You might not think of William Shatner as a talk show interviewer but, in his own way, he is surprisingly effective at getting his celebrity subjects to reveal aspects of their lives that are fresh and surprising.
The show is called “Shatner’s Raw Nerve,” which Bio says is what Shatner hopes to touch when he burrows into his subjects with questions about their sorrows and triumphs. Viewers, however, may conclude that “Raw Nerve” is what it takes to ask some of the questions Shatner asks.
The premiere on Tuesday features back-to-back half hours with Valerie Bertinelli and Jimmy Kimmel. Bertinelli is particularly unpretentious and forthright about mistakes she’s made and her desire to atone. Shatner obliges by playing father-confessor, first demanding specifics and then granting absolution. Later, Bertinelli turns the tables and peppers him with personal queries.
Things don’t get quite as soulful with Kimmel, though the late night host opens up a bit about his divorce and having sex while drunk. Although he says his ABC gig is “a great job,” Kimmel says “It’s still a job to me. Something I have to do.” Surprisingly, and disappointingly, Shatner asks no questions about Kimmel’s relationship with Sarah Silverman, an off-again, on-again affair that, to a casual observer, has more facets than a geodesic dome.
The set is a comfy-looking den with armchairs facing each other to form an “S” pattern, a design that makes guests more open and less distracted. Future guests include Tim Allen, Drew Carey, Howie Mandel, Judge Judy, Kelsey Grammer, Jenna Jameson, Jon Voight and fellow “Star Trek” alum Leonard Nimoy.