NEW YORK – The re-invention of Monica Lewinsky starts today.
The former portly pepperpot will be unveiled today -- first as a guest host on The View then later tonight to emcee a new reality show called Mr. Personality -- as a new woman, with a new career, a new look and a new view on life.
"I think enough time has passed for Monica to step out like this. There's no question she's famous, and after all the hype, I think she'll be judged on her ability to entertain," says Lou Colasuonno of Westhill Partners, a Manhattan-based "strategic communications" firm.
"She needs to give the media something else to focus on now, so that talking about the event that made her famous becomes one paragraph at the bottom of the story."
Fox, the network that hired her to host Mr. Personality, has managed her comeback like a Presidential campaign.
Plenty of people are talking for her, but Monica herself has been very scarce.
She has granted only one print interview (with Newsweek magazine last week) and one TV appearance (sitting in for Barbara Walters on The View today).
No Letterman, no Leno and, above all, no Howard Stern.
It's a bold move since reality TV seems to thrive on maximum publicity. It may just be that Monica Lewinsky hosting a dating show needs no introduction.
On Mr. Personality, a bachelorette named Hayley must choose a suitor from among a group of guys wearing masks -- in essence, choosing her guy based on his wit and charm rather than his looks.
Lewinsky will host the show (9 p.m.) and provide advice to Hayley before she kicks off a suitor each week.
"Monica doesn't just walk in and say her lines and leave. She has a very personal interaction with Hayley," says a show spokesman. "They formed a very good friendship. They're the only two who don't know what the men look like."
So is Monica ready for her close-up?
Judging by the recent promotional photos for Mr. Personality, she is slimmer and more quietly dressed than when we last saw her.
"Her image is important," says Colasuonno. "She has to look smart and be smart."