Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show won’t be built around political debates — she’s been there, done that.
“I don’t feel I need to lean into politics,” she tells Yahoo Entertainment of Sherri, which premieres Monday. “You have a plethora of shows you can lean into to get your politics. Number one, my old stomping grounds: The View.”
Yep, that’s in the rearview. She wants her syndicated weekday show to be a respite from the noise.
“I’m your escape from the doom and gloom,” she promises. “We’re hearing and seeing so much stuff from Instagram, social media, this network, that one. Fear … Sometimes you just want to escape and you want to laugh and you want permission to breathe and feel good. That’s me.”
Shepherd feels more than prepared stepping into her new role. Last year, she immediately delivered good ratings as guest-host of the Wendy Williams Show. When it was clear Williams wouldn’t be returning, Debmar-Mercury, the production company behind both shows, bet big on Shepherd, giving her the vacant time slot. As far as experience goes, Shepherd also co-hosted a little show named The View for seven years — which frankly should count as double or triple the time as she endured daily fiery Hot Topic debates and headline-making behind-the-scenes drama.
“You couldn’t pay to have a better education on interviewing people” than Barbara Walters, Shepherd says of the legendary TV newswoman who co-created The View and ran it — with an iron fist up — until her 2014 retirement. “Barbara would always say, ‘Be curious about people.’ … ‘Do not take no for an answer.’ [She] also said, ‘Why don’t you read a book, dear.'”
Yes, Walters famously gave Shepherd that last piece of harsh advice in a misguided effort to help the then-new co-host handle the show’s rapid-fire debates. Shepherd has famously said she cried in her dressing room for three years because Walters was so hard on her. Reflecting back now, however, she credits Walters for helping her find her voice.
“Barbara taught me that people take you, as a woman, more seriously when your voice has a deepness to it,” she says. “So I literally would stand in the mirror” to practice delivering the “take a little time to enjoy the view” tagline in less of a singsongy way. “Now my voice is very, very deep.”
Expect that confident voice — and a lot of laughs, humor and fun — as Shepherd leans in to her stand-up comedy background to spread joy to Sherri viewers.
“I’m really excited to bring my sense of humor to the audience today because I think it’s needed,” she says. “There’s a big gap that needs to be filled with Ellen [DeGeneres off the air in May] and I look forward to stepping in that pool … I relish the challenge.”
Sherri debuts Sept. 12.
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