Sony Pictures Television’s The Queen Latifah Show is ready to launch on September 16.
Star Latifah opened a session with reporters and critics on Wednesday with a mini song and dance number from her Oscar-winning musical, Chicago, complete with back-up dancers and custom lyrics. After that, she and executive producers Jada Pinkett-Smith and Corin Nelson settled on the couch to address reporters from the show’s golden-hued set, located on the Sony lot, with letter Qs seamlessly blending in on the floor, the walls and a screen in front of a dramatic staircase.
“I see this as the home for all of the experiences I’ve gathered throughout the year,” said Latifah. “Did I expect to be doing this two years ago? No. But this is where I’m supposed to be. I see myself doing this for the next 10 years and beyond.”
“Queen Latifah will be a multi-topic talk variety show with real storytelling, incredible field pieces and surprises that people are not expecting,” said Nelson. “There also will be comedy woven throughout the show.”
Queen Latifah is cleared on CBS-owned stations in top markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Each day the show will have a different opening, said Latifah, unlike Ellen, who opens her show every day with a dance and a monologue, or Wendy Williams, who spends the first 20 minutes or so of her show talking about the pop-culture news of the day.
“We want a really spontaneous show,” said Nelson. “We’ll have a road map with a loose structure. Every show will be shot live to tape and then air two days later.”
Queen Latifah will include lots of elements that daytime audiences are already familiar with: celebrity interviews, field pieces with real people and musical guests two or three times a week, said co-executive producer Todd Yasui.
In fact, music was the subject that got both Latifah and Pinkett-Smith the most revved up while addressing critics and reporters. When asked what acts they would like to have on, both women started firing off names: “John Legend.” “Toby Keith.” “Pink.” Gaga.” “Jay-Z.”
“Willow said she would like to come and support Aunt Latifah,” said Pinkett-Smith, referring to her daughter, who had a pop hit, “Whip My Hair” in 2010, and this summer has a new song out, “Summer Fling.”
“Oh, and Beyonce. If Beyonce comes on she can fly from the ceiling if she wants,” Latifah joked.
If Beyonce wanted to fly on a talk-show set, Queen Latifah’s would be a good place to do it.
“Larger than my first apartment,” as one critic put it, the set was designed by Lenny Kravitz’ design firm and Kravitz himself has visited and signed off on it.
“We wanted to create a set that felt like Latifah’s home,” said Pinkett-Smith.
“Our host is a 360-degree entertainer,” said Nelson. “Everywhere you look is something beautiful for your eye to land on.”
Asked if she wanted to emulate another queen - Oprah Winfrey, the queen of daytime - Latifah said, “There is no such thing as the next Oprah. She accomplished great things. I would love to be able to accomplish some of those things.”