Q & A With E! News Host Terrence Jenkins
Jenkins dishes on career, family and his favorite book, The Alchemist
By Helen Silvis Of The Skanner News
November 13, 2012After more than six years as host of BET’s popular music video show 106 & Park Terrence Jenkins has joined Giuliana Rancic as the co-anchor of E! News. Jenkins will fill the role Ryan Seacrest abandoned when he went to the "Today" show as special correspondent. Seacrest will continue as managing editor of E! News. As well as reporting breaking entertainment stories, Jenkins will work on celebrity profiles. Jenkins spoke to The Skanner News as part of a telephone round table interview.
Why did you decide to move to a more mainstream network?
You know seven is a year of completion, and I believe that after a certain amount of time, if you stay in any particular position you become stagnant. I wanted a new challenge and this is an amazing opportunity. I’ve always been a fan of Giuls, and I’m really excited about what lies ahead. I’m really excited.
How was it moving from New York to Los Angeles?
It’s been really amazing. I’m really ready for this transition and it’s been amazing. The staff and the team at E! have welcomed me with open arms. They made the announcement on the same day they announced that Michael Strahan started with Kelly (Live! With Kelly and Michael) and when Steve Harvey launched his new show. So just being part of this energy of new faces coming to television is just really a blessing. And as far as L.A., you know, I love L.A. The weather is beautiful. There’s a lot of great things going on and I’m just happy to be here. Growing as an announcer and growing as a personality is something I look forward to.
Who is your go-to person?
My mom. She’s been at the forefront of my life for quite some time. She’s a big influence on me. So my mom, and my stepdad as well. And I have a great team. I have a great management team of the same people I’ve been with for years. My brother Fred is just really involved in my career. And then Celia helps me a lot as well. So I have great people in my life and I think it is really instrumental for your career success to have great people who encourage you and support you in your journey.
It’s really important to have positive in your ear. If you surround yourself with people who try to take you down, then you will never be able to maximize your full potential.
What will you miss about “106 & Park”?
I’m very appreciative of my time at BET and I had some very good experiences. But at this point I’m all about looking forward. I’m more focused on the memories that I’m going to have, and the opportunities that I have right now. I think that everything in life happens for a reason and you have to use that as building blocks for your future and your fulfillment of God’s path. So I’m just looking forward to the amazing times I know I am going to have at E! News. I’m just really excited about this job.
You have just finished a couple of movies?
Yes I have just been working on a movie, “Baggage Claim,” with Paula Patton. It’s a romantic comedy, and it was so much fun. We just shot that with an amazing director – his name is David E Talbert. So it was great working with them.
And I have a movie coming out – I want to say January or February—they don’t have a release date yet. It’s called “Battle of the Year”, and that movie stars Chris Brown and Laz Alonso and Josh Holloway and Josh Peck. It’s a really smart dance movie that we shot in France. So that’s coming at the top of the year.
And, fingers crossed, it looks like we’ll be doing another “Think Like a Man” movie, “Think Like a Man 2”. I had so much fun working on that production.
At E! News, you will be replacing Ryan Seacrest, and people inevitably will make comparisons. What will you bring that is uniquely Terrence Jenkins?
Well, you know, I’m not replacing Ryan Seacrest. For one, he has been a huge part of E! and he is still a managing editor. He’s been a mentor to me. It’s been over a year since he’s actually been on the show so there have been a lot of people there. It’s true I am the first anchor to be announced. But I’ve been in this place before where there has been a beloved host, and I’ve come in. So I’ve learned that all you can do is be yourself. And that’s what I look forward to doing, being myself, and bringing my energy to it. I think Ryan and I are alike in certain ways, but we are very different in other ways. So I’m just going to be myself.
I am very passionate, and I have a very strong work ethic. I’m a fun guy so when It’s a fun story, then I’m going to bring that to it. And when it’s hard-hitting then I will put on my hard hat and bring that as well.
Obviously Ryan is a $100 million dollar man and I have a long way to go to catch up. I’ll let you know in 10 years, how I did.
How did you prepare for your new role at E!?
Since I moved to L.A. I’ve been going to the morning meetings just to learn their system. What I’ve learned is that they have an incredible group of people who are dedicated to entertainment news and to delivering it to people in incredible ways that you can trust. I really look forward to working with the team and bringing the stories to people.
In our country we look at our entertainers like royalty. We don’t have a king or queen. So in certain ways our Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies get looked up to across the country. So to be in a position to bring the stories about their lives, their trials and tribulations, and also the fun stuff, when they are releasing music, movies and so on, I just look forward to being a part of that.
How do you handle the haters?
I try not to be around it. I like to keep myself in a positive place. When you start reading those critics then you start fishing for those things and it kind of drags you down. So I try not to be around any kind of negative energy. A couple of years ago people were really bashing on LeBron James, on sports radio and sports news shows. It takes getting that championship ring and being successful to really silence the critics. The only person I compete with when I wake up in the morning is myself. I look at myself in the mirror and say, “How can I be the best me?’ I don’t compare myself to any other hosts that come before me or any other actor that I’m going up against in an audition. All I do is try to be the best me.
Was this new job at E! something you set as a goal for yourself? Or did circumstances take you to where you are at?
I’ve been very blessed in fulfilling the dreams that I’ve had for myself. When I was in college, and just about to graduate in 2004, I actually wrote down a list of things I wanted to do and accomplish. And I’ve been going after what I had on my wish list. I’ve never got what I wanted at the time, but everything has always come full circle for me.
I’ve wanted to be a hybrid of what Ryan Seacrest has been able to accomplish and what Will Smith has accomplished. That was my goal, to be successful on the broadcasting side and on the acting side as well. So every day I have taken steps forward toward that goal. And I feel very blessed and fortunate to have had some great experiences. Being at E! right now is the pinnacle of my dreams.
I wish you all the best going forward. Having watched you on 106 & Park for all those years, you feel like family.
Thank you. So many people tell me that and they have helped me. My first day on television was broadcast live to the world and since then people have watched me. When I first graduated from college, I was homeless. I didn’t have a place of my own. I was 23 years old. And since that day I have been on TV every day. So when people tell me I’m like family that means so much to me. I try to stay home and not do anything to get myself in trouble. I feel so much responsibility not to let you guys down.
Tell us about a book you are reading?
Every year at this time I read the same book. It’s The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. It’s a refresher for me. It’s a very gratifying book for me. I’ve read it every year between November and December for about the last seven years. I love that book.
You’re a Barack Obama supporter. Why?
For me the issue that matters most is jobs. There are so many people unemployed. I just want to see more job creation happen. Also healthcare is a big thing. My stepdad is going through health issues so making sure that we have affordable healthcare for all Americans is very important to me. Also education: I’m a huge proponent of education. We can’t be the best in the world unless we have the best education. So we have to make sure we have the best teachers and the best opportunities for young g people to go to college and continue their education. So we continue to be the best country in the world. President Obama has been on the right path and I think it’s important that we continue the path that we’re on.
Who are you looking forward to meeting as E! News host?
I’ve never met George Clooney. I can’t wait to meet him. I love George Clooney.
Does Mr. Terrence Jenkins have a Mrs. Terrence Jenkins?
I am not married, No, but I am in a very happy relationship. (Jenkins’ agent adds, “She’s gorgeous.”)
Have you ever felt like giving up?
As an actor you are going to go in a room and be told “No” 100 times before you are told “Yes”. So that means there will be 100 meetings, 100 castings, 100 auditions. You’ll go through that before you get that “Yes”. And to do that is painful. But for me, my faith in God and having good people in my life that have been able to support me is what brought me through.