Arts & EntertainmentGayest & GreatestTelevision

Gayest & Greatest: People, Part II

Talk-show tycoon Ernie Manouse unexpectedly made Houston home.

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Favorite Male (Community) TV Personality: Ernie Manouse

When Ernie Manouse moved to Space City in 1996 to take a job with Houston Public Media, producing and hosting WeekNight Edition on channel 8, he thought maybe he’d stay here for two years.

“I kept all my moving boxes,” he says. “I still have them.” 

That was 22 years and many TV shows ago. The New York native has hosted everything from talk shows to political debates. He’s also known for hosting the U.S. Military Ball and the Cattle Baron’s Ball, and he has served on the boards of the Houston Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Stages Repertory Theatre, and the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater.

Manouse is 48, although his Wikipedia entry lists him as 49.

“But I’m claiming 47,” says the affable host. “That’s what I was last year, and I liked it.”

His partner is local actor Walt Zipprian of The Catastrophic Theatre, where he’s often the foil to Tamarie Cooper on stage. Manouse and Zipprian enjoy going out to different places, but they typically wind up back at Champ Burger. Manouse is such a fan of the old-school burger shack that he named one of his cats Champ. The other is Scout (presumably not a food reference). Although he rides his bike occasionally, he readily admits that his favorite pastime is watching TV.

He was such a fan of PBS’s Downton Abby that he hosted a local after-show called Manor of Speaking. The thirty-minute chat fest featured local guests who talked about the British program’s weekly plot developments—sort of a fancy Talking Dead, if you will. The show aired on 150 PBS stations across the country.

Over the years, Manouse has interviewed countless celebrities, but his favorite was singer and actress Patti LuPone.

“You’d think she’d be a real diva,” he recalls with a laugh. “But she was the absolute nicest guest I’ve ever had.”

 And if you want to know who the worst guest was, well, you’ll have to take Manouse out for a drink.

He’s working on a new program that he’ll debut in the spring, but right now you can catch him on Cover to Cover. It’s a companion show to PBS’s The Great American Read, which is an eight-part program celebrating the power of reading.

“It’s like a book club,” Manouse says. “My kind of book club, with no assigned reading!”

Guests include the likes of meteorologist Frank Billingsley, Andrea White, Pierce Bush, and Christina Wells.

“Everybody knows Christina from America’s Got Talent,” Manouse says. “But did you know she reads these real trashy romance novels? Hundreds of them.”

As for Manouse’s favorite book, he’ll tell you it is A Christmas Carol.

“It’s a wonderful story of redemption and compassion,” he explains. “And I think there’s a little Ebenezer in us all.”

Manouse has ten regional Emmy Awards, but he’s hoping for at least one more, maybe for Cover to Cover.

“I think ‘Eleven-Emmy Ernie’ has a nice ring to it,” he says. 

—Marene Gustin

Best Female LGBTQ Business Person

Caryn Craig
Finalists: Sandra Bubbert, Julie Mabry, Jill Maxwell, Jenni Tran-Weaver, Tammi Wallace

Best Male LGBTQ Business Person

Mark DeLange
Finalists: John Donato, George Konar, Lane Lewis, Gerard O’Brien

Favorite Female (Commercial) Radio Personality

Sarah Pepper
Finalists: Lynn Beckwith, Christi Brooks, Roula Christie, Lauren Kelly

Favorite Male (Commercial) Radio Personality

Kevin “Special K” England
Finalists: Jason Cage, Al Farb

Favorite Female (Community) Radio Personality

Khaliah Guillory
Finalist: Judy Reeves

Favorite Male (Community) Radio Personality

Jack Valinski
Finalists: JD Doyle, Bryan Hlavinka

Favorite Female Community Hero

Fran Watson
Finalists: Julie Mabry, Toni Mascione, Melanie Pang

Favorite Male Community Hero

Don Gill
Finalists: Jacques Bourgeois, Angelina DM Trailz, Robert Vasquez

Favorite Trans Community Hero

Monica Roberts
Finalists: Alexis Melvin, Atlantis Narcisse, Lou Weaver

Favorite Female Community Photographer

Yvonne Tran
Finalist: Blu Velvet Photography

Favorite Male Community Photographer

Dalton DeHart
Finalists: Eric Edward Schell, Steven Tilotta

Favorite Female Local Politician

Kim Ogg
Finalists: Ellen Cohen, Sylvia Garcia

Favorite Male Local Politician

Sylvester Turner
Finalists: Garnet Coleman, Robert Gallegos, Mike Laster

Favorite Female TV Personality

Deborah Duncan

Favorite Male TV Personality

Frank Billingsley
Finalists: Ryan Korsgard, Derrick Shore

Favorite Male (Community) TV Personality

Ernie Manouse

Favorite LGBTQ Educator/Teacher

Charles Swan
Finalists: Joan Valladares, Clayton Younkin

Best LGBTQ Social Media Account

Randy Rainbow
Finalists: The Fab Femme, JD Doyle, MyGayHouston, Pride Portraits

Favorite Local LGBTQ Blogger

Monica Roberts
Finalist: The Fab Femme

Favorite National LGBTQ Blogger/Vlogger

Rich Lux
Finalists: Roberto Carrasco, JD Doyle

Leading Female Entertainer Fundraiser

Lady Shamu
Finalists: An’ Marie Gill, Angela Mercy

Leading Male Entertainer Fundraiser  

Domenic Cusano
Finalists: Sebastian Gutierrez, Craig Sanford, Angelina DM Trailz

Leading Female Fundraiser

Melissa Flories
Finalists: Felicia Gulihur, Sarah Tompkins Gutierrez, Chris Valk, Sallie Woodell, Carol Wyatt

Leading Male Fundraiser

Don Gill
Finalists: Nick Alvarado, Jacques Bourgeois, Sebastian Gutierrez, Gary Wood

Most Prominent Female LGBTQ Activist

Fran Watson
Finalists: Alexis Melvin, Melanie Pang, Monica Roberts

Most Prominent Male LGBTQ Activist

Ray Hill
Finalists: Jacques Bourgeois, Brad Pritchett, Eric Edward Schell, Ashton Woods

Most Prominent Trans Activist

Alexis Melvin
Finalists: Crimson Jordan,  Monica Roberts, Lou Weaver

Most Valuable Female Volunteer

Donna Junker
Finalists: Julie Mabry, Lo Roberts, Ana Sanchez, Fran Watson, Sallie Woodell

Most Valuable Male Volunteer

Domenic Cusano
Finalists: Jacques Bourgeois, Jeremy Fain, Don Gill, Brad Pritchett, Robert Vasquez

This article appears in the October 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine. 


Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and, among others.
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