The hosts and executive producer of ABC’s new daytime talk show The Chew defended their show to critics at TCA Sunday who questioned if disgruntled viewers would sample a show that is replacing long-running soaps All My Children and One Life to Live.
“I understand completely how those viewers feel,” executive producer Gordon Elliott said of soap fans. “But I don’t control the process that made that change. I hope they give us a break. If they don’t like it, I can’t control that.”
Elliott also mentioned that now that it looks like the cancelled soaps may continue to live online, viewers could watch both shows. He said The Chew has been picked up for 220 episodes at this point.
The Chew co-host Clinton Kelly (of TLC’s What Not To Wear, which he will continue to host) offered another tune-in reason, saying that people are attached to soap operas because they feel the characters are like their friends.
“We’re welcoming people to come be a part of this group of friends,” Kelly said of the five co-hosts. “We can’t be soap operas to you but we can be a group of people to hang out with.”
Elliott also volunteered what he sees as points of distinction for The Chew in the crowded TV food space that already includes two dedicated channels on cable (The Food Network and Cooking Channel).
He said The Chew will look to focus on cooking for a family, an element that he sees as missing in the current crop of lifestyle programming. Shows will focus on meals that are quick and easy to make and help viewers make healthier choices for less.
“The overarching theme is bringing families back to the table,” Elliott said.