For a daytime talk show about average people, “Steve Harvey” has had a noticeable number of far-from-average guests in its first two seasons.
President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Mike Tyson and Honey Boo Boo have all made appearances on the Chicago-based show distributed by NBC Universal and hosted by comedian Steve Harvey. And while everyday people significantly outnumber celebrity guests on the show, it's surprising that the show has any bold names at all. Harvey gave the impression before the show premiered in September 2012 that he had no interest in booking celebrity guests.
“I want to talk to everyday people,” Harvey told NBC's “Today” shortly before the talk show premiered. “Regular people are interesting and more relatable, and that's what I'm interested in.”
Harvey insisted the show, now in its second season, hasn't wavered on its “mission statement.” He made an appearance Dec. 5 at the Men's Journal Gear Lab Pop-Up Shop at 55 E Grand Ave. Harvey was named one of Men's Journal magazine's 2013 Chicago Men of the Year.
“My show is always going to be 95 percent average people,” Harvey said. “That's the way I planned it. It's not going to be a celeb-driven show. But every now and then, we'll have some (celebrities) on. Average people are far more interesting and accessible.
“All celebs are going to do is, we come on TV, ask you to watch our movie or TV show or buy our book and we offer nothing else,” Harvey said. “I got jokes when I'm a guest on your show, so I give you a little entertainment value. But for the most part, there isn't a lot of take-away.”
The majority of the episodes revolve around subjects such as love, family and health, with experts joining Harvey to give advice. But often they aren't just any experts. Star Jones (“The View”) discussed fashion for full-figured women while promoting her clothing line, WWE star David Otunga gave viewers tips on workouts you can do at home, Ali Larter (“Varsity Blues”) shared easy-to-make recipes and boxer Laila Ali shared kid-friendly recipes.
One of the more popular themes on the show has been love connections. Harvey has helped a son set up his mom on a date, and helped a mom set up her daughter, but he's also played matchmaker for Hoda Kotb (“Today”), Porsha Stewart (“Real Housewives of Atlanta”) and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (“Real Housewives of New York City”).
While talk shows have been known to book celebrity guests to improve low ratings, including Kathy Griffin's now-canceled Bravo show “Kathy,” ratings don't seem to be an issue for “Steve Harvey.” The show was renewed for two more seasons in June. Still, that doesn't mean the show is above booking stars who will bring in viewers. Case in point: Honey Boo Boo. When I told Harvey I was surprised the young reality TV star appeared on his show, he said I wasn't alone.
“You? You're not more surprised than me. That was the most surprising interview I've ever done. I don't know anybody like that,” Harvey said. “I didn't know Honey Boo Boo was as popular as she was. We got a huge number on that show.”
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