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The View‘s Sunny Hostin is equally known for her tell-it-like-it-is attitude as she is for her empathetic approach to discussing important topics with her interview subjects. She flexes the latter skill on her new Investigation Discovery series, Truth About Murder With Sunny Hostin.
Sidestepping the blueprint for most true crime re-enactment shows, Hostin — who serves as both host and executive producer — is highlighting the stories of victims and their loved ones, rather than trying to get inside the minds of cold-blooded killers. The TV personality and former federal prosecutor recently opened up to The Hollywood Reporter In Studio about why she wanted to shift the narrative.
“I wanted to talk to the community members that are deeply affected by what happens when there is a heinous crime right next door…. It really was [emotional]. I called my husband after every shoot and he was like, ‘You sound weird.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been crying,'” she recounted. “In some sense, it was cathartic because I felt like every single person said, ‘Thanks for letting me tell my story.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, wow, thanks for honoring me by sharing it’ — because it’s hard for victims to share.”
Hostin — who, during her tenure as a prosecutor, specialized in child sex crimes — added, “It was harder than I thought it would be. I was a prosecutor for a pretty long time, but this felt different.”
As executive producer, it was up to Hostin to find the stories she wanted to tell and then narrow them down to six episodes. During this process, she said that inclusivity was closely considered. “That was really important to me. I wanted to talk about people of color, I wanted to talk about women and I wanted to explore the LGBTQ community,” Hostin explained. “I looked for cases like that because those stories are too often not told. I looked for them and they were everywhere. It was really difficult [to narrow down] but I think we found the most compelling and those that were not told…I really wanted to give voice to the voiceless.”
Asked how her duties on The View — which just entered its 23rd season and also features co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Abby Huntsman and Meghan McCain — compare with making Truth About Murder, Hostin joked, “I don’t get interrupted as much.”
Still, she believes there is crossover between the two gigs: “I try to be pretty even-handed most of the time and my mantra is, ‘No one does you better than you.’ So, I just try to do me and be myself. I think [The View] viewers get that from me and I think the folks that I interviewed [on Truth About Murder] got that. What you see is what you get. I’m not an actress. I just put it out there.”
For more from Hostin — including her philosophy on handling on-camera arguments with her “dysfunctional family” on The View, as well as which Democratic presidential candidates have impressed her the most as guests on the talk show — watch the video above.
Truth About Murder With Sunny Hostin premieres on Investigation Discovery on Oct. 22 at 10 p.m.
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