A.J. Clemente on Getting Fired: Maybe This Was "Supposed to Happen"
A.J. Clemente may have immediately blown his weekend anchor gig in North Dakota, but the fresh-faced TV talent didn't necessarily walk away from the job empty-handed. Though he admits that he is still "the butt of the joke" after being fired from his new position for cursing on-air, Clemente tells Us Weekly that he is eager to "move forward."
"I looked like a moron on TV," he admitted to Us at the Cinema Society and Disaronno screening of Love Is All You Need in NYC on Wednesday, Apr. 24. "I didn't want to start my career like this, but to be right here right now, it's like, 'Wow. Maybe this is what's supposed to happen.'"
His biggest takeaway? "Every mike is a hot mike!" he said with a laugh. "I have definitely infused that with me."
Earlier in the day, Clemente had made the morning talk show rounds, stopping by the Today show and later at Live! With Kelly and Michael, where show hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan asked him to cover the red carpet at the premiere of Pierce Brosnan's new film. Clemente gamely agreed.
Clemente also taped an interview with David Letterman for the Late Show With David Letterman on Wednesday, and admitted to the host that he "crawled in bed and called" his parents immediately after the incident.
"But the next day, you gotta pick yourself up and laugh at yourself and keep going," he added. At that, Letterman praised Clemente for being brave enough to own up to his mistakes and talk so candidly about his firing. The late night host also asked if Clemente would consider going back to KFYR if they offered him his job back.
"I've thought about it, but if ESPN comes knocking…" Clemente told Letterman with a smile.
Letterman didn't miss a beat, putting Clemente back in his place with a laugh. "Look, I'm trying to get you the job back in Bismarck, forget about ESPN. That ain't gonna happen. You're going back to Bismarck."
On Sunday, Apr. 21, Clemente made headlines when he dropped several choice curse words on-air on his first day on the job at NBC affiliate KFYR-TV in Bismarck, N.D. Both he and his co-anchor Van Tieu later acknowledged that they were put on-air a little earlier than scheduled, which may have explained why Clemente was obliviously muttering profanity as Tieu attempted to introduce him.
"We didn't know, you know. We didn't know at all," Clemente told Us of the embarrassing incident. "She actually texted me that we even came on early! So she's been really helpful and you know, everybody back there's been helpful."