Tag Archives: Marie Osmond

Which of This Year’s New Crop of Talk Shows Has Staying Power?

            Five — count ‘em — five new talk shows are competing for viewer attention this season – the second wave of the “Who ever can replace Oprah?” quest for the grail that began last year.  This week, Steve Harvey launched his new NBC show.  September 10 will bring the launches of Katie Couric’s, Ricki Lake’s and Jeff Probst’s chat fests.  And come Oct. 1, the Hallmark Channel will bring us Marie Osmond.   Of last year’s crop of newbies, Anderson Cooper is still standing tall — while the likes of “The Revolution” are long gone.  Who’ll still be among the chat show luminaries next year?  Here’s a handicapper to help you figure out where to place your bets.

Harvey has made it clear he’s going to make the most of his comedic gifts to bring the funny to his program, which will feature everyday people and focus on relationships.  Never underestimate funny, especially from a comedian sharpened by years of live radio shows.

Couric’s background in news will play into her syndicated show.  “The marketing department of ABC came up with ‘smart with heart,’ which I actually thought was a great kind of description of what I would ideally like the show to be,” she told TV critics this summer.  Despite talk about the wide range of topics she’d like to cover, indications are that she’s going for the tried-and-true: Big Gets.  She’s already lined up Barbra Streisand, “Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L. James, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson and Heidi Klum.  (Just in time to answer that embarrassing comment Seal made about Heidi “fornicating with the help” prior to the breakup of their marriage!  Katie’s off and running!)

You might expect some adventure with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst’s talk show on CBS, and so there will be – in a way.  “The overall idea of the show is saying yes to the adventures in your life,” he explained.  “And I don’t mean climbing a mountain.  I mean being married, being a parent, dating, friendships.  It’s the courage to kiss somebody before you are ready, or move across the country for a new job, home, school.  At the end of a life, this really is what defines our life, those adventures.  And that’s the idea behind the show, and we will talk about that all the time.”  Probst’s wife, who works on the show, will be around to add her two cents.  Oh, and there’s a party room that’s kind of like a green room for the entire audience where they can even have their hair and makeup done to be TV-ready.  How that figures into the adventure, we’re not sure, but it’s different.

Ricki Lake, meanwhile, is taking aim at social media, endeavoring to get viewers involved what she hopes will be her second successful talk show.  The chat maven who had her first show as a wunderkind in her twenties is now middle-aged, but forward-thinking still.  She has been inviting viewers-to-be to join in production meetings on Facebook since March.  She’s also all over Twitter.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s Marie Osmond, back on the scene.  With “Marie,” Hallmark tells us, “she may finally be growing into a role that fits her better than any other.  Here, after all, is a woman who has not only known great fame but also great tragedy.”  Indeed, the singer has battled depression, lost a child through suicide, gone through divorce and more, but keeps showing an amazing resilience.  Overcoming life’s woes will no doubt be among the themes.  Osmond will have everyday people as well as celebrity guests including members of her family, and there are plenty of those.  And let’s not forget, Mormons are hot this fall.

Interestingly, Cooper’s show is getting its second season launch Sept. 10, too – now called “Anderson Live,” with such new touches as rotating guest hosts and more live elements, including real-time feedback via Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler.

Who will you watch?

John Schneider’s Heartbreak

John Schneider

John Schneider’s heart goes out to his Children’s Miracle Network cofounder Marie Osmond on the loss of her son – perhaps even more than she’s been aware.   He has a heartbreak of his own. His nephew was killed two years ago, something he hasn’t talked about until now.

Although their contact has been limited to emails in the wake of the suicide of her 18-year-old son, Michael Blosil, in late February, Schneider says he did bump into her ex-husband, Bryan Blosil, Michael’s father.

“Being a dad myself, my first thought was ‘Oh, my God.  How is he taking it?’  Not just the loss of a child, but a loss in that way – such a tragic, tragic thing.

“This seems to be happening so much these days.  How many kids, teenaged people, have we lost through suicides in the last 356 days – in the spotlight and not in the spotlight?  Obviously it tells us how much kids are going through now,” notes Schneider, whose CMN has reportedly provided more than $3.2 billion in funding for children’s hospitals, medical research and community awareness of children’s health issues since its inception in 1983.

“With teenagers, there’s always something going on and it’s good to remember, don’t take it lightly.  I tell my kids now, ‘Look, if you get yourself into a place, for whatever reason, that you don’t think you have anyone to talk to, you can always talk to me.  Sex, drugs, guns — anything.  You will not shock me.  I am here for you no matter what.’”

Schneider has three children — daughters Leah and Karis, and son Chasen and he and his wife Elly brought their teenaged nephew Andre into their home and family around six years ago.  He told us at the time that Andre “had been raised in several difficult situations, and we wanted to give him a better opportunity.  He was not unloved, he was just untethered, so we stepped in, and we’ve got him now.”

When asked how Andre is doing, Schneider is suddenly quiet.  When he speaks again, he is clearly emotional.

“He went back to Tucson and got in with a bad crowd.  He was a good kid, but got with the wrong people, and he died at 21.  It was — an incredible waste.”

Asked about the circumstances, he replies, “His life was taken on purpose.  It was two years ago.”  And he adds, “My daughter still wears his ring around her neck.”

Schneider hasn’t spoken about Andre’s passing until now, but feels it’s just as well that it comes out at this point.

He stresses that he aims to stay close to his kids – all of whom are involved in show business.  Chase is familiar to fans of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” on which Schneider used to costar, as Joe, that opportunistic whiz kid who sells schoolwork.

“I texted my son this morning,” notes Schneider.  “He had a big test today.  ‘Hey buddy — ace that thing.’”

Chase’s success is all the more noteworthy as he’s dealt with challenges related to Aspberger syndrome.

His daughters are also doing well.  “They’re all big now.  They’re a terrific bunch,” he says.

Schneider has been extra busy with his professional life of late.  The Spike TV special he executive produced, “Crash Test: Real Wrecks, Real Stakes” – showing how expert stunt drivers re-enact spectacular car crashes for court cases – is airing tonight  (4/27) and he has appearances coming up on “Leverage,” TV Land’s New “Hot in Cleveland” (with Betty White), his ongoing “90210” character and possible new Spike comedy series, “The Back 9.”

No matter how busy he gets, however, “I want my kids to know I’m there for them, waiting to catch them if they screw up, need an arm to hit or just be there to talk.”