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Steve Harvey Defends Staff Memo While Promoting New Daytime Show: ‘I’m Not a Mean-Spirited Guy’

Steve Harvey found himself in hot water a few months ago when a harsh memo that he had sent his staff was leaked and went viral.

The staff memo in question — in which he wrote, “Do not come to my dressing room unless invited….Do not approach me while I’m in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly” — was leaked by a staff member from Harvey’s Chicago-based talk show who did not get a job on his new daytime show “Steve,” which shoots in Los Angeles and debuts this fall in national syndication.

In anticipation of the premiere of “Steve,” Harvey sat down with reporters on Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., during which he was immediately asked about the staff memo scandal.

“I learned two things from that email…I can’t write and I should never write,” Harvey quipped. “It was something I wrote a year ago and someone didn’t get a job coming to LA and they got pissed,” he confirmed.

“I was OK until I saw it on CNN and that’s when I know I wa in a lot of trouble,” Harvey continued, bringing up the media firestorm that surrounded the controversy. “The email was out there and it wasn’t a big deal to me at all…I’m not a mean-spirited guy — I’m a very congenial guy to people who know me.”

Poking fun at the entire situation, Harvey added, “I thought it was cute. You all didn’t.”

Sitting with the executive producer of his upcoming show, Shane Farley, Harvey was asked by a reporter how many staff members from the Chicago show were coming to work to the Los Angeles show: Farley said roughly 10 out of a staff of 60.

“The current staff that we have is because the type of the show that we’re doing,” Farley said, noting that many of the new staffers have experience in live news and all come from different background and settings, which will benefit the changes in format and tone on the new show.

The main change for Harvey’s show is bringing “late-night to daytime,” as the host put it.

“People don’t care about the coupon queen anymore. You can download this stuff online,” Harvey said, explaining that his show will be more comedy-based, rather than information-based, however the daily series will still incorporate human interest stories. As for the format, the show will feature a Harvey monologue at the top of the show, a desk segment and an “incredible game.”

“The big difference here and the reason for moving to L.A. is I wanted to bring late night TV to daytime. I think that’s what’s missing after doing daytime for five years,” Harvey said. “Takeaway is not what daytime TV needs anymore. People just need to laugh in the middle of the day, and I’ve kind of been restricted from that over the past five years…that’s the big difference in the show.”

Harvey noted that his show will now incorporate more celebrity segments, given the L.A. location instead of Chicago. The show will also feature musical guests, but won’t have a house band. Harvey also said his show will include female-based segments, like his former talker.

“I’ve championed women on my show the show five years it’s been there, whether it’s dating or advice,” he said. “I’m not going to stop doing that on this show.”

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