-on-one, the Sugar Ray frontman decided he needed to interrupt the singer. “He’s almost done with the song, so I go, ‘Hey Brian, ‘God Only Knows’ is my favorite song of all time.’ He got up, he clapped his hands, and went, ‘Food!'” McGrath recounted with a laugh.
Extra has interviewed countless stars since its premiere in 1994, but its very first story on its debut episode featured none other than TV titan Oprah Winfrey. “Being like the first story for the first show of Extra, I think that’s pretty exciting!” she said. The Oprah interview marked the show’s introduction to America, and the media mogul continues to be a favorite of longtime Extra host Ray, who told EW that she still gets excited when she gets a chance to speak to Winfrey. “Anytime I can talk to Oprah, I feel like I’ve gained wisdom, I’m a better person,” she said. “I get to solidify my black girl magic [laughs]. Anytime I get to be around her is a special time.”
Throughout its run, Extra has been nominated for five Daytime Emmy Awards and has won twice for Outstanding Entertainment News Program. Celebrate Extra’s 25th anniversary by watching its very first interview with Oprah below.