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Steve Harvey gears up to think like a daytime talk show host

September 04, 2012|By Yvonne Villarreal
  • Steve Harvey, right, gets his own daytime talk show.
Steve Harvey, right, gets his own daytime talk show. (Chuck Hodes/NBC )

Don't tell Steve Harvey you're tired.

The 55-year-old comedian rises early to spend four hours talking as radio host of "The Steve Harvey Morning Show."  On some days, he must cope with the daft answers provided by folks while serving as ring leader of "Family Feud."  This fall, one of the original "Kings of Comedy" is adding more hours to his workday as host of a daytime talk show.

"Steve Harvey," which premieres Tuesday, is modeled after two of his books ("Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" and "Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find and Keep a Man"), with the retired stand-up comic offering  a male perspective. It will air in top markets in NBC stations, back-to-back with Ellen Degeneres' gabfest.

He is part of a crowd of daytime TV hosts launching shows this fall, which also includes Katie Couric, Jeff Probst and Ricki Lake. Show Tracker caught up with the funnyman about setting up shop in daytime.

Does Steve Harvey get more than 24 hours in a day or something? How do you have time to do a talk show?

I got up today at 4:15 a.m., I’ll probably change that to 4 or 3:30. I go on the air for my radio show from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.. Then I do production, commercial work, and all of that. Then we’ll start taping the first show around 1 o’clock.  Then we’ll tape the second show around 4.  Then I’ll go home and grab dinner because then the next day will come round again.  This will be my way of life from September to April or May. From May to August, I do the 180-show season of "Family Feud."

Doesn't your voice get tired from all the chatter?

My voice does get tired sometimes. I’m constantly talking. My voice will need a lot of rest, but for the first time in 27 years, I have weekends off. It'll be interesting to see what it feels like to not be performing stand-up on a Friday or Saturday night.

The show will be based in Chicago--had you wanted to base it in Atlanta, given that's where the radio show has been for so long?

In Chicago, the audience here is acclimated—from Phil Donahue who started this thing off, all the way up to the queen herself, Oprah. It’s a great city. In terms of TV space, there was more available here . Atalanta is a great choice, we love the city. We wanted to make it work, but getting the right TV space, I don’t think it was going to happen in Atlanta.

Talk about your decision to do a daytime talk show. Why not get into late night?

I used to want to do late night, but my brand has changed over the years and I changed with the brand.  When I was on tour with the Kings of Comedy, late night would have been great. But I think what I’ve learned in life has better prepared me for daytime television.  There is no inspiration and uplifting in late night TV. They're not in that business in late night. And that’s what I’ve become with my radio show and with my books,  with "Family Feud," being in a committed relationship, being a father, a husband …. and really loving it, really embracing it. That person that I’ve turned into is better suited for daytime TV.

I think in terms of funny, you can't really top what we’re going to do in daytime TV. The only person that’s funny is Ellen, and I’m going to be her lead-in--so until Ellen comes on, I’m the funniest person on TV. And I think we’re going to fill a void by adding a male perspective.  I think it’s going to be good and refreshing. And I think it’s going to be funny.

You're entering an already-crowded field with a few others this fall. Does it concern you at all--feel pressure to do more to stand out?

The fact that there are a lot of other talk shows out there is no concern of mine whatsoever. Here’s the deal. There’s one Steve Harvey coming out—I bet you I can do that better than anybody else and that’s what I’m going to do. Whoever else is out there -- God bless them. I think everybody is going to get what they worked for.  If a person is having a great season somewhere else, I applaud it.  I’m going to do my best to have the best season I can have.


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Follow Yvonne Villarreal on Twitter: @villarrealy


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