August 07, 2011 1:47pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
Hosts And Producer of 'The Chew' Defend Show
BEVERLY HILLS -- The hosts and producer of The Chew – one of ABC’s new daytime shows that will inherit a slot of from cancelled soaps All My Children and One Life to Live – spent considerable time during their panel at the Television Critics Association press tour defending their show.
“We hope that [soap fans] enjoy our show,” said executive producer Gordon Elliott. “We were asked to come and join the daytime lineup because the daytime tastes have changed. Really we’re just [filling] a need that was already there. We would love the soap fans to share a little bit of us.”
“People tune in to soaps because they feel the casts are their friends,” added co-host Clinton Kelly, who also hosts TLC’s What Not To Wear. “We’re welcoming people to come be a part of this group of friends. We can’t be soap operas but we can be a group of people you can hang out with it.”
Elliott added that soap fans will be able to “enjoy” the shows online, referring to a deal with two-year-old media and production company Prospect Park. But there are many unanswered questions about the deal, specifically how it will be financed and whether longtime cast members including All My Children’s Susan Lucci would be part of the online incarnation. Meanwhile, ABC has been the target of sustained protests from outraged soap fans with many vowing to boycott The Chew.
“I understand completely how those viewers feel,” said Elliott. “But I don’t control the process that made that change. I hope that they give us a break. And if they just sit down for five minutes they’re going to really enjoy it. And if they don’t like it I can’t control that.”
“Everybody who worked on [the soap operas] here at ABC loved the shows as well," added Brian Frons, president of daytime at Disney-ABC Television Group. "And we’re encouraged that Prospect Park has come forward to try to keep them alive with a different economic model that is good for them and that wasn’t as possible for us at ABC. And I hope they give the new shows a chance. That’s about all you can hope for."
ABC has committed to 220 episodes of The Chew this year, said Elliott. The show is envisioned as part food show part lifestyle show with ABC’s successful The View as one template.
Elliott described it as the “world through a food lens.” Co-host Daphne Oz, daughter of Dr. Mehmet Oz, said she’ll explore womens’ complex – and sometimes tortured -- relationship with food through her own struggles as an overweight teenager (she weighed 180 pounds when she was 17-years-old) in a health-conscious family.
“That’s something I think every red-blooded American woman deals with,” she said.