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October 31, 2001     Beverly Hills Weekly
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October 31, 2001
 

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s~ Beverly Hills High School Alumnus Hosts Fox's "Love Cruise" By Rachel Levin Justin Gunn ;:i!ii:!;:i For Justin Gunn, the dynamic host of Fox's latest reality television venture "Love Cruise: The MaidenVoyagc," life is a "col- lection of experiences." From his days working at the Beverly Hills High School's television station to the three weeks he spent floating on the turquoise waters of the Caribbean while filming "Love Cruise," Gunn, 27, has certainly amassed a unique resume of experiences in his favorite artis- tic medium: television. Gunn, who also attended Beverly Vista and El Rodeo schools, believes that going to Beverly Hills High School was "instru- mental in cultivating" his interest in televi- sion. He was involved with KBEV, the high school television station that broad- casts through the Beverly Hills Public Access station. He credits his lormer teacher, Dave Stiles, with teaching him valuable media skills that he has utilized throughout his career. Stiles was delighted to see a former stu- dent enjoying success in the medium. "I remember watching TV and looking for video that was appropriate for class and running across Justin. That was a kick!" Stiles remembers Gunn as "energetic and interested in everything we were doing." Stiles also said that Gunn "was one of those people who couldn't do enough. Every cou- ple of years, you get a select group of peo- ple who are behind all the student produc- tions. Justin was part of such a group; he Was lucky to be in the group, and they were lucky to have him." But it was Gunn's craving lor more mature experiences that caused him to !cave Beverly after tenth grade and transfer into the honors program at Santa Monica College. Since he had always had an aft'in- Ity for being in front of and behind the cam- era, Gunn then enrolled at the Art Center College of Design's Fihn Department. At Art Center, he first got the idea that he Would pursue tor years to come: hosting a talk show for teenagers. To that end, he put together a tape of himself "yucking it up With tourists on Hollywood Boulevard," and a TV writer he knew passed the tape along to MTV Networks. They were not interested in producing a talk show, but they loved Gunn. MTV hired him to host a teenage magazine show, "Like Wc Care," and the following year he was picked up by Channel One News, a daily newscast for high school students available outside of Calitornia, as one of their young anchors. At Channel One, he had the opportunity to travel the globe to interview important cul- tural figures ranging from Bob Dole to Ice Cube. By seventeen, he was a working pro- fessional on national television. "I always wanted to be older when I was younger, and I was right," he explained. "1 like being an adult!" Still, it is easy to spot the playful kid in Gunn, who arrived at our interview on a motorized scooter and is a self-professed "gear head." "I love anything with a motor," he admitted: cars, motorcycles, even go-carts. He used to race motorcycles until his brother Christian, 30 (BHHS Class of '89), was partially paralyzed in'his Icft arm after an accident five years ago. "We decided to give my mother a break," hc said, "so now we race go-carts." It is no wonder, then, that Gunn tound the working style of "Love Cruise" to be a per- feet fit; he described the taping as "full throttle." On the "l.ove Cruise," a 234-foot antique boat, sixteen singles (eight men and eight women) competed to remain on the ship as each "gender jury" voted off one member of the opposite sex per episode; the remaining couple (yet to be revealed) won a cash prize and a trip around the word. While on board, contestants bunked with a different opposite-sex partner every 48 hours, and 24-hour surveillance cameras captured the action in each .stateroom. Gunn explained that the show was original- ly supposed to air in January 2001. but much of the footage was "too racy" and had to be edited even further." "Things got pretty pornographic," admit- ted Gunn, who opted to enjoy the "story- book lagoons" of the tropics when his duties as host were done for the day and all the di'ama was unlblding below decks. The pace of the taping mirrors the histo- ry of his professional life: periods of fast- paced work alternated with periods of repose. Gunn has worked on several other shows since leaving Channel One. but never saw his concept of hosting a teenage talk show realized. He worked as a corre- spondent for the news magazine show "Inside Edition," then as a host for "The Web," a show on the Sci-Fi Channel dedi- cated to the Internet, and finally as a host tbr the Web-based show "'IV.COM" before landing on "Love Cruise." Does hc think he will stick with reality television'? "I believe in it strongly when well-executed. A lot of poorly-executed shows are giving the genre a bad Rame. It's like rock and roll or hip-hop-- people said they were just trends that would go away but they didn't. The same is true with real- ity TV." For now, Gunn is enjoying a peri- od of down time, always looking lot the next television project to dedicate himself to-- full speed ahead. 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