(FOX 11) - Hooray for Hollywood! That's where we anchor this week's FOX 11 News IN DEPTH as we see what its like to be a tourist in LA.
This is a fun show in which we tour on a Starline tour bus and talk a number of visitors about why they came here, what they hope to see and how they enjoy seeing our sights and shopping in our stores. We also have a number of statistics from the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board on tourism economics.
In this segment, besides tourists, our guests are Kami Farhadi - a co-owner of Starline Tours and Starline Tour Guide Ricky Mancinni.
Welcome to Hollywood, California. As you stand on Hollywood Blvd. you see a literal parade of tour busses. They're all marked up with logos and advertising. One of them is painted in red and emblazoned with the words "TMZ Celebrity Tours". We jump on. Our guide is Ashley Counts. We speak with her and, then, have an in depth conversation with TMZ’s Harvey Levin at the show's studios.
The idea of having TMZ Celebrity Tour buses was Harvey’s. He says, “I was driving around LA, and I’m looking around and thinking ‘oh we broke a story there’ and ‘we broke a story there’ and I was thinking that there’s a connection to all these places.”
So, he created a synergy between the show and the tour -- taking people around town and bringing it to life with the videos and stories over the years along with an entertaining guide. Harvey says the tour has spotted many celebrities over the years, including Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Paris Jackson, CeeLo Green, Samuel Jackson, Diddy, Ben Affleck, Rihanna, Nick Jonas, Dwayne Johnson, even the former president of France!
When it comes to getting scoop for TMZ, Harvey says, “Look, we are a news operation…we cover celebrity news. I was a reporter in LA for many years. I use the same skill sets that I used when I was at CBS in Los Angeles.”
Scott Meyers owns Dearly Departed Tours. We talk with him about how tough the fight has become for tourism dollars with dozens of companies looking for the tourist dollar. Our main focus, though, is on Meyers' Dearly Departed Museum. This is a macabre museum about celebrities that have died. Ironically, while inside this very dark museum, Meyers confesses, business may be departing the Hollywood Tourist Scene. Hear why.
In this segment some final thoughts from tourists on what excites them about walking along Hollywood Boulevard!