O’Brien’s Starfish Media Group also will co-produce national specials with Hearst Television.
The half-hour program, launched last November, was previously hosted by Fernando Espuelas, and will be renamed “Matter of Fact with Soleded O’Brien.” It is produced out of the Newseum in Washington D.C., and airs on Sunday morning in many markets. The show is carried on Hearst stations as well as CBS, Meredith, Nexstar, E.W. Scripps, Tegna and Tribune, and is adding Fox-owned stations in Los Angeles and Charlotte to reach about 75% of the country, according to Hearst. It is distributed nationally by Sony.
O’Brien said that the show distinguishes itself from other Sunday morning talk in that moves “the conversation out of the east coast or the west coast.”
“I realized their whole goal was really to elevate the stories and conversation across the country,” she said. She added that because the show has a magazine format, they have the advantage of context that may be missed by other talk shows.
Emerson Coleman, vice president of programming at Hearst Television, said that the genesis of the show was to focus on more diverse voices. He cited as an example an interview with youth leader Farajii Muhammad after a mistrial in the Freddie Gray case.
O’Brien will debut on the show on Sept. 10-11. She said that they are planning a commemoration of the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
She also says that their base in D.C. will help them be competitive with other Sunday morning shows in landing boldfaced names.
“Most of the people I do interviews with, whether they are friendly or contentious, they always respect that the conversation will be smart and they will be held to a really high standard,” she said.