Woman `Wild' about potential host job

Megan Gunning works to join E! show, but she gets airtime either way

August 13, 2002|By Alexa James | Alexa James,SUN STAFF

Tonight, catch one of Maryland's own, where the wild things are.

Former Miss Maryland Megan Gunning makes her pitch for a new job, as one of the featured applicants on E!'s Wild On Wants You. The show, set for 10 p.m., is the latest chapter in the cable network's continuing search for a new host for Wild On, a televised tour of the world's coolest hot spots.

Although Gunning, 24, was not one of a dozen finalists for the job, she'll still get her moment of cable-TV glory. Tonight, the Fallston resident will be seen at Lulu's Mardi Gras Club in Washington, part of Wild On Wants You: The Heartland.

The job description, as personified by current host Brooke Burke, is simple: mingle, mingle, mingle. And if it's not the place to be, make it so with a perky blend of flirtatious humor.

Like the rest of us, Gunning has not seen the footage to be aired tonight. "I could look like a total dork," she said. "I mean, at this point, there's nothing I can do."

But the VCRs and TVs are ready at the Gunning house. "We're moving all of the televisions into the game room/party room in my house," she said. Her family and about 100 of her closest friends are expected to watch along with her.

Even if she doesn't land the job, the publicity could be a big boost for Gunning's career. After serving as Miss Maryland and winning the Clairol Style Award at the Miss USA pageant in 2001, Gunning ran her own image consulting business, called Vis a Vis, and spent nine months as the night disc jockey on Baltimore's 98Rock.

These days, she divides her time between New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, modeling swimsuits, formal wear, shoes, jewelry, lingerie - you name it. She appeared on The History of Cleavage, a documentary on the A&E cable network, and this month she'll begin work on the film Cover Girls, directed by Dean Gold.

Armed with a microphone and a camera crew, Gunning said she spent three hours at Lulu's interviewing screaming college guys, a bachelorette party of "wild little girls" and a posse of "fire-fighting motorcyclists."

One motorcyclist had a chicken bone sticking out of his pocket. Further questioning revealed that he always carried around a piece of his last meal.

"It made for some interview," Gunning said.

During the shoot, Gunning also rubbed elbows with the camera crew, a few producers and E! personality Art Mann, who often appears on Wild On with Burke.

About 10,000 would-be Brookes applied, says E! publicist Elena Girard; 75 were filmed to appear on Wild On Wants You, and 12 are still in the running for Burke's job. The sex-symbol socialite will serve as host through November but has already started appearing on Rank, an E! program that ranks everything from hottest bodies to Elvis memorabilia.

Each applicant had to submit a videotape. Among those that can be viewed online at www.eonline.com are firemen dousing one bikini-clad applicant and another Maryland woman posing in heels on her family's tractor. Gunning opted for a more traditional approach, standing in front of the camera, wearing a lacy tank top and jeans, introducing herself and describing the experience she believes qualifies her for the job.

"I was a fan of the show," Gunning said yesterday. "I thought it was fun, very young. I liked the audience. I liked who it was geared toward. I thought, `Hey, that would be the best job in the world.'"

E! will reveal the new host Aug. 30.

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