Jay Leno out, Ross Mathews in! The beloved, former Tonight Show intern returns to E! with Season 2 of his hit talk show, Hello Ross (premiering Friday, Feb. 21 at 10/9c), but there's no confirmation of his ex-boss's appearance just yet.
"I think he's probably taking a break. He deserves quite the vacation, but I would love to have Jay on," says Mathews. "He has an open invite to come here. He can have a parking spot."
While Mathews waits for Leno, he lined up The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Brandi Glanville as the first guest if the season. "She's on the cover of every magazine in the country and people are obsessed with her drama," he says. "We're going to get the truth and go into the eye of the storm."
E! has yet to announce more guests, but Mathews, who welcomed Gwyneth Paltrow, Kris Jenner and Mel B during his freshman season, has his wish list of dream interviewees: Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Adele, Liza Minnelli and Oprah Winfrey. "What's so great about Season 2 is that now people are calling us to get on the show," says Mathews whose busy schedule also includes a gig covering the Academy Awards for E!'s Live From the Red Carpet. "The celebs know this is a show where we're going to celebrate them. It's a love fest."
The show's candid one-on-ones and fan-centric core will remain, but there is one big addition. "We're really locked into our format. We run everything through the filter of bringing pop culture and fans together, but what will change is that we're getting a new set," Mathews says. The revamped studio will launch in time for the premiere, which pays homage to one of the host's favorite TV dramas. "Episode 1 is all about Scandal. We do a field piece that's about, 'Is it an episode of Jerry Springer or a storyline on Scandal?' I am obsessed with the show."
As for that other show — the one where he got his start — "Ross the Intern" insists that it's still very much alive, even without Leno at the helm. "The family lives on," says Mathews who is also a big fan of Jimmy Fallon. "People who did all my segments [on The Tonight Show] are now working on Hello Ross, which is great. That ripple that Jay started lives on."