Just how “inside” is Sunrise gossip correspondent Nelson Aspen?

Hollywood TV gossip peddlers are a most curious breed.

Typically such gossip gatherers seem to either come across as breathless star struck groupies or more often not well oiled PR machines; but that’s not to ignore we have the usual suspects locally also! There’s also the curious phenomenon of a phalanx (sic) of gay showbiz gossips who seem to outnumber the straight shooters by a noticeably disproportionate percentage in the entertainment business. As to whether there’s any particular reason for this – perhaps it’s as meaningless as wondering why so surprisingly, so many leading Hollywood male stars are vertically challenged?

So into this crowded and highly competitive TV gossip field, comes a typically flamboyant Los Angeles “correspondent” for Seven’s Sunrise breakfast program, Nelson Aspen. He may or may not be as straight as a defensive bat by Ricky Ponting, but comes with the requisite designer tan and familiar bountiful personality and patois of “you won’t believe your ears”!

But is the Sunrise showbiz spruiker the kind of operator who gets into the trenches to dig out his dispatches, or is he more your languishing wire service news filter? You would imagine Seven is preferably paying for the former.

His own online bio reports among other things in his highly varied career that: “…there’s lots more to this Hollywood Insider than just good looks, A-list contacts and masterful storytelling ability. No matter which side of the camera he’s working on, audiences can’t get enough of his unique storytelling ability! Currently, he’s the Hollywood correspondent for both the wildly successful morning show of the United Kingdom, “GMTV” and the top rated Sunrise, for all of Australia…bringing the latest showbiz and pop culture items to millions of viewers daily.”

“Latest” can be a relative term when your audience is half a world away, but Aspen seems to be in no doubt in this additional background CV, of his well-rounded capabilities to deliver Sunrise the kind of hot poop it’s viewers would be demanding! Or maybe not!

“Trusted for his accuracy and fairness on important breaking news, he can also play for laughs. His creative, off-the-wall lifestyle segments like “Personal Trainers for Pooches,” “Hypnotize Your Boobs Bigger” and “Fairy School”, show off his madcap side and willingness to take a pie in the face when necessary!”

I don’t know if that’s exactly the direction Sunrise would see as his brief, but when it comes to being on the inside, I would suggest the only thing hot about Nathan is the hot air suggesting “Sunrise” is getting its gossip delivered as news-breaking. A point already not lost on another Crikey scribe recently.

So how A-List is this bloke when it was pretty evident from his red carpet report last week on the premiere of the new Tom Cruise flick ‘Collateral’, that when asked what was the film like which struck me as a rather obvious point of genuine interest for the viewers, he conveniently avoided answering that altogether. Could it possibly be this A-List insider wasn’t invited?

Then this morning in reporting on a Matt Damon “Good Samaritan” episode, he also threw in to go with the hype for Damon’s very successful Bourne Supremacy movie, that its “been breaking all sorts of box office records”. Sure the movie had a very successful U.S. number one box office opening weekend when it took in an impressive $US53.5 million, but no record there. Unless it was a personal one for Matt Damon as his best return for a film he’s starred in some pretty ordinary ones? Or doubling the opening take for the original ‘Bourne Identity’ movie? But as to breaking “all sorts of records” – you tell me?

Rather this seems the kind of unsubstantiated hyperbole routinely trotted out by Hollywood industry sages as fact that’s plain misleading, but seems endemic to more stereotypical gossip mouthpieces. After all Hollywood is built on the illusion that everything is overwhelmingly wonderful and wildly successful – even when pictures or stars tank.

But as Nathan says – there’s more to this Hollywood insider than just his “good looks”. Why else would Seven shell out the dosh, if not for the fact he’s serving up the very latest news ahead of reading about it here in the local media? A case in point would have to be his item today intimating that perhaps super model Naomi Campbell in a New York spat with her cleaner, had the kind of form that makes her as an employer, more super bitch! Campbell presents as a safe and unsympathetic non-Hollywood type target, so not much to worry about there.

But not much hot inside stuff there either? It was already a police beat news story in the New York Post for an incident that occurred last Saturday, but was also reported here yesterday by local media. But you have to hand it to Nathan, he’s successfully flogging his gossip routine to TV breakfast here and in the UK, so who’s the real chump?

You can check out Nelson’s modest account of his many career milestones here, while also marveling at his undoubted versatility as the “ultimate multi-media hyphenate talent” via his own website, but don’t tell him Max sent you!