NBC Later host Cynthia Garrett says she knew from the time she was 10 years old that she would one day host her own talk show.
"I was watching a Barbara Walters special one day before the Academy Awards," Garrett tells the TV Guide Channel. "And I looked at my grandfather and I said, 'One day I'm gonna have my own television show and interview people like Barbara Walters, and then I'm gonna win an Academy Award.' "
And that's not all. The precocious child also told her grandfather that she'd one day go to law school. "He didn't make me feel like a really crazy kid," says Garrett, who would go on to earn a law degree from the University of Southern California and a certificate in comparative law from England's prestigious Oxford University. "Two out of three, so far; I'm working on the Academy Award."
No doubt about it, Garrett is driven. To land her first big break with music video network VH1, she went the almost-unheard-of route of producing her own TV talk show pilot. She somehow enlisted the help of Dennis Rodman and Little Richard to appear as guests on her mock talk show and then sent the unsolicited tape to powerful William Morris agent Mark Itkin. "Within four weeks from that particular piece of tape, I started working for VH1," she says. "And Mark said to me, 'You'll get your own late-night interview show, but it's gonna take a little bit of work.' "
Now that she's landed the Later gig, she's hoping to branch out into acting, like her hero, Oprah Winfrey, and former Later host Greg Kinnear. "The big mistake that I think Greg Kinnear made is that I would never leave this show," she says. "I think he's nuts! It's the best day job in America."