Robin Quivers Has Issues
Howard Stern's sidekick wants her TV show to be serious fun
By Jim Finkle -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/16/2005 7:00:00 PM
Best-known as the feisty sidekick of radio shock-jock Howard Stern, Robin Ophelia Quivers is ready for her close-up. After a quarter-century with Stern, Quivers, 52, is embarking on a new challenge. She is set to host Sony's The Robin Quivers Show, one of four new chat shows syndicators are pitching for next season. The plan calls for her to keep her daily gig with Stern, then walk a few New York City blocks to a television studio. There, she will film her new show in front of a live audience. Quivers, a former Air Force nurse who rose to the rank of captain, began in radio in 1980. A year later, she hooked up with Stern and has been in the business ever since. Quivers spoke with B&C's Jim Finkle about how she hopes to click with female viewers, what she has learned from radio's king of all bad boys and her desire to make a difference.
What is your new show about?
It's a multi-topic strip. In-studio guests will discuss issues that are relevant to women: family, current events. It's time to have some fun in daytime, without necessarily poking fun at people.
That is a broader mix than your typical daytime talk show.
When I'm out with my girlfriends, we talk about real stuff. How our relationships are going, what it's like raising our children, what are the real issues facing the nation today. I want to talk about all of those issues. I don't see any show out there that's doing it.
Will you have people from dysfunctional families airing their dirty laundry?
If I have to have an expert in my house telling me how to do something, then I'm not going to do it well. But if I see somebody like me, with a similar problem, who figured out how to [solve it], then maybe I can get off my butt and do something about it, too. I don't think you learn anything by watching people who don't do things right.
What about the tone of the show?
I want to have a lot of fun. There is this attitude that life is a struggle and that women have a tough time. I want to shift away from that. I want to celebrate the advances we've made as women and the wide-open future there is for us. We're women, and we have a lot to celebrate. We have a lot to rejoice in.
Many women complain that The Howard Stern Show is misogynistic.
That is coming from an old mind-set. Whatever is happening to women, then women are being used and exploited. The women who participate in our show have asked to participate. They want to do it. We can't all do the same things and have the same experiences. There are women who want to celebrate their sexuality in a fun and wacky way. And that's what they're doing.
Will there be celebrities on your show?
There could be. I don't want to just do the “I'm out promoting a movie” interview. Those can be OK, as long as you get the person to talk about something else. I also want to discover new people, to find the people who are going to be tomorrow's stars.
What kind of talent?
All kinds. Finding young fashion designers, musicians, comedians, artists. People from all walks of life.
How are stations reacting to the show? Is it selling?
I'm leaving the selling to somebody else. I'm the person involved in the programming. I think Sony wouldn't be in business with me if they thought I was a person who couldn't be sold.
There must be a lot of pressure to make this a success.
What you do is: you put out the best product possible. I talk to people every day, and I talk to them personally. I think I'm a fun person to be around. I'm entertaining, and people like to hang out with me. That's what you need to make a successful TV show.
What does Howard say about this?
He's all for it. He's excited for me, and he's chomping at the bit to see how it goes.
If this takes off, will you eventually quit radio?
As long as I'm having fun, I don't see any need to stop. In fact, I also want to do other things, like acting.
Are you worried about censorship and the content that got Howard Stern in trouble with the FCC?
I'm an entertainer. All we've been attempting to do is entertain people as they head to work. People can listen to whatever they want. But when people investigate the situation, they find out there's only one or two complaints. When people get to know me, they'll find themselves very comfortable with me. Also, we're going to another format. You're talking about The Robin Quivers Show. That's a completely different animal, so I don't think it will be an issue, unless we get to the point where no topics can be discussed under any circumstances.
Can you give some specific examples of topics you'll cover on the show?
It will be about things that hit really close to home. I've found that many new mothers don't have the support of an extended family that once existed. When you bring home that first baby, it's a completely frightening experience. We will have segments where we educate people about the different markers of childhood—from infancy to the child going off to school. I also want to take people through the first year of marriage. To bring people together to talk about what relationships are like, the kinds of issues you face. Then there are the everyday news stories. We are going to talk about current events and pop culture.
What do you want station managers to know about you? What will you tell them at the Las Vegas NATPE show Jan. 25?
That I'm extremely excited, looking forward to the hard work of pulling together the best possible product. We're committed to making it the kind of show that people will find informative and fun. This has been a lifelong dream. It's the reason I got into broadcasting. It just took me a while to do it.
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