Last year, Eric Ferguson spent his birthday in the hospital, being treated for an irregular heartbeat. This year he was sitting in Regis Philbin's seat, co-hosting "Live! With Regis & Kelly" as one of the five winners of the show's "Men of Radio" contest.
The morning man on WTMX-FM (101.9) managed not to roll his eyes as all the New Yorkers whined about a little snow. He looked as comfortable on TV as he is on The Mix, as he sipped coffee, got hit in the face by a Gelman-propelled beachball, and described the "horn convention" they were holding at his hotel. (At first I thought he said "whore," which might have made for more colorful anecdotes.)
Ferguson got his best material from his wife, telling viewers about the raw vegan diet she's forced on the family. One night he stumbled on her, hunched over in her car. She was "elbow deep into two bags of Taco Bell," Ferguson said. "There's chalupa everywhere."
(Fun fact: His wife is my former dentist.)
Chicago got a few more plugs on "Live!," too. Kelly gushed about the final contestant on last night's "American Idol" Milwaukee auditions, Chris Medina, whose fiancée suffered a brain injury in a car crash just two months before their wedding. "This man, quite frankly restored my faith in humanity last night," she said.
The first guest was Broadway star (and Real Househusband) Kelsey Grammer, who mentioned that he will be starring in the upcoming Starz series "Boss," which is a fictionalized story about a Chicago mayor with a secret degerative mental condition. Gus Van Sant is directing, and as luck would have it, "Boss" was sold to Starz by WME, the Hollywood firm run by Rahm Emanuel's brother Ari.
The only missed opportunity: Ferguson had the class not to ask Grammer the question of the day - Is he, as his soon-to-be-ex-wife has repeatedly hinted, a cross dresser? That's still a mystery, although Grammer does appear to be a cross-trainer. He wore a pair of New Balance sneakers with his dress clothes.