Harry Connick Jr. on New Talk Show: ‘We’re Not Going to Play Games’

Harry Connick Jr. on New Talk
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Harry Connick Jr.’s new NBCUniversal-produced daytime show will feature many of the trappings of a traditional talker — a live band, celebrity interviews. But what’s also notable is what it won’t have.

“We’re not going to play games,” Connick said of his guests Wednesday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour. “I’m not going to put them in dunk tanks.”

Connick has been a staple guest on late-night and daytime talkers for years. In his new show, “Harry,” which was picked up last in October to run on 17 Fox-owned stations nationwide, Connick will work with executive producers Eric and Justin Stangel, former head writers for CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman.”

“I’ve been up there with just about everybody, and there are people who I consider to be the best in the business,” Connick said. “I think Dave Letterman, as far as a person who would ask questions and interact with the guests was incredible. Michael Parkinson in England. Ellen’s fantastic. Oprah’s fantastic.”

Connick added that another staple talk-show element he wants to exclude from his show is the pre-interview of guests.

“There’s this undercurrent of rehearsal or pre-planning that happens when you go out on the panel,” Connick said. “I tell all of the publicists and all of the people that are going to be out on the show, man, if you don’t want to do a pre-interview, it’s my job to know everything there is to know about you. … the response we’re getting from a lot of talent is ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool.'”

Eric Stangel spoke to Connick’s qualifications for doing a talk show.

“He is a funny bastard,” Stangel said. He added, “You could tell when he would be sitting up here on late night television, you could see that he was thinking and reacting, not following the pre-interview.”