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Chat Roulette

Queen Latifah takes a gamble on a new daytime TV show

Author Jacqueline Detwiler

culture2

Queen Latifah with Jamie Foxx on her first talk show in 2000

Daytime television has become a very different space since 1999, when hip-hop legend Queen Latifah—née Dana Owens—took her first stab at hosting a talk show. For one thing, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” has said its final goodbyes, but there are new obstacles to success: an ever expanding 24-hour news cycle, competing reality stars and, well, the Internet. Owens thinks she has the solution: Her second attempt, launching this month, will bring the comic irreverence and musical guests of late-night variety shows like “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” to daytime. Oprah, this lady is not.

“I’m absolutely not trying to become Oprah. I’d love to create a show that has the level of quality that hers did, and, let’s face it, the ratings, you know?” she laughs. “But I think I understand that we’re in the digital age now and I love hearing fresh, new music, so any new acts that I feel are bubbling under that people don’t know about, I want to give them a shot at a national audience.”

Owens also cites her potential for mass appeal.

“I’ve always had an interesting demographic that’s crossed age barriers, race barriers and gender barriers, and I love to bring all of those people together—welcome them into my home, if you know what I’m saying,” she says.

Though she suggests there might be regular appearances from rap royalty (there will be a “revolving door” for friends, she says), Owens says she plans on being all-encompassing in her invitations to musical guests. Expect everything from country to rock and roll.

“I remember watching a performance by U2 on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and I’ve never seen anyone work the cameras the way Bono worked those cameras,” Owens recalls. “Like, he literally grabbed the jib camera and pulled it around with him, and I’m like, ‘That is a performance.’ So of course U2 is welcome on my show anytime. Grab all my cameras, man. Do what you want!” — SEPT. 16

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