BY RICK BENTLEY
TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
LOS ANGELES – Steve Harvey plans on bringing nighttime to daytime and he won’t even need an eclipse.
The game show host/comedian/stand-up comic’s syndicated talk show, “Steve Harvey,” has a new look (check local listings for time and station).
Instead of being in line with traditional talk shows that air during daylight hours, Harvey’s revamped program will be closer to what viewers would see during late-night programming.
Moving to L.A.
Along with the new approach comes a new name; his show will now be called “Steve.”
So instead of a nutritionist promoting the latest eating trend, there will be a celebrity promoting a new movie, book, song or television show.
To make it a little easier to get those celebrity guests, Harvey’s show will switch from originating in Chicago and will be based in Los Angeles.
This big change is a result of what Harvey has seen as a switch in why people have watched daytime talk shows in the past. Those shows used to be a place to find out how to become a coupon queen, how to make your dresser look better with new knobs or how to make linguine in a machine.
The primary source for that kind of information is now online so Harvey’s new show will be less about information and more about entertainment.
“I think people need to just laugh in the middle of the day. And I’ve kind of been restricted in that in the last five years. I want people to have a place to go. Instead of waiting ‘til 11 o’clock at night to get a big laugh, I want people, in the middle of the day, to tune in and, I mean, really get a good, hard, ‘spit on your computer’ type laugh,” Harvey says.
“That’s what I’m after. So that’s the big difference in this show. And coming to L.A. naturally will allow you to have a lot more input with celebrities. They can drive over instead of flying to Chicago.”
Approximately 10 of the 60 people who had worked on Harvey’s show in Chicago will be moving to Los Angeles.
Executive producer Shane Farley explains the main reason so few are moving has to do with the new design of the show.
Before, the programs were planned out and taped well in advance of their airdate, but now, so Harvey’s comedy can be more topical, each show will be broadcast the day after taping.
This requires a staff that has experience working in that style of production.
There is also that matter of the furor that arose after an email Harvey sent to his staff at the beginning of the fifth season of his talk show was made public just days before the last programs in Chicago were taped.
The email told staff members not to approach him unless it was a pre-arranged meeting and not to enter his dressing room.
“I learned two things from that email. Number one, I can’t write, and I should never write.
It was something I wrote a year ago. And somebody didn’t get a job coming to L.A. and they got p—, and they sent it to (media blogger Robert) Feder in Chicago,” Harvey says.
“I was OK until I saw it on CNN. And that’s when I knew I was in a lot of trouble.
“So the email was out there. You know, it wasn’t that big a deal to me. I’m not really a mean spirited guy at all. I’m really a congenial guy. But it’s kind of like if you go home every day and all your kids is in the kitchen waiting on you and start hammering you, you just need a moment. That’s all it was. It’s really not that big a deal. I thought it was cute.”
Plenty of projects
Now, he can concentrate on his talk show, hosting the game show “Family Feud” and the primetime programs “Little Big Shows,” “Little Big Shots: Forever Young,” “Celebrity Family Feud” and “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome” plus all of appearances he does.
Harvey’s happy to be doing so many different projects because he’s always been a hard worker.
‘Piece of cake’
He does balk at talk that it must be so hard on him to be so busy.
“I worked at Ford Motor Company. I put eight spark plugs in 1,400 engines a day. That’s hard. You want me to come out here and talk and tell jokes, and you’re going to pay me this much money? This is a piece of cake to me,” Harvey says. “I do the jokes. I do the job.
“I’m a hard worker. I enjoy my work. People enjoy what I do. I do family fun. I make people feel good. When you’re not laughing, I try to make you feel good. If I can add another one of those, that’s what everybody needs.”
There’s another reason Harvey’s revamping his show. His dream was to be a late-night talk show host long before his first appearance on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.”
He was able to land jobs starring in his own primetime comedy, work on multiple game shows and become one of the most infamous hosts in the history of the Miss Universe pageant but he finally knew that the dream of being able to do what Carson did was never going to happen.
That’s when Harvey decided if he was not going to be able to go to nighttime, he would bring nighttime to him.