Jennifer Hudson is getting ready to get her own talk show.
It doesn’t have a specific title yet and it’s still very much a work in progress, but Warner Bros. Unscripted Television is hammering out the details for a Fall 2022 premiere.
It’s understood that Warner Bros. did a deep dive to identify a marquee star to fill the “Ellen” void, and after talking to around 30 people, it was clear Hudson was interested and the obvious choice. The prolific star already has experience in the unscripted space beyond “Idol”: She served as a coach on both the U.S. and U.K. versions of “The Voice,” which relies a great deal on personality.
And coincidentally, Hudson is no stranger to the daytime daypart: She won a Daytime Emmy award this year for interactive media for a daytime program, via Oculus Quest’s “Baba Yaga,” which she executive produced.
The show also reps a reunion of sorts between Hudson and Mike Darnell, the president of unscripted and alternative television at Warner Bros. Prior to Warner Bros., Darnell was the longtime head of alternative at Fox, where he oversaw the massive “American Idol” franchise. Hudson was a finalist on the show’s third season, in 2004. And although she didn’t win the competition, it set the stage for her career explosion: Soon after, she was cast in the film adaptation of “Dreamgirls” — which earned her the Oscar for best supporting actress.
Hudson, a well-liked talent whose vocal skills have frequently been lauded (including by Grammy voters), also brings an “authentic and natural” take to the talk show gig, insiders said.
Although Hudson already shoulders a hefty work load in film, TV and music, talk shows can be shot in a way, with multiple holiday and summer breaks, in order to leave plenty of room for other gigs — which is how so many performers have been able to enter the space in recent years.
If the talk show is picked up to series, Hudson would join another “Idol” alum in the genre: Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, who has hosted “The Kelly Clarkson Show” for NBCUniversal Syndication Studios since 2019.
“Kelly Clarkson Show” has been renewed through 2023 and runs before “Ellen” on major market NBC stations. (Those stations have previously announced that “Kelly Clarkson” will slide into the “Ellen” slot next season, but that could open the door to a Jennifer Hudson/Kelly Clarkson “Idol” alum pairing, should NBC stations make a play for J.Hud’s new show.)
DeGeneres announced in May that she would end “Ellen” after 19 seasons when her contract ends in 2022. DeGeneres had originally planned to end the show in 2019, but renewed for three final years. (The show hit a bump last year over concerns about its work environment, however.) It was understood at the time that Telepictures had been preparing for DeGeneres’ departure; among the rumored names that had been approached to take on a new show was Jennifer Aniston.
Daytime talk is notoriously tough to crack, with most entries folding after their initial two-year station deals. “Ellen” was a tremendous exception, lasting nearly two decades and spawning spinoffs such as “Ellen’s Game of Games,” “The Masked Dancer,” “Family Game Fight” and “Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways.”
Would you be interested in a Jennifer Hudson talk show?