King World Productions
With King World launching Ananda, a talk show hosted by an African-American female, comparisons to Oprah
will be inevitable.
"To me, that's so far from an insult," insists Ananda Lewis, BET and MTV talent turned star of King World's fall 2001 effort. "Oprah is amazing.it's a huge compliment just to be put in the same sentence with her."
Fresh from a range of talk experiences-from interviewing Hillary Rodham Clinton (which won her an NAACP Image Award) to chatting with MTV 'it'group Destiny's Child
-Lewis plans to incorporate a mix of serious and fun issues into her hour-long, single-topic show. She also promises a broad mix that should appeal to audiences in a number of demographic groups.
Lewis may succeed where many have not because "she's done 600 hours of talk on two different networks," says King World chief Roger King. "When we tried to take out a motion picture star or television star, they couldn't make it because we were asking them to do something that they hadn't done."
King is genuinely impressed by Lewis. "I think we have something that happens once every five years," he notes.
Mary Duffy, a senior executive producer on Ananda, who has held similar positions with talkers Sally
and Montel Williams,
adds, "This isn't just going to be 'who's the baby's father?' The mission of the show is to get talk back on track. We want to bring a positive, upbeat feeling to the genre again."
Studio/Distributor: King World
Debut: Fall 2001