By SHIRLEY WITHERSPOON
The classy, high energy, and never dull Fox News Channel host Andrea Tantaros has been missing from the cable news network since late April. Her departure has been somewhat of a mystery and has left loyal fans miffed. Speculation about her hiatus range from silly notions that the network was upset over her overt support for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump to more rational reasons such as a contractual monetary dispute or a blow up between the outspoken host and Fox bosses. Tantaros, a popular free speaker, has been rumored to rattle a network boss or two with aggressive, if not pushy, conduct.
No one is actually speaking about the reasons for Tantaros’s departure from programming. Not the network. Not Tantaros herself. Simply, the star host has been moved out – temporarily or permanently – from her regular post on the noon show “Outnumbered”, without any explanation except a short press release from Fox News, which stated:
“Issues have arisen regarding Andrea’s contract, and Fox News Channel has determined it best that she take some time off. She is still under contract with the network.”
That was over two months ago. And the forced hiatus coincidentally came on the same day that Tantaros was scheduled to begin publicity for her then-newly released Harper Collins book, Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What We Wanted Made Women Miserable. It seemed that Fox News was sending her a few strong messages: one of punishment as the suspension would surely stifle her book sales (generally network personnel enjoy the luxury of massive on air promotion), and another that she must keep her mouth shut. Unfortunately, both messages seem to be accurate. Tantaros hasn’t received any Fox News Channel promotion for her book. And in the few interviews she has done since her departure, she has stated that she can’t talk about why she is currently not working on the network. “Still under contract” seems to include a gag order provision.
So what’s next for Tantaros, a woman who has a sizable fan base that is anxiously looking to see her again soon on the small screen? Well, maybe it’s the big screen.
Ken Del Vecchio, the well-known – and highly controversial – chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival and acclaimed filmmaker of 30 movies, says that he has a lead role for Tantaros in one of his upcoming films. That is, if he can locate the news host-perhaps-soon turned-actress.
“She’s got no agent listed on IMDB or anywhere that my staff can tell,” said Del Vecchio, who has had numerous Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees star in his films. “I can get an offer to anyone. Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt, if I wanted. Because I can pick up the phone and call their agents and managers. Most leading reps, I personally know. But with Andrea, we can’t find a contact. That’s not that unusual with news anchors and hosts, however,” continued Del Vecchio, who has also been a frequent analyst on Fox News and other networks himself. “Often, the news networks limit what their biggest names can do outside of their host roles, so they don’t grant access through agents and managers.”
Del Vecchio and Tantaros would appear to be one perfect, dynamic and boiling hot mix that would shake up, if not explode, any project within which they collaborate. As recently reported in Empire State News, Del Vecchio’s Renaissance Man accomplishments also include the filmmaker being a best-selling author (novels and legal books), a veteran actor, a former judge and prosecutor, and a recent Republican congressional candidate. In fact, he was the first Congress candidate in the country to endorse Donald Trump. Del Vecchio is controversial on steroids, maybe literally since he at one point was a weightlifting champion who was bench pressing 450 pounds. A review of his Congress campaign announcement video (which includes the Trump endorsement) seems to tell it all. But only to be Trumped by watching the trailer to his new TV show, “Renaissance Man.”
So why would Del Vecchio be interested in Tantaros for a lead acting role, when he has Hollywood starlets at his fingertips?
“Let’s start with that I am compelled to work with more than my share of ultra-liberal goofballs, which most of the time is fine,” Del Vecchio said. “I like some of them personally and, no doubt, I enjoy smashing them on political matters where, in most cases, they are clueless and have no support for any of their illogical socialist dribble. But it would be refreshing to have a leading lady who is a freedom-seeking conservative. Not to mention, Andrea is wickedly intelligent. I haven’t seen a commentator who can articulate positions better than her – and she speaks with power, clarity, and charisma. That’s a rare combination and that’s exactly who this character is.”
Del Vecchio, who critics describe as an ego maniac among other unflattering jabs, isn’t afraid to say where he’s the best. “I’m a master in casting. I just know who is right for what roles. It’s one of my strengths in filmmaking. And Andrea Tantaros is one of those rare natural talents. I can tell by just watching her on news shows that she would kill it in acting.”
He added his perception about the natural abilities needed for a successful actor versus a writer (or weightlifter). “And by the way, acting isn’t like writing. I’m one of the greatest writers to ever walk the Earth because God gave me that gift. Writing is the same kind of phenomena as physical strength. God gives you those gifts. No matter how much you practice, you will never be an exceptional writer if you start with mediocre skills, and you can never lift an enormous amount of weight unless you are born with that ability. Acting, on the other hand, can be developed and honed. So, if I start with a natural talent like Andrea, I will have her to the level of any A-lister in an incredibly short period of time. I’ve done it before.”
The role that Del Vecchio says he’s interested in Tantaros for is that of a Pulitzer Prize newspaper journalist – who may have multiple identities – in his political roller-coaster, The Great Heist, which is based on his novel of the same name. Del Vecchio said he is sure that he will have to make one change in the script if he casts Tantaros, however. “If you read the novel, you would expect that the role on film would require a lot of nudity. There’s no chance this chick would do nudity, I’m positive. She’s like my wife,” Del Vecchio opined, referring to Dr. Francine Del Vecchio, his Ivy League college professor spouse who he describes as a “super hot, super smart good girl.”
“But I would take out the nudity for Andrea.”
Of course, that’s if he could ever find the mysteriously suspended news woman with no IMDB contact.
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