Is Queen Latifah the new Oprah?
By Lisa de Moraes,
Sony Pictures TV, Queen Latifah, Will Smith — and Jada Pinkett Smith — think the new Oprah is Queen Latifah.
Sony announced Monday it is getting together with Latifah and Will Smith — and Jada Pinkett Smith — to produce a syndicated daytime talk show that would star the rapper turned actress.
The show would not launch until the fall of 2013, in order to allow time for the thinning of the herd of would-be New Oprah’s — a herd that includes Anderson Cooper, Ricki Lake, Steve Harvey, Katie Couric, Bethenny Frankel and even Jeff Probst. Some of those daytime programs, including Katie’s, won’t be ready to launch until fall of next year.
Latifah and Will Smith — and Jada Pinkett Smith — will executive-produce the new talker, Sony said in its announcement — a complicated macedoine of names of companies owned by Latifah and Smith — and Jada Pinkett Smith, and names of suits working at those companies who have also laid claim to exec-producer credit on the new show.
Latifah already had one at-bat hosting a talk show. But that one — “The Queen Latifah Show,” produced with Warner Bros.’ Telepictures — didn’t take, lasting just two seasons.
Sony noted in Monday’s news that it has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Will Smith — and Jada Pinkett Smith. Sony recently worked with them on the TNT series “Hawthorne,” which starred — Jada Pinkett Smith. And Sony produced with them the “Karate Kid” remake, starring Jaden Smith, son of guess who?
More ‘Horror’ to come
●To commemorate its Halloween night “American Horror Story” “marathon” of all four episodes it has telecast to date, FX announced Monday afternoon that it had picked up a second season of the ghoul-edy from co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.
“American Horror Story” is tracking to become the highest-rated first season of any series ever on FX, the network noted. It’s about a shrink (Dylan McDermott) and family who move from Boston to Los Angeles to reconcile past anguish (in Los Angeles? Really?) and move in next to scary neighbor Jessica Lange, in her first-ever regular series TV role.
Through its first four weeks, factoring in viewers watching episodes up to seven days after their premiere, “AHS” is averaging about 4 million viewers — nearly 3 million of them 18- to 49-year-olds – a.k.a. advertiser catnip.
Murphy and Falchuk also created FX’s “Nip/Tuck,” which ran six seasons, and Fox broadcast network’s “Glee,” now in its third.
Start ‘The Revolution’
●Medical doctors Jennifer Ashton and Tiffanie Davis Henry will round out the cast of co-hosts on ABC’s new daytime talker “The Revolution,” the network announced Monday.
And, The Washington Post’s own personal finance columnist, Michelle Singletary, is joining the show as a weekly financial contributor.
They’ll appear with already announced fashion guru Tim Gunn, home re-do pixie Ty Pennington and “celebrity trainer” Harley Pasternak on the new talker, scheduled to premiere in January.
Throw your mind back to April, when ABC announced it was ta ta for two soaps – “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” — to make way for two new talk shows.
“The Chew” would be about how “food has become the center of everyone’s life.”
“The Revolution” would be about taking one woman a week and showing a time lapse of the five months the show invested in stripping her of the weight she’d put on because food is the center of her life, culminating in a Friday reveal.
In addition to that weekly transformative fun, “The Revolution” also promises to give viewers a “daily boost,” whether that’s “inspiration to accomplish little victories,” or “a road map for a major change.”
Here’s where the newly announced co-hosts come in.
Ashton, an OB-GYN who gets around — you may have seen her on CBS News, Fox News, “The Dr. Oz Show” and on XM Radio’s “Oprah & Friends,” or even on TLC’s “A Baby Story” — will help viewers “demand the best for themselves and from their doctors when it comes to health and family.”
Davis Henry, a psychotherapist who is the state of Georgia’s first African American certified sex therapist — seen on VH1’s “What Chili Wants,” TLC’s “My Strange Addiction” and syndicated “Swift Justice with Nancy Grace” — will help viewers “get to the heart of their emotional issues quickly.”
And Singletary will get you financially fit.
ABC Daytime President Brian Frons noted, ambitiously, that the whole team will provide “an exciting, inspirational template for transformation for women all over the world.”
●Fox, the edgy broadcast network, announced it will air two specials based on a comedy series that was bodacious — in the ’90s.
Yes, “In Living Color,” the network’s groundbreaking sketch comedy show, is being exhumed in the form of two half-hour specials the network plans to air in the spring.
Keenen Ivory Wayans will be the Alistair Cooke, hosting the dust-offs, which Fox promises will be a “modern day take” on the sketch comedy show that helped put Fox on the map — before it landed football and the World Series, that is.
Given the climate these days in general, and at Fox parent News Corp., our money’s on “modern day take” meaning “toned down.” Could a network actually get past the News Corp. Decency Police a prime-time sketch about “flamboyant film critics” Blaine Edwards and Antoine Merriweather, as Fox described them in Monday’s announcement? How about Homey D. Clown? Or disfigured Fire Marshal Bill?
“In Living Color” debuted on Fox in spring 1990 — right around the time Fox realized that an animated interstitial gag called “The Simpsons” was the star of “The Tracey Ullman Show” and made it a series in its own right.
“ILC” starred Wayans and brother Damon Wayans, along with siblings Shawn, Marlon and Kim. It also made stars of Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, and David Alan Grier, and it foisted “Fly Girl” Jennifer Lopez upon an unsuspecting public.
●Fox also announced Monday that it had picked up nine more episodes of its animated series “Bob’s Burgers,” which hasn’t even debuted its new season. Now that’s a vote of confidence.