Last month, news came down that The Nanny star Fran Drescher was prepping to launch her own daytime talk show, The Fran Drescher Talk Show. And now, the time has come! The Fran Drescher Tawk Show will premiere this Friday, Nov. 26 — the day after Thanksgiving — for a trial, three-week run in six cities across the country. You’ll find her gabbing away in New York, Los Angeles, Phildelphia, Phoenix, Minneapolis, and Orlando. (Detailed tune-in information is after the Q&A.) Tawk Show will be filmed before a live studio audience and, according to Drescher, will cover everything from politics to culture to “a little bit of everything.” You’ve been warned: If this three-week trial run is successful, Fran could be coming to you live everyday, come fall 2011. Is she the next Oprah? Maybe. Here, we caught up with Drescher so she could give us the scoop on her forthcoming show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why do a talk show now? The space is, as always, rather crowded.
FRAN DRESCHER: First of all, there’s a lot of talk shows that are going away in the forthcoming months and so there’s more room on daytime. I like climbing new mountains, and I think that this is going to be a wonderful opportunity for me to share my passions about so many things with the audience and let them get to know who I really am and what I’m about and share with them the things that are important to me. And I want to inspire women, and I want it to be a smart show, something that is going to stimulate me intellectually, as well as entertain. I think it’s gonna be a really wonderful way to spend an hour of your day.
Everyone knows you as the Nanny. Who is the Fran that you claim people don’t know?
I’m a two-time New York Times best-selling author; I am a public diplomacy envoy for women’s health issues with the U.S. State Department — I just got back from South Africa, next I’m going to go to Haiti; I am president and visionary of the Cancer Schmancer movement, dedicated to early detection, education, and policy change; I was successful in getting a bill passed in Washington that got turned into law by unanimous consent; I’ve been written up twice in the Congressional record; I’m a cancer survivor; I’m a survivor of violent crime; I’ve been married; I’ve been divorced divorced; I’ve had a full life. I want to use the talk show as a platform to not only talk about things that I think are pertinent to people in general but also to be a unifier and punctuate the commonalities that women, in particular, have in common. I think a lot of television has been very divisive and polarizing, and that should not be happening. I have many platforms that I want to bring to attention — issues about education, children’s issues, women’s issues, art, culture, and music.
It sounds like it’ll be more of a positive spin on things. Is that the case?
I’m gonna sure try. I’m gonna try. I wanna be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
What about the format? Is it going to be a monologue, interviews, guests, musical segments, what?
It’s gonna be a little bit of everything, I’m gonna come out and do a monologue. I’ll do a little Q&A. I’ll have my Fran Brand. I’m gonna have family and friends as peripheral characters and guests. I wanna have experts on. I wanna make the audience laugh and cry and grow and be moved and inspired.
Who are your dream guests? Who are booked for your first week?
I think that I have to be realistic. It’s a test in seven major markets, so I don’t know actually who I’m gonna get besides my friends. Like the Aykroyd and Rosie O’Donnell and people like that. I’ve reached out to Kim Cattrall — I’m gonna just be going along those lines. My friend Maura Tierney, who’s a recent cancer survivor; my friend, the photographer Roxanne Lowit, who has a big coffee table book out now all about backstage at the Dior fashion show. I’m really more interested in speaking to people who have something to say, who have a point of view, who are doing something for the greater good than just have some big name on that’s just going to hawk their latest film — although they’re welcome to do that. But if they have nothing to say and they don’t have a point of view, then I think that they’re wasting their celebrity.
You’re a known, vocal Democrat. How political will the show be?
We’re not gonna be afraid to get into politics, but I don’t want the show to be an immediate thing. I want it to be more global and discuss more about how to get people motivated to be more civic-minded and to realize that the government is of the people and by the people. I’m gonna have a segment called “There Oughta be a Law.” I want people to submit suggestions of things that they think oughta be a law, and if it’s something that seems interesting to the nation, I’ll make it a segment and get experts to discuss it on both sides if there is a controversy about it. There are things that I also feel strongly about, which is not denying anybody their civil liberties, and I’ve been very outspoken about marriage equality and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and I would like to do a show that not only speaks to that but also incorporates other minorities that have been ostracized, including women.
What talk shows do you watch? Or other shows you love?
I watch Charlie Rose religiously. I think that if there’s anybody that’s interesting to talk about, to talk with, to conversate with, he usually has them on his show. So I eventually get to see everybody. I love CBS Sunday Morning, love that show. And I do talent contest-type shows like American Idol. [Laughs]
Here’s where you can catch The Fran Drescher Tawk Show for three weeks, beginning Friday, Nov. 26:
New York: WNYW Fox 5, 12 p.m.
Los Angeles: KTTV Fox 11, 2 p.m.
Philadelphia: KTXF Fox 29, 12 p.m.
Phoenix: KSAZ Fox 10, 1 p.m.
Minneapolis: KMSP Fox 9, 1 p.m.
Orlando: WOFL Fox 35, 11 a.m.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky