Tamron Hall talks daytime talk show, ‘today’ eviction ‘suspicions’
NEW YORK – Tamron Hall always knew she was unique. Take, for example, his first name.
“When I was in second grade, the nun I had (at school) called me ‘Tamara Hall’ about 60,000 times,” the former ‘Today’ presenter laughs. “I came home crying like, ‘Mom, she keeps calling me Tamara.’ Then my mom confronted the nun,” and that was it.
His bold nickname is one of the first things you notice upon stepping onto the intimate set of Hall’s new syndicated daytime talk show, “The Tamron Hall Show,” which will air nationwide on Monday, including on many ABC stations. Unlike the stark whites and blues of many TVs, the “Tamron” studio is bathed in vibrant shades of purple and orange, with wide aisles allowing Hall to wander freely through the audience and talk to people.
“The colors are feminine and strong” to reflect “that part of me that’s girly but still a grown woman. I’m a girl who’s been through a lot,” Hall says in a neutral tone, wearing a jumpsuit black Dickies as she breathlessly gives a tour of the Upper West Side studio.
As for the public, “I want it to be as close as humanly possible,” she continues. “It’s not a gimmick: it’s part of my authentic journey as a journalist, but also part of who I am as a person. I’m a hugger, I’m a toucher – I love that interaction.”
Drawing inspiration from daytime greats Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue, Hall’s inspirational show is rooted in audience participation. The conversations focus on topics close to her and many other women, including relationships, mommy shaming and fertility. (Hall conceived her 4-month-old son, Moses, through IVF treatments with her new husband Steven Greener, a music executive.)
Guests at a recent test show taping included a 32-year-old woman who chose to freeze her eggs to ease the pressures of dating and settling in, and a mother who allowed her 7-year-old son with autism to fly on an airplane by himself.
“The audience was like, ‘Wait a minute, I wouldn’t let my 17-year-old daughter go on a flight alone,’ but she was ready to answer (their) questions,” Hall said. “What we want is to foster that environment where it’s okay to ask a question and you don’t have to feel beleaguered.”
Deviating slightly from the daytime standards, “Tamron” will air a mix of live episodes and recorded shows a day in advance. Given Hall’s extensive journalism background as an NBC News correspondent and MSNBC anchor, each show begins with a round-up of the news, allowing audience members to weigh in “on what’s happening in the world,” says co-executive producer Talia Parkinson-Jones. And when she interviews celebrities, “they don’t just come to plug in their projects, but really share their stories. Our show is very diverse, and that’s what’s going to make it special during the day.”
The format is new ground for Hall, 48, return to television after two years of absence. In February 2017, she shocked “Today” viewers with her abrupt departure from NBC after she wasted her morning hour with Al Roker to make way for the short-lived “Megyn Kelly Today.”
“I was heartbroken,” Hall said of his decision to leave. “(Imagine) you were working and all of a sudden your employer said they were phasing you out. About who I was losing it – it was like a relationship where you invest 100% and the person who invests less has the nerve to break up with you.
Hall insists she doesn’t feel justified in any way by Kelly’s rapid fire after making controversial blackface comments that led, in part, to the cancellation of his show last fall.
“I wasn’t going to wait for someone else not to train when I could find a way for me to train – I didn’t want Megyn Kelly to see me hiding in the hallway,” said Hall said. “I didn’t want to see my profile come to naught when I know I have a unique perspective and voice in this business that is valued by people who watch TV. I’m grateful for that.”