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November 21, 2017

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Q+A: Ian Ziering is getting in fighting shape for Chippendales gig at The Rio


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Ian Ziering (he’s the one wearing a shirt) and Chippendales cast members at The Rio.

Click to enlarge photo

Jaymes Vaughan, Ian Ziering and James Davis at The Rio.

Chippendales' 10th Anniversary With Jake Pavelka

Chippendales' 10th anniversary with guest host Jake Pavelka at the Rio on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Jeff Timmons in Chippendales at the Rio

Musical guest star and MC Jeff Timmons in Chippendales at the Rio on May 12, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Actor Ian Ziering of “Beverly Hills, 90210” fame is the latest Hollywood hunk to agree to don the signature Chippendales bow tie and cuffs. He’ll host the male striptease shows at The Rio throughout June.

Ian and I are longtime pals who go back to his early days on “Melrose Place.” We had the opportunity to chat when he flew into Las Vegas for his photo shoot with Chippendales.

So you are actually going to be a Chippendale?

Yeah, we have announced it, and I have been doing some advance interviews and taking some photos. The month of June, I am going to be out in Las Vegas hosting the Thursday through Sunday night shows.

The big question is are you going to go bare chested?

Putting on the iconic Chippendales bow tie was part of the gig!

You need to show the people at TMZ that you are fighting fit to pull this off.

Right! Show them that I am hunky and not chunky. It is so funny because a couple weeks ago, there was a picture of Jason Priestley and me coming out of a restaurant, and a couple of the reporters commented that I was looking heavy. Harvey Levin was very nice to defend me, but, truth be told, I was a little bit chubbier. I have a 2-year-old at home, so my life is no longer my own. Being married, I’ve got so many things to do that I am the last to do things for myself. Taking care of my body has been difficult, but I am doing the best that I can.

When this offer came up, it really focused me and put my body into focus. I have been working on it for the last month. I didn’t have much to lose, but it is just about getting into fighting shape. I have another six weeks before I have to stand onstage with those sculpted 250-pounders. I do not want to look like Chris Farley did next to Patrick Swayze. I am hopeful that I can hold my own by then. I am really looking forward to it.

Is your wife Erin going to come in and see you at least once while you’re flexing for the ladies?

Absolutely! Like I said, we have a 2-year-old at home, but Erin also is ready to burst. We are going to have another baby, a baby girl, in early May, maybe even before the end of this month. So ideally we will be able to come out here together, but we will just have to play it by ear. But the plan is certainly for her to come and be with me on the weekends.

Have you ever done anything like this before in your career?

No, but, wait a minute, there was an episode of “90210” where Steve got caught naked, but never anything like this. This is a show -- a full stage show, music and dancing and fun. No, I have never done anything like this. “Dancing With the Stars” was maybe the closest, and I did have some sleeveless costumes, but this is a whole new animal. I feel thrilled and honored to be 49 years old and in good enough shape and in a position to accept this opportunity when it came up. I am so flattered, really.

Had you seen the show before?

I have never seen the show before. It was always something that the demographic skews pretty hard toward the female demo, and I know of it. I know that here in Las Vegas, it is a well-produced show. It is not just a striptease; it is flirty and not dirty. I am really looking forward to just getting up there and having fun. I get to host a party five nights a week.

It is quite the party. I’ve seen a couple of other guest hosts from Hollywood, and the girls in the audience get almost out of control. It’s pretty wild behavior!

Yeah, they get crazy! I love coming to Las Vegas. I’ve always loved it and always had a good time. So whether it would be at a casino or one of the world’s finest restaurants or the nightclubs, everybody comes to have fun and let off a little steam. There is just so much to come to Las Vegas for, and to be a part of the entertainment now is just perfect. I got off the plane this morning, and I’ve got this grin on my face. I am so excited; I am just thrilled.

I’ve known you a long time but don’t remember you ever talking about doing something like this. Was there any time that you were doing “90210” or “Melrose Place” before that years ago, or movies and television, when you fantasized about doing something like this?

Secretly I did, of course. I think every man in the country has probably fantasized about doing something like this.

So how much more exercise do you have to do to get ready?

I’ll shave off a couple more pounds, and I will spend the rest of my free time working out just so I don’t embarrass myself. I am really not taking myself too seriously, Robin. I just expect to have a great time, be a part of a lively show and do the best I can and have fun while it’s happening. If I entertain a few people along the way, it will be a double bonus.

You have to come watch it! We have to do dinner afterward. I’m looking forward to doing it and seeing all my friends. It’s going to be a blast.

Ian Ziering is guest hosting Chippendales at The Rio from June 6-30.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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