Ricki Lake Wants to Be Your Girlfriend AgainTalk host returns with new plan to stand out in a big crowd 1/16/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
After an eight-year hiatus, Ricki Lake
is returning to daytime, courtesy of Twentieth
Lake started talking on TV at the surprisingly young
age of 24 and basically grew up on television, going
through a marriage, the births of two sons and a
divorce, all while chatting with viewers five days a
week. That earlier Ricki was more willing to do what
she was told; the new Ricki has a definitive point of
view she wants to bring to audiences.
This Ricki is 43—something she is willing to tell you,
which already sets her apart from most women in Hollywood—
and she’s about to get married for a second
time, to jewelry designer Christian Evans (the wedding
will not be televised). She has two children, Milo, 14,
and Owen, 10, with former husband Rob Sussman.
The new Ricki Lake will premiere this fall, one of
four new talk shows launching into a crowded field.
But Lake is keeping the focus on her own program as
she preps her premiere. She took some time during
a photo shoot to chat with B&C contributing editor
Paige Albiniak about what she has planned for fall.
Why do you want to come back to daytime?
I was 23 when I did the pilot for my talk show. I am
so proud of it, but I was cast into that show. I was one
of 100 women they met with about doing the job. The
show I’m working on now was created with me. I’m a
full collaborator. And who I am at 43 is very different
than who I was at 23.
I am someone who considers myself to be an open
book. I’ve always been candid about my hardships.
I’m the Everywoman, someone who’s had a lot of experiences
and great successes. I’m trying to figure out
how to raise my children, deal with my blended family
and all of these issues that pertain to everyone. I want
to have a relatable conversation every day that’s very
inclusive, providing a platform for both experts and
I want to do a show like the show Oprah did before
she became this guru who told everyone what book to
read and what to do to improve your life. I did Oprah’s
show last year, and the audience was separated from her.
She was this billionaire that everyone aspired to be like.
The show that we envision doing is not on now. The
way I really see it is the way Oprah used to be 10 years
ago, when it felt like she could be your neighbor. This
is the new, upgraded, evolved Ricki Lake. I’ll be in the
audience, and I’ll be one of the people. I’m a viewer
first and foremost.
Will you have celebrities on your show?
When I’m a guest on someone’s show, it always feels
very inauthentic. I want to have high-profile people on
talking about things they are passionate about. I want
it to be more about things that matter to them and less
about a PR stop. I love Ellen [DeGeneres], I love that
show, but this won’t be Ellen.
The daytime TV environment has changed a lot
since you were on every day. Are you worried
at all about what you are facing?
I’m really happy with the clearances that we have. We
are close to 90% of the country. Doing Dancing With
the Stars was a great way for everyone to see me again.
And the support I have from [Twentieth Television]
has been great. Twentieth went after me hardcore.
Since I left the air in 2004, I’ve always had companies
coming up to me and saying, ‘We want you to
come back to daytime,’ but it never felt like the right
fit, right concept or right time. This seems to be the
right time. Twentieth is committing a huge amount of
resources and time. They really wanted me and only
me, and they understood where I’m at in my life. This
is as good a shot as we could possibly have. Hopefully
it will work the way I believe it will.
You are returning to daytime at the most competitive
time for talk shows that we’ve seen in
years. Does that worry you at all?
I’m not going to focus on the competition. I’m going
to be myself and do the show that I envision. I believe
that the people who grew up with me, the people who
are now dealing with whether to stay in their unhappy
marriage, whether to take that job or have more
kids—all the choices we all have to make—they are
all going to feel like they have someone who is going
through it all with them.