It looks like Queen Latifah will have her own talk show. Again.
Last week, Sony Pictures Television announced that it will produce Latifah's yet-to-be-titled show alongside her company, Flavour Unit Entertainment, and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Overbrook Entertainment. Overbrook Entertainment helped launched Latifah's career as an actress in 1991 in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Overbrook's cofounder Miguel Melendez told The Hollywood Reporter : "[Overbrook Entertainment] has known and admired Latifah for over 20 years: dating back to her music days, to her first television role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and years alter when she worked with Jada on the film Set it Off."
The past twenty years have been good to the Queen. From her humble beginnings as a rapper, she has become an actress, spokesperson for Cover Girl, producer, and an activist for full figured and African-American women. In a sense, returning to daytime TV, Latifah is returning to one of her earlier roles. Her first talk show, called The Queen Latifah Show, ran from 1999 until 2001 and was described as 'Dear Abby for the Hip- Hop Generation.' Latifah interviewed both celebrities and non-celebrities, and dispensed some advice to viewers. This new talk show is supposed to be in a similar style, with more focus on advice than famous guests, and is slated to start in the fall of 2013.
While I am glad that daytime television is finally featuring more faces of colour, I wonder why choose Queen Latifah? This choice seems like another recycled television idea coming on the heels of Oprah's daytime retirement. Latifah has already hosted a talk show, which clearly wasn't able to maintain high ratings ten years ago. If she couldn't connect well with viewers then, I have a feeling she will be even less popular with a new generation less familiar with her work.
I am also certain that Oprah's legion of diehard superfans will not be making the switch either—in the world of daytime TV, Oprah reigns supreme. It doesn't matter how funny or smart Latifah is, she will never be Oprah, and that comparison will always remain.
As a side note to TV executives: Can you please ditch the whole syndicated talk show? Everyone from Katie Couric to Tyra Banks is on daytime television, and it's getting old. Aren't there any creative people left in Hollywood? Or will this finally come after Paris Hilton and Britney Spears team up to give advice to wayward teens.