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Korn Bascombe: Born to Shine

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Reprinted from the News and Observer’s North Raleigh News.

When it comes to on-camera charisma and TV appeal, 5.9 million votes can’t be wrong.

So when N.C. State University student Kornelius Bascombe (Criminology) lost an Oprah-sponsored television host talent search last year but gained 5.9 million votes for his efforts, he decided to keep trying.

“I got so close I could smell the television screen, but it wasn’t close enough,” Bascombe said. “So I kept putting myself out there.”

It paid off. The 22-year-old Enloe High School grad was one of four aspiring television personalities nationwide picked by Time Warner Cable in the company’s “Born to Shine” contest to host segments of a new talk show series airing later this summer.

The “Born to Shine” series will premiere in September on Time Warner Cable On Demand channels 199 and 1047.

Watch Korn’s audition tape on YouTube.

N&O staff writer Chelsea Kellner talked with Bascombe before he flew off to Florida for his first assignment July 7.

Q: What was your strategy for the contest?

A: We did a whole week of nothing but planning – where we were going to shoot, what we would capture in the audition tape and what would bring my personality out to be picked as one of top winners. I went around Raleigh and talked to regular people. People who went to my high school, younger kids from elementary school, elderly people. …I wanted to show that I could relate to everybody. It came across really well.

Q: How would you describe your on-camera presence?

A: I’m very energetic. I love life. I love smiling. I love to let people know that no matter what they’re going through, they can find the good things and have a good time.

Q: What do you enjoy about being on TV?

A: I love being able to inform people. I like to entertain people. I love having fun. When people are having a bad day, I like being the person that they can turn the television to, to feel better. … I like having that ability to relate to people and have them feel better about their day because I’m in their life.

Q: What’s your life story?

A: I grew up in a single grandparent home. My dad was deported from the United States (to the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean) when I was 2 weeks old. I’ve only met him once, during my senior year of high school. My mom wasn’t in my life just because she didn’t have custody and was working in Charlotte.

In my senior year of high school, my grandma had a stroke, so I had to take care of my brothers and my sisters. …Two weeks after my grandma had the stroke, our house caught on fire and burned to the ground. …While that was going on, I was applying for college. …(While I was at N.C. State), I put an emphasis on helping out the community. I joined a fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, to mentor younger students, letting them know that living a good life and getting an education is important.

Q: What’s your advice to other Raleigh kids chasing the same TV dream?

A: You have to crawl before you walk. In every instance, there’s going to be a time when you don’t succeed. It’s important to keep trying hard. When I did the Oprah competition, I didn’t win …but I kept trying. One guy I interviewed said, when I asked him how he measured success, that success is when you make your dream a reality. I thought that was amazing.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: The dream is to be on television, in front of the camera, whether it’s “Entertainment Tonight” or “Access Hollywood” or hosting some show like “American Idol.” I could definitely see myself as the next Ryan Seacrest or Larry King or Conan O’Brien, any of those crazy-cool guys. …If I get a job in Raleigh that would be great, but I’ve been in Raleigh my whole life. I want maybe to move to L.A. or New York, markets where there’s lots of opportunity. But if there comes a chance and Raleigh says, “Kornelius, you need to host something,” oh I’m going to do it.

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