Harry Connick, Jr. has promised that his new daytime talk show will be “like a party in the middle of the day,” with neither the guests, the crew, nor even Harry himself knowing what’s going to happen next.
As the L.A. Times reports, when Connick and Universal first started talking about his new daytime talk show, simply entitled “Harry,” he made it clear from the get-go that he wanted the show to be as unstructured as possible.
“I said, ‘I want to have it completely unstructured.'”
Harry Connick Jr. Gets his own TV’s talk show…he can talk pic.twitter.com/i8MoQfs014
— Marty Whelan (@martylyricfm) September 12, 2016
And he wasn’t kidding, either: he’s since told the crew to be ready to take an unscheduled trip across the street to Starbucks, for example. And if there are technical problems — like, for example, a light breaks on-set — Harry hopes to turn it into a bit.
In another departure from the traditional daytime talk show format, Harry plans to ditch the traditional monologue — sometimes, anyway — in favor of a guest monologue. In an interview with the L.A. Times, Connick said that fans should be on the lookout for a LeBron-o-logue, where LeBron James will come out and deliver the opening jokes to the crowd.
It’s a risky move that has Ted Harbert, chairman of NBC Broadcasting, (which owns the syndication rights to Harry), excited.
“It’s amazing to watch him with a studio audience; they go crazy with this guy. It’s a very loose format. If he wants to go out during a segment and talk to someone, he will.”
In other ways, however, Harry will be a lot like traditional daytime talk shows. For example, expect traditional bits like Halloween costume ideas and frank discussion about the difficulties of marriage. There will also be the traditional celebrity interviews and musical acts (undoubtedly a few songs by Harry himself).
— Mallory Sofastaii (@MalloryABC2) September 12, 2016
And, taking a page from Ellen DeGeneres’ playbook, Connick plans to include regular people in his show — people, for example, who are going through times and could use some help.
“Somebody that may be working two jobs or is a single mom, somebody that’s struggling. Don’t tell them it’s me coming, so when I show up they’re surprised. I show up and say, ‘What do you do?’ So I say, ‘Look, I’m going to take care of everything you do and we’re going to send you off to a spa or something and just give you a little bit of a break.'”
Connick has been touring around the country preparing for his new talk show, and already, he says, he’s filmed ten segments that involve surprising ordinary people.
In fact, says USA Today, expect Harry to be long on human-interest stories, like Ellen. In one segment that’s already been filmed, Connick sat down with a New Jersey elementary school teacher whose encouraging message to students went viral. In the bit, three of the teacher’s students join her on stage. In another bit, Harry tracks down a woman who not only shares his birthday (September 11, 1967, to be exact), but shared crib space in the same New Orleans maternity ward where he was born.
Harry enters a daytime TV landscape dotted with the graves of failed talk shows. In just the last few seasons, Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah, Katie Couric, and Meredith Vieira have all tried — and failed — to connect with viewers in the daytime slot.
For Harry, it doesn’t matter if his show fails. What matters to him is giving it his best shot, and having fun while it lasted.
“The way I look at it is, you do something wholeheartedly with as much effort as you can and do it passionately. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you move on to the next thing.”
Harry Connick Jr.’s new talk show, Harry, is in syndication; check local listings for time and channel.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]