Central Ave host Julissa Bermudez brings authenticity to new series

From left to right: Julissa Bermudez, Will Packer, Sanya Richards-Ross of Central Ave. Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Lippin Group.
From left to right: Julissa Bermudez, Will Packer, Sanya Richards-Ross of Central Ave. Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Lippin Group. /

Julissa Bermudez co-hosts the entertainment magazine series Central Ave, and spoke on the importance of authenticity and diversity in her new show.

TV viewers have a fresh and different option when it comes to getting their entertainment and pop-culture news: Central Ave, produced by Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury and Will Packer, hit the airwaves last month and is already setting itself apart from other daily news shows.

Hidden Remote connected with co-host Julissa Bermudez, whom many of you may recognize from her previous hosting duties on 106 & Park and Jersey Shore: After Hours, to discuss what makes Central Ave different and what it takes to keep the show timely and engaging.

Learn more about the show and Julissa in our interview below, and you can watch the series on select FOX affiliates every day (check local listings for specific time/channel).

Hidden Remote: What separates Central Ave from other pop culture and entertainment shows?

Julissa Bermudez: It’s different because it’s produced by Will Packer. He has such an awesome track record with his hit movies, and he’s on the [wavelength] of the pop culture scene—what really drives people to the theaters and to watch certain movies. That’s not easy to do these days.

And then because we are based in Atlanta. We shoot out of Atlanta. Also because it’s hosted by two women of color [Bermudez and co-host Sanya Richards-Ross]. All of those things were very appealing to me.

HR: You have not only hosting experience, but you were on a reality TV show, so you’re aware of what it’s like to be talked about too. Does that help you connect with the material, since you can see it from both sides?

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JB: When you are doing a reality show or docu-series, you have to be pretty authentic. [But] at the end of the day, real life is not as exciting when you chop it up and put together the most exciting moments.

You definitely want to tread lightly, but also deliver the news that people want and [do it] in a way with integrity. Especially on our show, we’re investigating the headlines, so it’s a lot deeper and more journalistic point of view. Our team are veterans in the pop culture space and the entertainment news world. We definitely make sure we deliver for the audience but do our best to maintain the credibility and integrity of each story we tell.

HR: Each episode of Central Ave has to be talking about that day’s top stories. So how tough is it to turn material around quickly enough to deliver a timely show?

JB: We have a meeting every morning at 6:00 AM, and we go through what’s trending at the moment, if some breaking news happened overnight, we talk about it and we figure out the best angle for the way we’re going to tell the story. That aspect is where we stand out, and we figure out what the job is that needs to be done.

We’re up very early, so we’re tracking things as they’re happening, and relying on the sources we have and the team that we have in New York and Los Angeles, who are up even earlier than we are. It’s a real team effort.

One of my favorite [segments] is what we start off with, which is our Central Story. That’s the one where we really dive beyond the headlines—the story you’ve been hearing about all day, but you don’t really know the ins and outs of it. That’s where we really investigate. We’ve gathered this information, so when you see the Central Story segment you’re like oh wow, I can form an opinion now.

HR: But the stories are only half the show. How did you find chemistry with your Central Ave co-host, Sanya Richards-Ross?

JB: Honestly, it was just spending time together. We didn’t want to force it, because it has to come across authentic. We just took it a day at a time. We hang out outside of when we’re on set, we’re hanging out in the production office. We both relocated to Atlanta, so we hang out on our time off and get to know Atlanta a little bit and just get to know each other a little bit more. I always say it’s great because I don’t have any sisters, so I forced her to be my sister. (laughs)

So we’ve just been getting along and really learning each other in this space. She brings certain qualities and hopefully I do the same, and I pick up things from her being an athlete [like] having that work ethic of training like an athlete and [being] very goal-driven. [Between us] it feels like you’re on someone’s team. Especially if they’re cohosting with you, that’s always a good feeling.

HR: What’s the biggest lesson Julissa Bermudez has learned from Central Ave?

JB: I never in a billion years thought that entertainment magazine shows take such a production. It’s different than even when I corresponded for Access Hollywood [or] when I was hosting Yahoo Celebrity, especially because we are in Atlanta, so we’re literally building the infrastructure from the ground up

Doing a show like this that has so many elements to it that I think the average viewer would never think about. It’s so much teamwork and reminds me of when I first started in the business. I went to theater arts school, and the first thing they teach you is part of being part of an ensemble cast and this is literally that. All the elements have to come together for something to work. %hat’s something that I learned, and I actually really love it.

The response has been great, namely [to] our stories, which is something that really excites me because one of the missions and goals we have on the show is to really bring back storytelling and have people go beyond the headlines. We aren’t giving any breaking news. That doesn’t exist anymore by way of social media and how people consume information. So by the time you watch our show…what you’re going to see is a great investigative segment of entertainment news that you thought you knew, but until you watch it on our show and see it broken down, you didn’t know.

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Central Ave airs daily on several FOX affiliates; check your local listings for the specific time and channel in your area.