Entertainment

Jennifer Hudson plans to ‘shake things up’ with new daytime talk show this fall


Two decades after her “American Idol” outing, Grammy and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson is returning to television this fall to host “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” a one-hour, syndicated daytime talk show on Fox TV stations.

“I have experienced so much in my life; I’ve seen the highest of the highs, the lowest of the lows, and just about everything in between but as my mother always told me, ‘Once you think you’ve seen it all, just keep on living,’” the much-loved “American Idol” winner and “The Voice” coach said in a statement.

“People from around the world have been a part of my journey from the beginning — 20 years ago — and I’m so ready to join their journey as we sit down and talk about the things that inspire and move us all,” Hudson, 40, added.

“I have always loved people and I cannot wait to connect on a deeper level and let audiences see the different sides of who I am, the human being, in return. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to do it alongside this incredible team. We’re about to have a lot of fun and shake things up a little bit!”

It’s a big week for the star, who also won the top honor of entertainer of the year at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards, which highlights works by entertainers and writers of color. Hudson memorably stepped in to sing a tribute to late music titan Whitney Houston at the 2012 Grammy Awards and was hand-selected by Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin to play her in last year’s biopic “Respect” after she saw Hudson’s Oscar-winning turn in 2006’s “Dreamgirls.”

The “lowest of lows” Hudson referred to in her initial statement likely includes the family tragedy involving the slaying of her mother, brother and nephew in a 2008 home invasion.

“The Jennifer Hudson Show” will be produced in Los Angeles by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television and Telepictures.

Telepictures produced the outgoing “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and that show’s executive producers Andy Lassner and Mary Connelly were showrunners on Hudson’s test show, which she shot last fall on DeGeneres’ stage, according to Variety. Warner Bros. has shopped Hudson’s program to several station groups since, and Fox won the bid.

The show also unites the powerhouse singer with Mike Darnell, the president of unscripted and alternative television at Warner Bros. Before that, Darnell oversaw the “American Idol” franchise at Fox when Hudson was a finalist on Season 3 in 2004 and launched her multi-hyphenate career.

“I knew that Jennifer was a force to be reckoned with from the moment I met her nearly 20 years ago,” Darnell said in a statement. “From her Grammy-winning career in music, to her Oscar-winning acting career, Jennifer’s amazing talent, big heart and authenticity shine through in everything she does. I am thrilled to be working with her in this new role. She’s a natural, and I know audiences will embrace her in their homes every day.”

They seem to have a lot riding on Hudson too. Recognizing that the TV syndication business is going through a sea change with the emergence and dominance of streamers, Fox TV’s executive vice-president of programming, Frank Cicha, described Hudson as a “power player” who will reenergize talk shows by building a brand that drives audiences.

Hudson’s show will be carried by buyer Fox TV stations and will also launch on Heart Television, along with additional station groups representing more than 60% of the country, Warner Bros. TV said.




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