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TV Review: ‘The Talk’ Just a Poor Woman’s ‘View’

CBS has downplayed perceptions that “The Talk” — the network’s new daytime talk show, featuring a variety of women who share the common bond of motherhood — isn’t just a poor woman’s version of ABC’s “The View.”

And they were right — though not necessarily in a good way.

Chenhead The CBS program made its debut on Monday, and I could feel the testosterone ebbing out of my body as I watched, along with the will to live.

Of course, that’s OK, since I’m hardly the target audience. Host Julie Chen laid out the program’s aim at the outset, which is to serve as “a support group for women out there” — you know, virtual girlfriends for people who don’t have real ones. In this task, she’s joined by Sara Gilbert (who came up with the idea), Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remini, and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

Each hostess was treated to video of her kids wishing her good luck, establishing that “The Talk” wasn’t going to try to ape “The View’s” topical nature. Chen — yes, the wife of CBS CEO Leslie Moonves — was treated to a video clip from her husband (their kid is only a year old), with Moonves telling Chen regarding the show, “If it doesn’t work, I’ll cancel you.” And that was pretty much the highlight of the hour.

The audience was certainly appreciative — almost ridiculously so, given what they were watching. For starters, the set looks like they spent about 20 bucks on it, letting the women kibbitz around a big round table. Given that she sort of led the discussion, I guess that makes Chen the equivalent of King Arthur. Only with way better hair.

The kickoff interview was a sit-down with Christie Brinkley, which they tub-thumped as if that’s a really huge deal. But other than looking great (those are the shiniest legs I’ve ever seen), Brinkley had little to say — and largely punted on discussing her much-publicized divorce. Heck, not even a little dish on what a jerk Billy Joel was? Come on, ladies!

Remini did complain that people need to “stop being cowards on the Internet and talking crap about people.” Good luck with that. (Oh, and I’d suggest avoiding the Internet for the next few days, just to be on the safe side.)

Ultimately, though, this is a series whose title, “The Talk,” tells you everything you need to know. Because the expression, after all, is “Talk is cheap” — or at least, cheaper than a daytime soap.

Produced by Relativity Real and CBS Television Studios. Executive producers, Bradly Bessey, Sara Gilbert, John Redmann; senior broadcast producer, Jonathan Zager; supervising producer, Kevin Hamburger; director, Manny Rodriguez. 60 MIN.


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