Growing up, Vinny Guadagnino wouldn't invite friends over to his family's modest Staten Island, N.Y., home. Now it's the backdrop for his MTV talk show, aptly named “The Show With Vinny.”
The cablenet was set to run a sneak peek following the MTV Movie Awards featuring clips with Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Ke$ha. The 11-episode talk show launches officially at 9 p. m. Thursday with Lil Wayne.
The premise has guests coming to the family home of the quiet guy from “Jersey Shore,” where Guadagnino's mom, Paola Giaimo, cooks for everyone, and Guadagnino's sisters, Antonella and Mariann Guadagnino, interrupt as he tries to talk to guests, which will include Jenny McCarthy, Redfoo, Scott Disick, Kat Graham and A$AP.
The set, a well-worn couch and chair, is in what was intended to be a dining room but until the show had been Giaimo's bedroom. Crucifixes, Communion photos and maps of Sicily decorate the walls.
Each of the sisters' bedrooms is taken over by the show, one as a control room and one as a greenroom. Guadagnino's bedroom has seven shelves of sneakers, a skyline of New York on a mirrored background and video games. Giaimo had ironed her son's T-shirt and helped him into it. She turns her attention to cooking in the cramped kitchen.
“This is crazy,” Guadagnino says, settling on a couch in his room, “every day with a celebrity, just catching that interaction with my mom. She's hilarious.”
“I never had a friend sleep over this house,” Guadagnino says. “It was embarrassing. It was small, beat up. Flash forward 25 years, and now I have millions of people and the biggest celebrities in the world and millionaires.”
Over Guadagnino's bed are photos of the “Jersey Shore” cast, and an inscription reads: “You changed our channel by making it important to change our channel.”
Show screeners were not available at this writing, but it's clearly the antithesis of a slick talk show.
“It's like if ‘Wayne's World' was shot in Staten Island,” says SallyAnn Salsano, executive producer and the force behind the “Jersey Shore” cottage industry.
“Vinny is famous for two things — pinkeye and people fall in love with Vinny,” she says.
“You would think these kids are from central casting. Wait till you see them. Mom cuts his food. This is not a put-on. You feel like you are at someone's house for dinner. We barely get the ‘What are you here to pitch?' ”
Reflecting on how she selected the cast of “Jersey Shore,” Salsano says, “If you would have told me, ‘You are going to take these eight kids you found in a nightclub and change TV,' I would have said, ‘You are smoking something.'”
The day “Jersey Shore” premiered, Guadagnino was supposed to take the LSATs, and he says he still thinks about law school. “I like this more,” he says.