This story first appeared in the Oct. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Another big personality is trying her hand at daytime television.
Country superstar Faith Hill is executive producing a syndicated entry to be co-hosted by American Idol alum and fellow country singer Kellie Pickler (CAA). “Kellie possesses the ability to reach far beyond the camera and into the hearts of people, allowing you to feel immediately connected to her,” says Hill (CAA, MFO, Jackoway Tyerman). “There was no question in my mind that she should be a big part of this show.”
Also executive produced by The Oprah Winfrey Show veteran Lisa Erspamer and Hill’s manager, Sandbox Entertainment’s Jason Owen, the untitled lifestyle show will cover such topics as cooking, home design, gardening and entertaining. Five to 10 experts from those fields will be rotating guests, joining Pickler, 29, and one or two co-hosts who have yet to be named. The show, which hails from Legendary Television, will be shopped to daytime syndicates during the coming weeks in hope of a fall 2016 or 2017 launch.
The show will shoot in Hill’s hometown of Nashville, allowing the singer to make occasional appearances in addition to her off-camera duties. “She has lots of great ideas. She’s also an incredible curator, so I think that’s why having her behind the scenes is really valuable for us,” says Erspamer. “Faith coming on board as an executive producer was definitely a big piece of making this work.”
Celebrity-led daytime shows have been on the decline during recent years because of high-profile flops from Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper and Queen Latifah, among others. But Erspamer believes the new show’s star power and location afford unique opportunities. “Nashville is Music City, so there’s music, really, everywhere,” she says. “How we present that, we’ll want to do in a way that is a little unexpected.”
However, celebrity and musical guests will not be a daily occurrence. “We’ve talked about Dolly Parton, we’ve talked about other country artists, but the show is not going to be about country music,” says Erspamer. “Nashville is way more than country music or country — it’s a very aspirational city that’s very hip and cool.”
Erspamer hopes the show’s locale will be part of its selling point to viewers: “We spend so much time programming to New York and Los Angeles, and we forget that there’s this whole vast world in between.”