Sunday, June 15, 2014 | 5 p.m.
John Katsilometes and Tricia McCrone talk to Ian Ziering, formerly of 90210, now the guest host of "Chippendales."
Ian Ziering’s first name is pronounced very close to “ion.” You could actually argue “Ian” and “ion” are pronounced exactly alike, which is an argument I might take up later with Ion. I mean Ian.
An ion is an atom electrically charged. Ian is an actor who seems electrically charged, rejuvenated by a jolt of volts as he enters his second run as a guest host of Chippendales.
Ziering returned to the production Thursday night and fronts the show Thursdays through Sundays until July 20. He had previously performed with the troupe last year, from June 6-30, in line with other such celeb guest hosts as Jeff Timmons, Joey Lawrence and Jake Pavelka.
The results of these guest-host stints have varied. Timmons, the longtime member of 98 Degrees, went off and started his own production, Men of the Strip, which was the focus of an E! documentary broadcast in May. Pavelka and Lawrence seem to be one-and-done performers in the Chipps show; there has been no caterwauling to have either of them return to the stage at the Rio.
But Ziering, performing with the Chipps at age 50, is remarkably comfortable in his own skin, which is fortunate because that’s pretty much the extent of his costume in the Chipps show. Skin, leather pants and a bowtie. It suits the former “Beverly Hills 90210” cast member well, especially when you consider that he might have petered out when that show went off the air.
Instead, Ziering remains a coveted entity as a stage performer (especially for this Las Vegas male revue) and also as an action star, as “Sharknado 2: The Second One” has just wrapped filming and is set for a return to Syfy in July. The B movie that doubles as a made-for-TV movie is typically praised for its quirky charm. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus review has dubbed it "proudly, shamelessly and gloriously brainless.”
But the role of Fin (hah) in the shark-hurricane suspense yarn was a smart pickup by Ziering, who has reshaped his career by rebuilding his body. He shed 25 pounds last year to perform in Chipps and has remained in tiptop condition to the continued astonishment of other gents in his age bracket.
“You have got to take care of yourself as you age. That’s a given,” Ziering says, stating the apparent. “You have the body you deserve. If you treat it well, take care of yourself and focus on health and fitness, you will be equipped to adapt to change and to capitalize on opportunity.”
Today, Ziering is looking in all sorts of directions, refusing to be confined. In the advent of cable TV, reality TV, game shows, Internet webcasts and podcasts and YouTube, he sees himself as a performer, not just an actor.
“When I started thinking that way, that revelation just opened up the world for me,” he says. “Being 50 is great. It’s none of the things I thought it would be when I looked at it through 20-year-old eyes.”
Ziering is eager to return to what has become his old ‘hood, the Rio, where he became so familiar with the staff that they addressed him by name. He walked into the hotel cafe and was delivered his usual breakfast — egg whites, blueberries and oatmeal — without even having to order.
“When you’re visiting for the weekend, you don’t even know who these people are,” he says. “But the dealers, the waiters and waitresses, the pit bosses, they are familiar, like neighbors. I’ll tell you, the staff at the Rio was great with everything over the six weeks I stayed there last year.”
Ziering is very clearly enjoying this recharging of his career.
“It’s been a great moment in time for me,” Ziering says. “This is a milestone. I’ve been on ‘90210,’ ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (in 2008) and now this one-two punch of Chipps and ‘Sharknado.’ All of a sudden, I’m an action hero. ... I feel strong, sharp, at the top of my game.”
It’s a good energy, electric and illuminating. Having fun with the pun, the kid from “90210” is still a positive Ian.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.