December 09, 1996 12:00 PM

As host of Youngbloods, cable TV’s spirited McLaughlin-style talk show for the under-30s, Genevieve Wood hasn’t ruffled any feathers among ratings-rich competitors like Leno and Letterman. But she has seen plenty of fur fly from the five feisty young panelists (none older than 30) who each night talk politics with her over cable’s National Empowerment Television network. Wood, a 28-year-old Republican, has been leading Youngbloods’ gab-and-jab sessions since 1994, locking horns with her liberal colleagues on everything from the flat tax to Filegate.

First person: “People our age have a lot to say to President Clinton—more than whether he wears boxers or briefs, or whether he inhaled.”

Vitals: Born in Texarkana, Texas (Ross Perot’s hometown); father, a college history professor; mother, a retired high school vocational-ed teacher; one younger sister; now shares Arlington, Va., apartment with two women friends.

Odyssey: First distributed leaflets for Ronald Reagan when she was 12; spent the summer of 1988 as an intern in Rep. Jack Kemp’s office; holds a 1990 history degree from College of Charleston, S.C. Worked briefly as an NBC page, and for more than two years as publicity coordinator for NBC News. Was a cohost of the weekly National Public Radio show Left, Right & Center.

Role models: Jane Pauley, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Kemp.

Annual salary: $48,000.

Favorite TV show: “Anything on Nick at Nite—The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show.”

How her show differs from The McLaughlin Group: “We have panelists still paying off their student loans.”.

Secret passion: The Dallas Cowboys. “Genevieve used to have a big Cowboys helmet, and she’d wear it the whole time she was watching the game. It was huge,” says her sister Amanda. “I don’t think she still does that.”

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