Queen Latifah gives the low down

Says she hopes to share inspiring stories with viewers

D. Kevin McNeir | 9/19/2013, 9 a.m.
It’s not easy being a talk show host. Just ask Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Tavis Smiley or Ricki Lake

It’s not easy being a talk show host. Just ask Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Tavis Smiley or Ricki Lake — each of them has tried and failed. Of course, the indomitable Oprah Winfrey was able to establish herself as the undisputed “queen of the talk show.” But since her departure from daytime television, we have not only seen more choices, including cable, but there has been a decline in daytime viewing. Meanwhile, long-running shows like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Dr. Phil,” occupy the most desired stations and time slots — making it tough to newcomers to break through.

Now along comes Queen Latifah, who has had amazing success in Hollywood in recent years and has, by all accounts, evolved into a one-woman entertainment conglomerate. In her early days, the “Queen” showed her acting brilliance in the highly-successful TV series, “Living Single” and made her film debut in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever.” Now, after one successful venture after another, garnering six Grammy nominations, owning and operating her own production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, which is now based in Miami, and being hailed as one of music’s most well-respected rappers, Latifah wants to be a talk show diva.

Guests will be ‘fun and fascinating’

“The Queen Latifah Show,” which debuted last Monday, will have its share of big time celebrities, including John Travolta, Jamie Foxx and Will Smith — who also serves as one of the show’s producers. But favorites of the paparazzi won’t be the only ones you’ll see on her couch.

“My show is going to be an entertaining and eclectic mix of interviews with real people as well as celebrities — people who are fun and fascinating,” she said. “It will be a program you can tune into to feel good every day. I also think it will inspire people who watch it. I know I’ve certainly been inspired by a lot of the stories we plan to share.”

Always the innovator, Latifah’s set has been designed by Lenny Kravitz and his team of designers and will sport “unusual textures, classic compositions and bold architectural features.”

And for advice on how to succeed, she says, “I’ve turned to a few friends who have done it, including Ellen, Oprah and Jimmy Fallon and they’ve all been terrifically helpful and encouraging.”

When asked to describe the show, she refers to it as “fun, inspirational and authentic.”

“I am nervous because it is always overwhelming to start something new,” she said. “But I am excited to hear people’s stories and to share in their journeys.”