Just over a month before the launch of her daytime talk show on ABC, Tamron Hall is ready to jump into the world of traditional talk with both fashionably-clad feet.
Hall—along with Executive Producer Bill Geddie and Co-Executive Producer Talia Parkinson-Jones—appeared at the summer gathering of the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills to discuss her new show, eponymously named Tamron Hall. The strip premieres in syndication on Monday, Sept. 9, and notably, in the prime 10 a.m. ET slot after Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan on top stations WABC New York, WPVI Philadelphia and WTVD Raleigh, N.C.
Hall’s road to syndication began when she exited NBC in the wake of the hiring of Megyn Kelly, who was then departing Fox News. Kelly was given the 9 a.m. ET/PT slot on NBC—also known as the third hour of Today—and that was the hour Hall had been hosting with long-running weatherman and Today host Al Roker.
“Whether Megyn was successful or not, I already knew [NBC] made the wrong choice when I walked out the door. I knew it was the wrong decision—that’s why I left,” Hall told reporters and critics in the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. “I didn’t know what would come out of leaving that situation. I’m blessed and fortunate that this was the end result, and that Disney has given me this platform.”
After leaving NBC, Hall didn’t immediately know what she was going to do next, but a talk show had long been on her mind.
“I didn’t know what form I would take as a journalist after I left NBC,” she said. “I started to think about all of the shows that I had done … and I thought, let’s bring all of these things together.”
Development of the infant project started with Harvey Weinstein, Hall said, “and we all know what happened there.”
But Hall’s vision of the show remained: “I’ve always been a fan of traditional talk—talk never goes out of style. I felt strongly there was an opening [in daytime for this]. Disney reached out and they believed. The players changed but the game remained the same. This was this beautiful effortlessness that we seek so much in life—it all fell into place. It was harder to conceive a child than this,” said Hall, who in May at the age of 48 gave birth to her first child, Moses.
Geddie, who co-created ABC’s The View with Barbara Walters, came on as executive producer and later, Parkinson-Jones, who had been an executive producer at Debmar-Mercury’s The Wendy Williams Show. Last month, Disney announced that Randi Clarke Lennon had joined the show as director, after having directed CBS This Morning since 2012.
Asked what the show would be, Hall said it would be about “layered conversations,” whether those were with celebrities or “everyday people.”
“If you have Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on as a celebrity, if he’s only coming on to promote his next project, that’s not substantive to me. It’s a story—a journey of conversation. I’m not being phony [and telling] you celebrities don’t matter. I don’t think it’s wise of anyone to pigeonhole themselves—I’m not avoiding celebrity but it doesn’t matter what your name is if you aren’t coming to add to the conversation.”
“It’s not a concept that’s happening to her, it’s built around her,” Geddie chimed in. “I think a lot of television is just two coasts talking to each other. This show will be about human interest, crime, victims’ rights, prison reform, things you don’t necessarily see in daytime. Things people are hungry for.”
“Essentially, whether it’s the story behind the celebrity or the everyday person, we all come to the table with a story and that’s what we are trying to do on the show,” said Parkinson-Jones.
Tamron Hall will tape in New York with three live episodes and two taped episodes each week, although that schedule could change if the show is in production when, like last weekend, two mass shootings took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
“I would not be my real self if I didn’t go on television and hit that one hard,” Hall said. “Those unique parts of my career give us a lane that right now no daytime show occupies. Give me a camera and a mike and we can make a show.”
[Images courtesy Trevor Traynor/Memoryscape]
[A version of this story by the same author also has been posted at broadcastingcable.com]