NOT SO FUNNY! HOWIE FUMING OVER MARIO!

Published on: April 30, 2014
Photography by: NBC Universal
NOT SO FUNNY! HOWIE FUMING OVER MARIO!

AMERICA’s Funniest Home Videos” produc­ers have chosen Mario Lopez to be the show’s next host, and that’s left wannabe Howie Mandel fuming, say sources.

The ENQUIRER has learned that comedian Mandel was in the running to replace Tom Bergeron, who an­nounced he’s leaving the popular ABC series, but then the hunky “Extra” star swooped in and nabbed the coveted gig.

“Howie wanted the job really bad,” an insider told The ENQUIRER. “He knew that ABC was talking to come­dians about replacing Tom, and the word on the street was that Howie was a shoo-in for the job.

“But the higher-ups at the network had a change of heart after Mario ex­pressed interest. It’s not official, but Mario has the hosting duties pretty much locked up.”

Mandel, 58, is a popular judge on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” with Howard Stern, “Spice Girl” Mel B and Heidi Klum. But pro­ducers of “AFV” were concerned that he might actually detract from their show, say sources.

His quirky personality was con­sidered “a little overwhelming and old-fashioned,” revealed the insider.

“They didn’t want a larger-than-life personality who would take away from the show’s main purpose – in­troducing hilarious clips. Bottom line, they didn’t want it to be ‘The Howie Mandel Show.’”

Mandel had also worried execs  with his sometimes bizarre behavior,say sources.

In 2009, he revealed he suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder – an anxiety problem that triggers repetitive thoughts and actions.

“I’m always on the verge of death in my head,” Howie admit­ted.

The fidgety funnyman, who previ­ously hosted “Deal or No Deal,” is also a notorious germaphobe who was so concerned about picking up bugs that he avoided shaking contestants’ hands.

If he did make contact, he said: “I would spend the day, as I have in the past, in the men’s room rubbing and scrubbing and scalding.”

In sharp contrast to Mandel, Mario is a handsome, clean-cut, 40-year-old babe magnet with a big following on his entertainment news show. He’s almost like a family member to fans who remember him as a teen star on “Saved by the Bell.”

But even Mario has some baggage.

Recent published reports claim that a “rift” between the heartthrob and his former “Extra” co-host Maria Menou­nos was behind her decision to leave the show, a charge Maria denies.

Meanwhile, Bergeron, 58, who will depart “AFV” following its 25th sea­son next year, has announced he will remain the host of Emmy-winning “Dancing with the Stars.”