“We are big believers in trying new concepts and excited to once again be collaborating with our friends at Fox. We have come to know Jerry as a true talent whose infectious charisma and authenticity have made him a favorite of many daytime talk show fans, and we are so glad to provide him with this opportunity to shine,” said Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus in a statement.
“I’m always willing to give a fellow NY Jets fan a shot,” said Frank Cicha, executive vice president of programming for Fox Television Stations, also in a statement.
The show is the latest in a long-running unofficial partnership between Fox and Debmar-Mercury to test shows before taking them into national syndication. The model started with Tyler Perry’s House of Payne in 2007, which aired on TBS and Fox owned stations, and has extended through many shows, including The Wendy Williams Show, now in its 10th season in national syndication.
O’Connell has been working in daytime for years, frequently guest-hosting for the likes of Michael Strahan on Live with Kelly and Michael and sitting in for Williams when she was recently out on medical leave. He was a final contender to get the permanent seat next to Kelly Ripa on Live, which is now filled by Ryan Seacrest.
“I love daytime. I love watching it and have fallen in love with guest-hosting it,” said O’Connell in statement. “Whether asking people to 'Cash Me Outside' or asking them 'How You Doin?', daytime is a big part of my life.
“I am thrilled to work with my friends at both Debmar-Mercury and Funny Or Die. I have been collaborating with both companies for years and am so excited to bring a little bit of the traditional – and something brand new – to the audience. This is going to be a fun, fun time and everyone is invited. Let’s party.”
O’Connell got his start as a child actor, co-starring as Vern Tessio in the movie Stand by Me at the age of 11. He later played heavily recruited star college quarterback Frank Cushman in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire. Most recently, he starred in WGN’s Carter and The Death of Superman, alongside his wife, Rebecca Romijn.
He’s also appeared in such movies as Scream 2, Can’t Hardly Wait, Mission to Mars, Tomcats and more, and been seen on such TV series as Scream Queens, Mistresses and Billions.