Championing the Spirit of Independence
About Bobby Rivers
In The New York Times, he was called "a master interviewer with a gift for banter." That review came for his VH1 celebrity talk show. It was a prime time program that made him the first African-American to get his own talk show on VH1.
Veteran TV talent Bobby Rivers has been a talk show host, a network entertainment reporter, a game show host, a game show winner and a TV actor. The Rivers Family lived in the curfew area during the Watts Riots of the turbulent 1960s. Bobby Rivers grew up in South Los Angeles with a dream of working on television in New York City. He made his dream come true. He hopes he helped break a couple of barriers along the way.
His professional TV career began on Milwaukee's ABC affiliate. He attended college in that city and his broadcast mentor was Rose Marie of TV's "The Dick Van Dyke Show." She changed the course of his career. On Milwaukee's edition of the syndicated show, "PM Magazine", he became the city's first African-American to be a weekly movie critic on TV. He also became the first African-American male to be seen nationally doing celebrity interviews for PM Magazine. His interviews of Sally Field, Meryl Streep, Ben Kingsley, Jessica Lange, Dolly Parton and Mary Tyler Moore were picked up for syndicated airing. So were a few of his humorous lifestyle pieces. A mention in The Village Voice of his Dustin Hoffman interview and, later, interviews of Robin Williams got the attention of WPIX TV in New York City. The station hired him away from Milwaukee in 1985. Two years after he arrived in New York City to be a local reporter for WPIX TV, he was tapped to be a veejay and talk show host on VH1. He had such luminaries as Kirk Douglas, Norman Mailer, Paul McCartney, Meryl Streep, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, poet Allen Ginsberg, Dominick Dunne, Whoopi Goldberg, Gregory Hines, Liza Minnelli, Carlos Santana, Phil Collins, Mel Blanc, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy as his guests. His VH1 years are still some of the happiest of his career. Gigs on local New York City morning news programs plus small roles in two episodes of "The Sopranos" carried him through the 90s.
A film enthusiast, he hosted a weekly show on New York cable highlighting new indie and major studio releases. "Metro Movies with Bobby Rivers" was followed by his being the weekly entertainment editor and film historian on "Lifetime Live," a weekday ABC News production on Lifetime TV in 2000. That made Bobby Rivers one of the few black people ever to be seen as a weekly movie critic on a network news production. After that, Rivers hosted a Food Network show called "Top 5" that aired from 2002 to 2008. He hosted …but he never cooked a single thing on the show. From 2006 to 2008, he was picked by Whoopi Goldberg to be a regular on her syndicated morning radio show. He reviewed new movies and made her laugh. In 2015, he was seen nationally as a guest co host on cable's Arise TV film review and interview show, "Arise On Screen."
All of those jobs mentioned were ones that Bobby Rivers got on his own because broadcast agents kept saying that they wouldn't know what to do with him and turned him down for representation. It wasn't easy, but he did it.
As for being a game show winner, that happened when he was in high school. He talked his way into being the youngest and first African-American contestant on a syndicated film trivia show called "The Movie Game." It was shot in Hollywood. Bobby's teammates were Phyllis Diller and Hugh O'Brian. That half-hour show hosted by Sonny Fox marked his first TV appearance.
Diversity in Hollywood and TV, arts education in schools and film preservation are very important to him.
ASD Media & Entertainment is excited to work with the incredibly talented and smart Bobby Rivers on a new web series/interview show where Bobby interviews some of his (and your) favorites from years past to find out what they are up to now!
ASD Media & Entertainment