MIAMI — Tamron Hall is proud of her TV trifecta.
For a few years, the former “Today” anchor could be found most weekdays airing on three networks at the same time.
During her 2010-2016 tenure as a co-anchor of “Today’s” 9 a.m. hour, Hall would follow that show by switching to an anchor slot on MSNBC. And she also hosted the NBC-produced series “Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall” for Investigation Discovery. There were many days when the 9 a.m. hour of “Today” would air on the West Coast while she was anchoring live on MSNBC and ID would run a block of “Deadline: Crime” episodes.
Hall is banking on her extensive TV training to prepare for her next on-air chapter as host of a syndicated daytime talk show distributed by Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International. She sees a clear need in the daytime landscape for a show that will focus on intimate one-on-one interviews with celebrities and others who have a compelling story to share. Earlier this week, Bill Geddie, co-creator and longtime exec producer of “The View,” signed on as executive producer.
“There’s this natural opening for what we all agreed we want to do,” Hall told Variety as she met with station buyers this week at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference here.
Hall aims to draw her guests out on how they navigated struggles and triumphs in stories that are highly relatable to everyday viewers. To wit, in the pilot episode shot last year, Hall had an emotional interview with Bob Harper, the fitness guru who had his life up-ended by a heart attack in early 2017.
Hall promises the still-untitled show will not delve into trashy topics nor will it be a vehicle for celebrity project plugs. The requirement is that guests speak from the heart about “an authentic experience.”
“We can’t walk away happy if they just come on to promote their movie,” Hall said.
The get-real mandate extends to the host. Hall has shared the tragic story of the 2004 murder of her sister, Renate, as a result of domestic violence. She also won’t shy away from her professional setback in early 2017 when she was dropped from “Today” after NBC News cut a rich deal with former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
Kelly’s “Megyn Kelly Today” had a rocky run and was canceled in October after relations between Kelly and NBC News went sour. Hall could be forgiven for gloating a bit at the situation as she gears up for her own show, but she displayed not a whiff of schadenfreude.
“I did not leave NBC with ‘grrrr’ anger,” Hall said. “Was there disappointment? Absolutely. Do I feel phenomenal today? Absolutely. If we’re going to do this show we’ve got to do it right, and that means me telling my truth.”
Hall believes her broad range of experience as a local TV news reporter and anchor will serve her well in the transition to a Monday-Friday talk show. Disney has yet to formally greenlight the series for the fall, although the hiring of Geddie and sales clearances that have reached 70% of the U.S. are a good sign that she’s headed back to daytime in the fall.
“We don’t have to make Tamron into a talk show host,” Hall said. “My partners came to me and said ‘We like all of these relationships you have with viewers. Now let’s pull it all together.”
After growing up in rural Luling, Texas, Hall spent years working in local TV in Chicago, Philadelphia and her native Lone Star state. “I’ve interviewed every celebrity chef there is,” Hall joked. “Give me a microphone, point to the camera and we’ll get it done. I don’t need big packets of information, I don’t have to have a TelePrompTer. It’s just the training I’ve had over the years.”
One of her most eye-opening gigs on TV was her five years hosting the after-show reunions for TLC’s “Sister Wives” reality series revolving around Kody Brown, a polygamist from Utah with four wives and 18 children. By the end of her run, a number of those kids would routinely throw their arms around her when she arrived for the taping.
“I went into that show with preconceived notions of who these people were, and I ended up adoring their children,” Hall said. “I had to break down that barrier for myself to understand them as people.”
Hall has spent most of the past two years giving speeches and attending conferences around the country. She’s heard from many fans who are eager to see her become a regular daytime presence again. She has been heartened and energized by the affection that has come her way, whether she’s on the road or shopping at her local Walmart in Texas.
“Girl, go get ’em — that’s what people say to me,” Hall said. “We all can hope that when we face a tough situation there’s someone behind us saying ‘Go get ’em.’ “