Last month, I finished working on a daytime talk show called FABLife. Why did it end? It got cancelled.
What’s funny about working in daytime television is meeting all the strange and great personalities that come with the territory. They highlight how quick-and-flashy the daytime cycle can be—and how many A List, B List, C List, D List, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, etc. List “celebrities” can find themselves with a show. It’s fascinating. In researching for guests appearing on the show and to chase a general curiosity, I found myself tallying bizarre alt-talk shows that had “big,” successful names attached to them without big, successful lineages. Why? Because they flopped.
Thus, enjoy this little list of ten people you forgot had a talk show. (Plus two extras because there are a fuck ton of bizarre talk shows that never quite worked out.) Viva le terrible television!
RUN: 2012 to 2014
CONCEPT: “‘Bethenny,’ the talk show starring Bethenny Frankel — businesswoman, bestselling author, and self-described “Queen of Too Much Information” — airs weekdays! To find out where the show airs in your town, go to bethenny.com.”
FUN FACT: When the show got cancelled, Bethenny admitted feeling “relieved” and went on to say how people like Ellen and Oprah and Wendy make it look easy but “it is one of the hardest jobs I have ever done.”
The Meghan Mullally Sow
RUN: 2006 – 2007
CONCEPT: “You know Megan Mullally best as the sass-talking drunk on the hit NBC show Will & Grace. Well Megan is here to prove once and for all that there is life after a long-running sitcom! This talk/variety show is promised by Megan to ‘breathe new air into the talkshow genre’.”
FUN FACT: Mullally actually got into talk show-ing after she subbed in for David Letterman.
The Wayne Brady Show
RUN: 2001 – 2004
CONCEPT: “Versatile comedian Wayne Brady, whose improvisational skills, musical talents and hilarious characters have made him a standout star onWhose Line Is It Anyway?, stars in a new comedy/variety series — with a twist…Whether spoofing the current boy band craze or performing dead-on impersonations of such talents as James Brown or Stevie Wonder, Wayne’s inimitable style of comedy breathes new life into the variety format and launches it into the 21st century.”
FUN FACT: Even though you may have forgotten this existed, the Emmys haven’t: the show won multiple Daytime Emmys, including Outstanding Talk Show and Outstanding Talk Show Host.
CONCEPT: “Kardashian family matriarch Kris Jenner may be largely overshadowed by daughters Kourtney, Khloé and Kim on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but she takes center stage as host of this eponymous talk show…Jenner promises ‘lots of laughs, great conversation’ on the show, just like she has when hanging out with her family.“
FUN FACT: Where to begin? Kanye West gave Kris an exclusive interview, North West made her media debut on the show, and Fox execs referred to her as “pretty interesting.” The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: Khloé’s show got cancelled too.
Ronan Farrow Daily
RUN: 2014 – 2015
CONCEPT: “Ronan Farrow has quite an impressive background, which started at birth — he’s the son of Golden Globe-winning actress Mia Farrow…Now he brings his varied experiences to MSNBC in a show that the host promises is ‘a new generation of news show’ for younger, social-media-engaged viewers. He achieves that by incorporating social media into segments that include Battle of the Day and reporting on stories that are of interest to a younger generation of Americans.”
FUN FACT: Ronan Farrow’s mother is Mia Farrow and his father is Woody Allen and he is rich.
RUN: 2013 – 2014
CONCEPT: “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and City Councillor Doug Ford discuss everything from politics to sports.”
FUN FACT: The show was cancelled after one episode. However, it went on live as a web series.
The Bonnie Hunt Show
RUN: 2008 – 2010
CONCEPT: “Veteran television talk show guest Bonnie Hunt hosts her own down-to-earth syndicated talk show from the producers of Ellen.”
FUN FACT: I wish this show never went away because Bonnie Hunt was a great Kim Zolciak, as you see above.
RUN: 2013 – 2014
CONCEPT: “Ross Mathews has come a long way…Now he’s hosting this weekly interactive show that E! describes as a ‘fan destination.’ Mathews and his guests dissect the latest happenings in pop culture and other topics people are buzzing about, while viewers get to chime in and interact directly with Mathews by using the usual social media platforms, allowing them to help influence the direction of the show.”
FUN FACT: The former intern, current Drag Race judge got a show due to Chelsea Handler helping and vouching for him. But, when Handler and E! cut ties, that meant no more Hello Ross!.
RUN: 1995 – 1996
CONCEPT: “This talk show deals with issues concerning unruly teenagers, hookers, abusive parents, bad relationships, physical appearances, weight loss, building self-esteems and trivial subjects such as unusual pets.”
FUN FACT: As scholars have pointed out, Carnie! was a part of a mid-nineties TV shift from political daytime shows like Oprah, Sally Jessy, Donahue, and more that moved into “tabloid talk.” The show was also a part of a trend of shows given to people with entertainment backgrounds as opposed to journalistic backgrounds.
The Caroline Rhea Show
RUN: 2002 – 2003
CONCEPT: “Broadcasting live from New York, this show features the Big Apple as its backdrop, tapping into all the energy, humor, poignancy and uniqueness the city has to offer. The show, taped in front of a studio audience, includes interviews with celebrity guests as well as man-on-the-street interviews and comedic bits.”
FUN FACT: The show from Sabrina’s witchy aunt was short lived, yes, but had an interesting moment in time: the show was intended as the follow up to The Rosie O’Donnell Show and its cancellation led to the rise of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2003. So, backhandedly, this slot is historically the “light lesbian daytime show.”
Bizarro list, no? To keep the bizarre, “WTF?!”-ness of this going, here are two extras of note because they have somewhat remarkable/unremarkable people attached to them. Things that make go TV hmmmm.
I have no idea who “Paget Brewster” is or why she got a talk show in 1994 but the above show seemed awesome because no one seemed to know what was going on. That’s my favorite type of television disaster.
YouTube “star” Grace Helbig had a short run hybrid online-and-off show on E! that broadcast on the channel and on her YouTube channel. It didn’t do well and E! eventually shit the YouTube bed by offending the very sensitive world of YouTube personalities.