Smith believes Latifah will appeal to any audience that sees her show.
“When we did the research on her, she is across the board — from 3 to 80, women, men, kids — she is extremely likable. … I couldn’t think of anyone else that could win in this space besides Latifah.”
—• Bethenny, beginning Monday: Bethenny Frankel wants to assure you that rumors about her being difficult are untrue.
“The honest truth is, I’m nice to everybody,” Frankel says when asked about rumors of behind-the-scenes strife at her upcoming talk show. “We have a lot of fun, and we’re definitely respectful, but it isn’t a party. I mean, actually, it is sometimes a party.”
Frankel is a variety show in herself. A former member of the Real Housewives of New York, veteran of the Martha Stewart edition of The Apprentice, inventor of Skinnygirl Cocktails and self-help author, she starred in her own Bravo reality show, getting married and giving birth to her daughter on a series with her name in the title.
Next up is a daytime talk show. (That and a divorce, which is ongoing.) Bethenny got a test run last June, and it was successful enough to go national in 98 percent of the country this fall.
The new version of the show will be essentially the same, Frankel says.
“I want it still to be organically me, and true to me. But there are some things I thought didn’t work.”
For example? “We came out of the gate and there was a lot of sex. There will be sex on the show, because I think it’s something that women are going through, and whether they’re having it or not having it. But there’s so much more to mention.”
Women are trying start businesses, deal with working-mom guilt, “balance their lives, get a good night’s sleep, look good, be there for their husbands, or meet a guy, just keep it together,” she says. The show is “going to have its shallow moments … but it is definitely going to have a lot of depth.”
Frankel can be a polarizing figure, but fans are devoted to her, as crowded public events show.
“I found out throughout this journey that women just feel they can tell me anything,” she says. “I’m pretty open, and I reveal a lot about myself. I’ve gone through a lot of different things, and I am going through a lot of things right now, and I’m pretty honest about what those things are.”
She calls the show “kind of a safe place. It’s sort of like a girls’ night out meets group therapy. And it’s not really just about me, it’s about us. Through my whole career it’s been more about me, and I’d rather this be just a conversation.”