13 Celebrities You Forgot Had Their Own Talk Shows
From musicians to actors to a pro basketball player, all of these stars took a turn behind a desk.
Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell may have become more famous for their talk shows than anything else, but as actor/comedians who made a successful jump to chat, they're the outliers. Many, many celebs you know better for other things have tried their hands at the format with varying degrees of success. In the '90s and '00s especially, it seemed that everyone even remotely likable and charming was given a turn behind the desk (or on the couch, depending on the setup). In fact, we guarantee that you've totally forgotten that some of these celebrities hosted their own talk shows. And for more stars who've shined in sharing their real lives, here are The 30 Most Successful Reality TV Personalities of the Last 30 Years.
Harry Connick Jr.
Singer, pianist, and actor Harry Connick Jr. has worn a lot of hats in the entertainment business—including talk show host. He had his own syndicated daytime chat show, called simply Harry, from 2016 to 2018. And for stars who are keeping busy during quarantine, here are 15 Celebrities Who've Had Babies During the Pandemic.
The Kardashian matriarch and mom-ager Kris Jenner had a trial run at hosting her own talk show, but it was only seen by viewers in certain markets. Kris was carried by a few select Fox local stations, but it never got a national platform or a full season. The six-week experiment started and ended in 2013, but Jenner certainly hasn't faded from the spotlight.
Comedian Martin Short incorporated plenty of sketch comedy into his short-lived late night series, The Martin Short Show, which ran from 1999 to 2000. But it seems like audiences were not quite as interested in Short as an interviewer. Fun facts: Some of the characters created for the show, such as Jiminy Glick, survived, and actor Michael McKean served as the show's bandleader. For celebs who were late bloomers, here are 40 Stars Who Didn't Become Famous Until After 40.
After breaking out on the improv series, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Wayne Brady was offered the hosting spot on a primetime variety series that would bear his name. Later, the show concept shifted into a daytime chat format. The Wayne Brady Show aired from 2002 to 2004, but it wasn't the end of Brady's hosting career. He's currently the emcee of Let's Make a Deal, and has been for 11 years.
More than 10 years after the series finale of The Nanny, the show that made Fran Drescher a big name (and a fashion icon), the loud-and-proud entertainer embarked on a talk show in 2010—or as it was marketed, The Fran Drescher Tawk Show. Like Jenner, Drescher was only in the host's chair for a trial run in a few markets. In the end, it wasn't a hit, only airing 16 total episodes. For the stories behind some challenging monikers, here are 33 Celebrity Names You Always Misspell.
Musician and actor Queen Latifah was more successful in her bid for talk show glory. The Queen Latifah Show ran from 1999 to 2001 and then returned in a 2013 reboot that ended in 2015. During the second run Latifah was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards and won the People's Choice Award for Favorite New Talk Show Host (even though it wasn't her first rodeo).
Right after her first run of playing Grace's boozed-up assistant Karen Walker on Will & Grace, Megan Mullally hosted 71 episodes of The Megan Mullally Show, a daytime talk show. It followed so hot on the heels of the sitcom that viewers were reportedly confused that the host wasn't anything like her famous persona (yes, even the Karen voice is an affectation, folks) and was canceled in 2007, a few months after it began. These days, Mullally is still hosting, but this time it's a podcast with her husband Nick Offerman, called In Bed with Nick and Megan. For more Hollywood insight, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Former pro basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson attempted to make the jump to late night in 1998 with a series called The Magic Hour. Despite the presence of In Living Color comedian Tommy Davidson as comic relief and bandleader Sheila E., The Magic Hour was a ratings bust and only lasted for a season.
In 2004, ABC scheduled a new daytime talk show from Taxi star Tony Danza for the hour immediately following the immensely popular Live with Regis and Kelly. Danza's show didn't have the same life in it, but it did run for two full seasons. For some wild industry legends, here are 50 Totally Absurd Celeb Rumors That Some People Really Believe.
Following the success of her competition reality show America's Next Top Model, which began airing in 2003, supermodel-turned-host Tyra Banks—naturally—ended up with a talk show bearing her name. The Tyra Banks Show had a longer run than any other show on this list, airing from 2005 to 2010, and won two Daytime Emmys.
Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson hosted Carnie! from 1995 to 1996. Rather than being a celebrity chat show, Wilson's foray into daytime had more of a tabloid talk show format, and included not only famous guests but also regular people with juicy problems.
In 2009, comedian George Lopez became the first Hispanic-American late night talk show host with Lopez Tonight, which aired on TBS. Originally scheduled for the 11 p.m. slot, Lopez Tonight was pushed back to midnight when Conan O'Brien moved from NBC to TBS after Jay Leno reclaimed The Tonight Show. Though Lopez was supportive of his network-mate, Lopez Tonight didn't survive the schedule change in the long run and was canceled in 2011. Regardless, Lopez has called their relationship "respectful" and says he puts no blame on O'Brien.
A stalwart comedy actress, especially in the '90s, Bonnie Hunt was yet another celebrity who had a talk show built around her charm in the '00s. Four years after the end of her sitcom, Life with Bonnie, The Bonnie Hunt Show premiered on daytime. Her Jumanji costar Robin Williams was her very first guest, and the series ended up running from 2008 to 2010.