A Study In Stardom: 14 Celebrities Who Parlayed Their TV/Radio Hosting Gigs To Fame

October 15, 2012  |  
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You may have caught Rickey Smiley’s latest entertainment venture, The Rickey Smiley Show, on TVOne, or heard about Terrence J leaving his mainstay, BET’s 106 & Park to pursue other hosting and acting gigs. These celebrities are now coming from behind the mic of their hosting jobs and onto the big screen of television and movies.

Before they were known for the Fast & Furious movie franchise, their upcoming fashion or make-up line or their OWN television network, these 15 celebrities paved their way to stardom as television and radio hosts.

Rickey Smiley

As the star of his own syndicated morning radio show, The Rickey Smiley Morning Show, Rickey Smiley has more to smile about. He is now coming from behind the mic and onto the television screen with the premiere of his TVOne sitcom, The Rickey Smiley Show.

La La Anthony

Formerly known as La La Vazquez, La La Anthony has taken on a new name and new fame these past few years. From her beginnings as a radio assistant in Atlanta and a DJ at Howard’s University’s campus radio station, La La went on to become a MTV VJ. From there, she received acting nods in movies like Two Can Play That Game and most recently, Think Like A Man, all while being the wife of NBA basketball player Carmelo Anthony and starting her own make-up line, Motives.

Terrence J

He might still be a fresh face in Hollywood, but BET’s 106 & Park co-host Terrence J is making a name for himself in the industry. Stepping away soon from the BET countdown show, he will be joining other notable television entertainment hosts like Giuliana Rancic in hosting E! News. He will also pursue more acting roles, similar to his most recent role in Think Like A Man.

Arsenio Hall

You might remember him all over the place in the early 1990’s, from movies to television. Arsenio Hall is a comedian, television host and actor, who begin his career as an announcer for Thicke of the Night television show in the mid-1980’s. From there, the movie alongside Eddie Murphy, Coming To America, was his next stop, until he showed up on television again with his own hit late-night show, The Arsenio Hall Show, from 1989 to 1994. The show put Hall on the map, making over two dozen television appearances for the next two decades after.


Tyrese might be the renaissance man of the industry. As a former model, MTV VJ and commercial actor, Tyrese is currently working on the 6th installment of the Fast and the Furious movie franchise and working on his solo and group music career with fellow R&B stars Tank and Ginuwine.

Adrienne Bailon

Adrienne Bailon is another chameleon in the entertainment industry. Her hosting career began later than many of those on the list, with her career beginning as an artist in the music group 3LW. From there, she co-starred in many movies before making her hosting debut on MTV tr3s, another career changer for the entertainer.

A.J. Calloway 

A.J. will always be known for his hosting stint at BET’s 106 & Park, alongside co-host Free. Once the hosting couple decided left the BET countdown show, A.J. went on to host other shows, such as the entertainment TV show, Extra.


Alongside former 106 & Park co-host A.J., Free also decided to depart ways with the BET show in 2005 to pursue other ventures. You can now find Free co-hosting with another former BET host, Big Tigger, on the Big Tigger Morning Show in DC, along with her philanthropic organizations.


Sway is known for being a notable MTV corespondent that connected well with the sub-culture of MTV and brought it to the main stage. The recognizable Oakland, CA native began his career as a co-host of the radio show, The Wake Up Show, alongside friend DJ King Tech. After breaking and making up with MTV, Sway is now an executive producer and reporter for the major network.

Bill Bellamy

You might know Bill Bellamy for being the no-holds barred actor and comedian from popular movies and stand-up comedy specials, like The Brothers and Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam, but the comedian was also a regular MTV VJ, hosting several of their television shows. After his popular stint as a MTV VJ, he went on to co-star in various movies and produce his own comedy special for TVOne, Who’s Got Jokes.

Fab Five Freddy

If you didn’t watch MTV’s Yo! MTV Raps during its tenure from 1988 to 1995, you would still know who this historic figure in hip-hop is. Fab Five Freddy was a staple in the hip-hop music and culture scene, and in 1988, became the first hip-hop VJ for the music show, Yo! MTV Raps. Freddy went on to produce the 1991 gritty movie, New Jack City, along with other ventures, like music videos and other popular movies.

Wendy Williams

Whether you like her or despise her, Wendy Williams is currently a household name. Before her show, The Wendy Williams Show, became nationally-syndicated and became one of the most talked about television shows of our generation, you could find Wendy behind the mic at the radio station. Williams began her media career as a disc jockey for local NYC and Philly radio stations. Her controversial career led her to her daytime talk show in 2008 and various acting gigs, including a cameo in Think Like A Man and a contestant on the 12th season of Dancing With The Stars.


Tavis Smiley

As an author, philanthropist and television host, Tavis Smiley paved his way into stardom through radio. After college, Smiley became a radio commentator, which led him to the BET show, BET Talk. Smiley remains the host of his own show with Tavis Smiley, which airs on PBS.

Oprah Winfrey

She is crowned the Queen of Media, a career that spans over radio, television and print; Oprah Winfrey is a mogul who doesn’t need a credentials check. Her humble beginnings were at a local radio station, which hired her to do news part-time until an opportunity in Nashville earned her a hosting job, the youngest and first black female news anchor in Nashville at the time. Oprah went on to co-anchor in Baltimore before relocating to Chicago in 1983 to host AM Chicago. With the ratings boost she brought on at the morning show, The Oprah Winfrey Show was born in 1986, the highest-rated program of its kind in history and nationally syndicated until its end in 2011. Now, you can find Oprah as the head of her OWN magazine, her OWN television network, her OWN SiriusXM radio show and her leadership academy for girls in South Africa.

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