Actor Jerry O’Connell is dipping a toe in the talk-show waters with “Jerry O,” a daytime strip produced by Funny Or Die and Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury that will have a test run on select Fox O&Os in August.
The show is described as a mix of celebrity interviews and comedy segments produced by Funny Or Die. “Jerry O” will have a three-week outing in a handful of top Fox O&O markets starting Aug. 12. The test is an effort to gauge the show’s potential before the partners decide whether to mount a national rollout in syndication.
O’Connell is a regular on the talk show circuit as a guest and as a guest co-host for such series as “Live With Kelly,” Rachael Ray,” “The View” and most recently Debmar-Mercury’s “The Wendy Williams Show” during Williams’ recent convalescence. He made a big push for the co-host slot on the syndicated “Live With Kelly” that went to Ryan Seacrest. O’Connell and his wife, actress Rebecca Romijn, have a high profile as a Hollywood celebrity couple.
“I love daytime. I love watching it and have fallen in love with guest-hosting it. Whether asking people to ‘Cash Me Outside’ or asking them ‘How You Doin?’, daytime is a big part of my life. I am thrilled to work with my friends at both Debmar-Mercury and Funny Or Die,” O’Connell said. “I have been collaborating with both companies for years and am so excited to bring a little bit of the traditional – and something brand new – to the audience. This is going to be a fun, fun time and everyone is invited. Let’s party.”
O’Connell began his acting career at the age of 11 in 1986’s “Stand By Me.” Most recently his TV credits include recurring roles on Showtime’s “Billions,” WGN’s “Carter,” CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” ABC’s “Mistresses” and Fox’s “Scream Queens.”
Fox TV Stations and Debmar-Mercury have partnered on numerous daytime TV tryouts in recent years, including a test that preceded the successful launch of “Wendy Williams” in 2008.
“I’m always willing to give a fellow NY Jets fan a shot,” said Frank Cicha, exec VP of programming for Fox TV Stations, of O’Connell.
O’Connell is diving into the entertainment talk-variety format that has been tricky for stars to pull off in daytime in recent years. Harry Connick Jr. took a stab at it for NBCUniversal and Fox TV Stations with “Harry” from 2016 to 2018. Megan Mullally tried it from 2006-2007. NBCUniversal has pop superstar Kelly Clarkson on deck for a fall launch with a show built around music and celebrity guests.
“Jerry O” is surely banking on the presence of Funny Or Die’s comedy shorts to help the show stand out. O’Connell has been featured in numerous Funny Or Die bits over the years.
“We are big believers in trying new concepts and excited to once again be collaborating with our friends at Fox,” said Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus. “We have come to know Jerry as a true talent whose infectious charisma and authenticity have made him a favorite of many daytime talk show fans.”
“Jerry O” marks Funny Or Die’s first foray into producing daytime TV show, which will require the company to tone down the content of shorts produced for “Jerry O.” The company, founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay in 2007, has faith in O’Connell.
“He’s funny, smart and his energy is contagious,” said Funny Or Die CEO Mike Farah.