Former N.Y. Beauty Queen Tries Out for TV News

On Wednesday August, 22, Fox will debut the first episode of a new half-hour “comedy-reality-hybrid” series called Anchorwoman.

 

The concept: take a leggy, blond model with no experience in journalism, put her in the anchor seat at a struggling news station in east Texas, and watch as the legions of American journalism professors simultaneously implode.

Lauren Jones, a bubby model with a varied resume—former Miss New York semifinalist, erstwhile “Barker Girl” on “The Price is Right,” and sometime WWE ringside queen—gamely plays the titular role in Anchorwoman.

On the first day of her new gig at KYTX, a woebegone CBS affiliate in Tyler, Tex., Ms. Jones arrives wearing a red miniskirt and leopard skin tank top. Broadcast journalism promptly ensues.

On Tuesday, Ms. Jones spent half an hour or so promoting the show in a conference call with reporters. Along the way, she explained one of the differences between modeling and anchoring (in TV, you do your own makeup), ruminated on the preparatory advantage of modeling versus, say, journalism school (you’re already comfortable in front of a camera!), and did her best to convince the journalists on the other line that she was in no way making a mockery of their profession.

“This isn’t about exploiting journalism,” she said. “It’s about me really wanting to become a journalist. And I got an opportunity, so I took advantage of it.”

At one point, a reporter asked her how important beauty is when it comes to succeeding in TV news.

“If you have a beautiful anchor doing the news, that’s fantastic,” said Ms. Jones. “Because someone will stop at your channel and they may watch the news. But if that anchor has no personality and can’t deliver and doesn’t have the facts and isn’t a good reporter and isn’t a good journalist … that viewer is going to get over that girl’s looks and move on.”

Who is Ms. Jones’ favorite news anchor?

“I love Katie Couric,” said Ms. Jones. “I think she has such a wonderful career. I hope to emulate something like her. I know she’s going through a little trouble now. But I think she’s sophisticated, and beautiful, and powerful, and I just admire her a lot.”

She said she was much less impressed with Dan Rather—despite his personal history as a local-Texas-news-anchor who made good.

“I love the careers of people such as these, I want to emulate them,” she said. “But I think he’s highly opinionated, which is something, you know, you want to stay away from things like that. For me, I listen and I take everything with a grain of salt, and I don’t form opinions based on what other people say …. From him, I learned you should keep your opinions to yourself.”

Former N.Y. Beauty Queen Tries Out for TV News