The Bonnie Hunt Show

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Airdate: Noon-1 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 8-9 (syndicated).

The first two days of Warner Bros. TV's new syndicated "The Bonnie Hunt Show" daytime talker makes it instantly clear that Hunt was born for this deceptively difficult gig but may not entirely know it. Mixing moments of understandable awkwardness with refreshing warmth and effortless irreverence, Hunt looks to have found a natural niche for her self-effacing gift of gab.

Long considered one of Hollywood's unassuming treasures and one of David Letterman's favorite guests, Hunt has a homespun Midwest style that you can't help but adore. The only thing seemingly holding her back at the outset is perhaps her own insecurity at being in the chair in the first place. Once she gets comfortable being here, the lady could and should thrive as something of a less-edgy Ellen DeGeneres.

Make no mistake, Hunt -- who turns 47 this month -- has the comedic chops to pull it off. Speaking to guest Justin Kirk (from Showtime's "Weeds") on Tuesday's show, she responded to Kirk'sa observation, "This is the greatest set I've ever seen" with the cat-quick comeback, "Yes, it's the new bra." Let's see Oprah do that! On the same show, Hunt and Kirk used a greenscreen background to great comic effect, and she enjoyed an easy rapport with Swoosie Kurtz as well as a winning back-and-forth with exec producer and sidekick Don Lake.

Hunt will need to work on honing her between-guests rap, which sometimes smacks of directionless happy talk. But the suspicion is that it will fall into place soon enough as long as viewers give her a chance to find a rhythm. Straight out of the gate, she ain't doing so badly.

You watch "The Bonnie Hunt Show" and feel like you've been invited to the most unassuming showbiz party on Earth and that the host must be a kick to work for. The trick could well be convincing her to believe in herself as much as the staff undoubtedly does.

Production: Bob & Alice Prods. and Warner Bros. Television.

Executive producers: Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Jim Paratore.

Writers: Steve O'Donnell, Jon Kimmel, Holly Wortell.

Director: Brad Kreisberg.
Art director: Tracy Marsh-Nejame.
Musical director: Nicholas Pike.
Editor: Michael Cole.
Co-executive producer: David Perler.
Supervising producer: Jason Kurtz.
Executive in charge of production: Greg Gordon.
Line producer: Kim Tushinsky.


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