BY RICK BENTLEY
TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE/TNS
LOS ANGELES – John Lennon and Yoko Ono had a lot to do with Tamron Hall landing the job as the host of a new daytime talk show. Muhammad Ali and Sly Stone were also instrumental in making “Tamron Hall” become a reality.
Hall used clips of those big names appearing on “The Mike Douglas Show,” a daytime talk show that ran for two decades starting in 1961, as the basis of her plan for the chat show. She has been a longtime fan of Douglas and is convinced the energy and playfulness that he got from his guests became the blueprint for daytime gabbers that followed.
She wanted to be the next in line, and that format will be the basis for Hall’s show that launches in syndication starting Sept. 9 (check local listings). She will then layer on her own original take on talk that comes from being a broadcaster, new mom and newlywed to create a program that’s a hybrid of past and present programs in the genre.
‘Keep it real’
“It is traditional daytime talk because, I can’t say it enough, talk doesn’t go out of style. It’s exactly what we do if we rip off the masks and we’re not phony and we keep it real. I can be myself, you can be yourself and we can talk about it,” Hall tells TV critics. “After I left my last job, I didn’t know what form I would take as far as a journalist. Would I write? Would I create a blog? I didn’t really know, and I’m being sincere.
“Having been on TV since I was 18, that was the natural selection, if you will. But I started to think about all the shows that I’d done. At one point in time I was on six different shows. Basically if there was a show, I was going to take the gig if I was qualified for it.”
25 years of experience
The 48-year-old Texas native has been working toward this program all her life.
The award-winning journalist and TV host spent more than 25 years at the center of news and cultural events working on such programs as “NewsNation with Tamron Hall,” “Today” and “Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall.”
Her background has given Hall the chance to interview the biggest names and everyday people. There will be a mix of guests on her new show, but when a celebrity shows up, the segment won’t be only a way to promote a new book, TV show, movie or music release.
“I do a show called ‘Deadline: Crime.’ That show is on the No. 1 cable network for women, and it’s filled with nothing but real people. So I look at it from this point of view: If you have a Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on, a celebrity, if he’s only coming on to promote his film to talk about his $80 million, that’s not substantive to me.”
Hall says. “I want to know how he became The Rock. The end of the book is great, but what are the pages in the middle? And then you have a non-celebrity, Dwayne Jones from Oklahoma, who may inspire you in a different way. “It is a story.
It’s a journey of conversation, because I have, as a reporter, been inspired and guided more from knocking on someone’s door in Jarrell, Texas, after an F5 tornado than I have interviewing dignitaries and famous people. It’s what you give our audience.
“We have a saying in the South, ‘Fair exchange, no robbery.’ If you’re going to come into our home, we want to have a fair exchange rather than you come out, ‘Hey, here’s my product, and let me move on.’”
Not celebrity based
Executive producer Bill Geddie (who co-created “The View”) stresses this won’t be an attempt to force Hall to fit in what has been the norm for many talk shows.
Rather the program has been built around her skills, experience and thinking. The pair found similar ground because Geddie is from Oklahoma and Hall is from Texas. They both describe the general talk show world as the East and West Coast talking to each other.
That prompted them to want to make a program that’s not celebrity based but is topical conversations of human interest.
Geddie says, “We’re getting in the lane of crime, of victims’ rights, prison reform, things you don’t see in daytime. A lot of real people, a lot of hot button issues that we think people are hungry for.”
Live and taped
“Tamron Hall” originates from New York and will air five times a week.
Three of the shows will be live and two will be taped as a way to give Hall the opportunity to react to a major news story and feed what she expects will be an appetite for topical material by her audience.
That will be the approach for Hall, who joins the ranks of daytime talk show hosts that includes Mike Douglas, someone she has deeply admired.