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  • Get The Latest News From The Diva Andrea Simakis

    [caption id="attachment_4101" align="alignleft" width="96" caption="Andrea Simakis"]Simakis[/caption]

    Be sure to read up on the latest news and gossip in Cleveland with the Diva Andrea Simakis of The Plain Dealer!

    The Diva was recovering after watching three days of "Prohibition" on PBS (looking back, it was actually the drinking game that did her in -- downing a shot every time anyone said "wets," "drys" or "18th Amendment") when she heard that yet another Clevelander had been selected to represent the Buckeye State in Cosmopolitan magazine's Bachelor of the Year contest.

    In a news cycle dominated by the death of tech genius Steve Jobs and the rallying of hundreds of Occupy Wall Street supporters in Public Square, the Diva tore off her eyeshades Thursday to report that Chris Van Vliet, the 28-year-old host of "The Buzz," a celebrity gossip segment on 19 Action News, had been named Ohio Bachelor 2011.

    You can thank me later.

    That auspicious prize in hand, Van Vliet will go on to compete against a slew of beefy hunks from across the nation in an online poll and appear in Cosmo's November issue, where his shirtless image will be ogled by more than 18 million readers.

    Ontario native Van Vliet follows in the snug denim stride of Cleveland prep chef Ryan "Mickey" McLean. Ohio Bachelor McLean beat out ab-tastic specimens from every state and the District of Columbia, to win the coveted title of Cosmo's "most eligible single guy of 2010." That accolade caught the eye of a casting producer for ABC's "The Bachelorette," and quicker than you can say "call my agent," the self-effacing fella had moved from the pages of the glossy women's mag to prime-time television.

    But back to Mr. Van Vliet, who favors a younger Ben Stiller without the apelike gait and the neurotic furrowed brow. Those visiting the Cosmo site will see a series of weighty, philosophical questions asked of each bachelor, such as the query posed to Hawaii Bachelor Chris Pemberton. ("Do you manscape?: "Yes, I like to keep myself neat.")

    As Van Vliet has gone from reporting on celebrated cheesecake -- "Did Ashton Kutcher really cheat?"-- to becoming a slice himself, the Diva phoned him for her own probing Q&A.

    "How have our paths not crossed before?" Mr. Buzz asked.

    "I don't know," I said, "because we both cover things that everyone cares about that don't matter at all."

    How, for instance, did we not run into each other at the cattle call for ABC's "The Bachelor" at the Quaker Steak & Lube in Sheffield this summer?

    Because it's an ABC show, he told me. Now, he was all over the local casting for "Survivor," because that show is on CBS, the network that carries 19 Action News.

    "In fact, we promoted it," he said. "There were two different 'Survivors' -- one was at Barley House and one was at SouthPark mall."

    We're lucky, really. Our jobs take us to some of the world's most exotic places, though Van Vliet's gig, I soon discovered, afforded him a few more perks.

    While my most recent trip took me to Mansfield to cover a dead tree (the Shawshank oak, damaged by high winds), Disney flew Van Vliet to L.A. last weekend, where he interviewed Hugh Jackman and the cast of "Real Steel."

    Hey, I've been sent to L.A., too. I was yelled at by Mickey Rooney for sitting too close to him in the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel. And Van Vliet? He chatted with A-list stars like Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel and Antonio Banderas and had such friendly access, he was able to tell them they "smelled great."

    Read more Andrea Simakis at Cleveland Plain Dealer

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