Matenopoulos’ strength and diligence have seen her through some rough spots, like her firing from The View in 1999. Matenopoulos admits it wasn’t the best fit considering her view as a 21-year old was a little different than Barbara Walters: “I didn’t know my ass from my elbow. All I knew was how to tell you to get to the clubs, and I’m sitting next to Barbara [Walters] who’s like, 'Just yesterday I was with Saddam Hussein.’ I’m like, ‘Really? Because I was with this drag queen at the Sound Factory and she was amazing. She totally looked like a girl.’ I’m just saying my head was up my ass.” However, even after her unceremonious departure, Matenopoulos was brave enough to return last year as a guest host with the desire to confront her unresolved past. “It was really scary, and there were so many issues that I hadn’t dealt with about what happened there and so many loose ends that were not tied up. I felt like I’d left part of my soul on the set and I was going back to reclaim it.”
Back at her home set for Daily 10, there isn’t as much Shakespearian-style drama, although it can get pretty frenetic. Not only is Matenopoulos expected to look fashionable and ebullient as she describes the day’s entertainment events, but also to write her own copy. She’s got to be beauty and brains. “[The cohosts and I] will look at the stories. If I see something from the day before or I hear something on the radio, or find something on YouTube, I’ll come in and say, ‘We have to do this,’ so we’ll make that one of the numbers."
But Matenopoulos is more than just intelligent, funny and stylish; she’s got tremendous street smarts accumulated from years of surviving in this cut-throat business. When asked if she had any advice she could give to young adults wishing to pursue a career in broadcast journalism and entertainment reporting, Matenopoulos was a well of useful tips. “Don’t think you are above doing any job. I did the craziest stuff, from picking up one host’s birth control to picking up the other one’s dog shit with a poopie bag. Did this teach me how to be a better TV host? Of course not, but it did teach me humility and that things need to get done no matter what. And lastly and perhaps most importantly, do not get discouraged. If I threw in the towel every time I got knocked down, I would have been done with this business before I even started. Go out there and take the bull by the horns and do it.” With a coach like Debbie Matenopoulos, who could fail?
By Emily Ackerman