With Steve Harvey and Michael Strahan both scoring new daytime TV hosting gigs, it seems America has placed a wanted ad on the dating sites and is desperately seeking a black man over 6 feet tall who is charming, smart, and has a great sense of humor.
Steve Harvey’s eponymous new daytime talk show just premiered, and of course he kicked it off with the topic of relationships. His surprise best-selling book (surprise to me anyway) with the outrageously patriarchal title Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, shot to the top of every chart, he got a box-office smashing movie out of it, a couple follow-up books and he appeared on many shows from Oprah to Ellen Degeneres hawking his three-times-married relationship advice. His new daytime talk show is like a black male version of the Tyra Banks Show, but with a lot more intentional humor.
There will probably never be anything too ratchet (no fisticuffs a la Jerry Springer or not-the-baby-daddy dances a la Maury Povich), but it looks like Harvey will have some interesting topics du jour. Breaking up via text, parents who over-share on social media, and a dancing robot rounded out Harvey’s first show and true to form he was pulling faces, tossing out one-liners and doling out joke-ridden advice. From the premiere and the clips of upcoming shows, it’s clear that Harvey’s show is aiming for a diverse audience in terms of race, age and culture.
Harvey is the latest in what might be a trend in black men doing feel-good daytime television. Former NFL player Michael Strahan was just named co-host of Live! With Kelly, a show that began life over 20 years ago as Live! With Regis and Kathy Lee. For years we had several black men in daytime slots, including Montel Williams, Bryant Gumbel, and five-time Emmy Award winner Wayne Brady. All of those men enjoyed critical acclaim and, to varying degrees, popularity.
Today, the game has changed. With the advent of things like DVRs and Netflix, being on daytime television no longer means being locked in to the student and housewife demographics. You can watch pretty much anything online whenever you want and they even toss in commercials, so no loss with ad dollars either. Harvey in particular is well-suited to seek and engage his fans, as his brand machine has proven to be in top form with the success of his Hoodie Awards, books, movies, radio shows and tours. Expect to see tons of cross promotion for his various businesses.
Daytime television in particular seeks those with a safe, trusty, squeaky clean, Oprah-ish image. The fact that black men (who still fight the scary, oversexed black guy image on a regular basis) are getting back into the daytime slot is a good thing. Surely, we’ll be inundated with wacky relationship advice from Harvey and lots of cooking segments and celeb interviews with Strahan. This is not Nobel Peace Prize-winning work, but it is entertaining and both men are in a position to stay in it for the long haul.
Will you be tuning in? What black men would you like to see with a daytime hosting gig?
Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope.