Former NBAer Salley will make it Reelz easy for Chris Brown

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 11, 2011 - 7:44 AM

Movie-loving celebrity miscreants -- like, say, Chris Brown -- have nothing to fear when sitting down to talk Reelz with John Salley, host of "Game On."

The loquacious former NBA player is absolutely giddy about the debut of his new weekly interview show on ReelzChannel, which is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting. He's got the time slot following Part 8, on Sunday, of "The Kennedys," the controversial, well-hyped miniseries.

"Because it's on the ReelzChannel, it's going to be about movies," Salley said. "I've got Rachael Ray and Larry the Cable Guy on my first show."

Movie-loving non-celebs get air time when Salley does "Street Cred," people-on-the-street segments.

"When they talk about movies now, they talk about how much money they make. Doesn't have anything to do with the movie. I decided to just talk to actors about what they do; not who they totally are, but how they became who they are.

"You do the gossip," said Salley. "I decided when I was on the radio four years I wasn't going to do gossip. Everybody was jumping on [gossip] because everybody was nosy and wanted to know."

You don't have to be nosy to be curious why challenging dialogues with women who have R-names, Rihanna and Robin Roberts, seem to set off Brown.

"So funny you say that. It might have been guys in his crew [who broke the window at "Good Morning America"]. We don't know he did that," said Salley, dismissing Brown's apology. Make that Brown's lame apology for his violent outburst that he blamed on feeling exploited by Roberts, the creampuffiest interviewer at ABC.

"I know what happened because I'm in television," Salley told me. "They were in her ear, and they were pushing her to go back to what they [in the control room] wanted her to talk about." Perhaps, but Roberts was not out of bounds to seek reaction to a new development in the case of Chris beating the stuffing out of his ex-girlfriend.

The way Salley thoroughly massaged Brown's image, I concluded that John's true calling may be PR fixer. He laughed: "He's 21, and he's a dancer. People are putting so much responsibility into a child's hands. Jesus didn't even start to be a preacher or arbiter until he was 30 years old. So come on, all you people who are Christ-like, be Christ-like -- compassionate and forgiving. We don't know what [Jesus] was like when he was Brown's age."

No matter the age, it's a safe bet that behavior-wise a lot more than a "t" separates Chris from Christ.

Gabby, but not silly, Salley

"John Salley is [about] 7 feet tall, but he's got an 8-foot personality," said ReelzChannel CEO Stan E. Hubbard.

Hubbard said that after we shared a hoot about me putting the CEO, calling from New Mexico, on hold while I tried to wrap up my conversation with Salley. Whew! He can run his mouth, as we saw when Salley was on Fox Sports with the now-defunct "Best Damn Sports Show, Period."

My first telephone encounter with Salley came when my friend, businessman Steve Schussler, made Salley's acquaintance in Phoenix just before the Muhammad Ali "Celebrity Fight Night" fundraiser. Salley mentioned his Minnesota-Hubbard Broadcasting ties to Schussler, who immediately called me at home on a Saturday so I could interview John.

Some cheese with that, Frank?

WCCO-TV anchor Frank Vascellaro is at home rehabbing from April 1 hip replacement surgery.

He plans to return by May sweeps.

In an item posted Friday, he gave me his "funny, sarcastic" take on the care he's been getting from his wife and co-anchor Amelia Santaniello.

This is nicer: "My wife really has been great taking care of me. She's been like Florence Nightingale, God bless her," he said. "I'm not the easiest patient in the world, and she's been extraordinarily helpful; the kids, too. I feel fortunate to have her around, even though she gave me plastic cheese."

To better understand the cheese comment, check www.startribune.com/a297.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday morning

  • DISHIN'

    A super high-profile person has reportedly been texting, e-mailing anatomy pictures? I've seen one purported pic but can't confirm anything because I've never seen this person naked and plan to keep it that way.

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