First we heard that Bethenny Frankel’s own talk show wasn’t going to happen, then we learned that her show was going into production on a test run and today we learn that Frankel’s show Bethenny will hit the TV airwaves next week. To start, Bethenny will only air in select markets across the country but if the show does well, it could possibly be picked up for a more nationwide audience. Click below to get your first look at Bethenny before it debuts (selectively) next week and read an interview with Bethenny the talk show host.
Q: What made you decide to do a talk show?
BF: A talk show wasn’t a goal. But it was an evolution. On reality TV, you open yourself to people. Those shows were a byproduct of my experiences. This show is the next step. This show is more structured. I want to have longer conversations with people than you can have on Twitter.
Q: Ellen DeGeneres is one of the producers of your show. Who are your role models as talk-show hosts?
BF: It probably sounds canned to say that Ellen is my role model. But beside her, I wouldn’t say I have a role model. Ellen is very different from me. I’m very edgy, much more inappropriate. I have to admit I don’t watch many other talk shows. So I’m not going to be doing what anyone else is doing.
Q: You say you’re edgy. How do you mean?
BF: Well, I talk racy, but I’m not racy. Maybe that’s more of a shtick. I’m not wild sexually. But people think I am because that’s how I talk. I’m actually a little prudish.
Q: What will your show focus on?
BF: I want this show to be a conversation. I want it to be about what women talk about when they’re having cocktails – or driving car pool, or on a girls’ night out. I want to talk about marriage and infidelity, money, spa tips, grooming habits – what women talk about. I want to talk to women and share my stories, thoughts and perspective with them. I feel that my experience can help other women improve their lives and help them pursue what they want out of life, whether it be their own business, family, or whatever they desire.
Q: This is very different from reality TV. How have the challenges of this kind show surprised you?
BF: I didn’t expect to be as consumed with minutiae – everything from who I can get to do my make-up to something as simple as finding time for lunch. But I’m also amazed by what a machine this is. I didn’t know they’d have 100 people working or the amount of thought that goes into every aspect. They’re organized right down to the color of my lipstick and whether that’s wrong or whether my clothes are creeping up on me.
Q: You were used to being more hands-on in your business. Is it hard to learn to collaborate?
BF: No, it’s been great. These are really smart people. This is the winning team that produces Ellen’s show. The only scary part is they don’t seem worried; I’m worrying constantly. We only have a short rehearsal period but that’s what they want. They want me to just go out there and not be so planned.
Q: But you have your own ideas for the show as well.
BF: I have my ideas and I say them. I was doing a demo yesterday when we were filming the pilot. I called a girl up from the audience but I didn’t think she added much to the demonstration. So for the next one, I said, Why don’t I do this by myself? And after I did it, we all decided that, in fact, I was better off with someone coming up from the audience.
Q: What’s been the toughest thing to learn?
BF: The hardest thing to learn is that every second doesn’t need to be filled. I was on Jimmy Kimmel’s show and that was a nice, relaxed conversation. On the other hand, I used to do “The Today Show” where you had three minutes to bang through all your points. I’m finding I like the segments that are a little longer, that let me really have a conversation. And the other thing is learning to focus and be my true self, to be natural and authentic, to think about being a good host. I want to be open to what my guests are saying, to really listen to them. The people who are the best hosts are really listening to you. I’ve been on a lot of talk shows and a lot of them aren’t listening at all. But the best hosts – a host like Ellen – will hear the conversation go in a new direction and follow it there. That’s what I want to do. It’s not always about sticking to the script.
Q: Who would your dream guest be?
BF: I have to say Mark Zuckerberg, hands down. I would ask him how he had the courage to turn down a billion dollars, how he could be so sure of his vision at such a young age. And I’d ask him if he really thought he was that much smarter than everybody else.
Q: Anyone else on your wish list?
BF: I’d say Martha Stewart, since I was first runner-up on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.” And Melinda Gates. Because charity really is her passion. It’s a struggle to decide what charities to put your money into and so many that are deserving. I’d love to understand more about how she approaches it.
I love Bethenny, I really do. But, as I made clear before, I’m not sure she’s TV talk show host material. Then again, I didn’t really think Wendy Williams would make a good talk show host and her show is doing very well. Like Wendy Williams, Bethenny’s show is getting a Summer test run so we’ll know in a few months if Bethenny can make her own talk show work. I wish her all the luck in the world but … we’ll see. Are any of y’all planning to tune in to watch Bethenny make her TV talk show debut? Click HERE to see if Bethenny will be airing on your TV stations.