Jennifer Hudson is coming to daytime this fall with the launch of “The Jennifer Hudson Show” on Fox Television Stations.
While the new one-hour talker is not technically Warner Bros. TV’s replacement for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which is coming to an end this year, Hudson’s show is positioned to be the studio’s new flagship daytime talk show once DeGeneres has said her final goodbye after a 19-season run.
As Variety first reported in November, “The Jennifer Hudson Show” also comes from “Ellen” production company Telepictures. “Ellen” executive producers Andy Lassner and Mary Connelly served as showrunners on Hudson’s test show, which was shot last fall on DeGeneres’ stage. The show has been shopped around to station groups since, with Fox TV Stations emerging as the winner.
In addition to being carried by buyer Fox TV Stations, Hudson’s show will also launch on Hearst Television, along with additional station groups representing more than 60% of the country.
“I have experienced so much in my life; I’ve seen the highest of the highs, the lowest of the lows, and just about everything in between, but as my mother always told me, ‘Once you think you’ve seen it all, just keep on living,’” Hudson said in a statement Wednesday. “People from around the world have been a part of my journey from the beginning — twenty years ago — and I’m so ready to join their journey as we sit down and talk about the things that inspire and move us all. I have always loved people, and I cannot wait to connect on a deeper level and let audiences see the different sides of who I am, the human being, in return. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to do it alongside this incredible team. We’re about to have a lot of fun and shake things up a little bit!”
Hudson’s show marks a reunion of sorts between Hudson and Mike Darnell, the president of unscripted and alternative television at Warner Bros. Prior to Warner Bros., Darnell was the longtime head of alternative at Fox, where he oversaw the massive “Idol” franchise. Hudson was a finalist on the show’s third season, in 2004, and although she didn’t win the competition, it set the stage for her career explosion: Soon after, she was cast in the film adaptation of “Dreamgirls” — which earned her the Oscar for best supporting actress.
“I knew that Jennifer was a force to be reckoned with from the moment I met her nearly 20 years ago,” Darnell said Wednesday. “From her Grammy-winning career in music, to her Oscar-winning acting career, Jennifer’s amazing talent, big heart and authenticity shine through in everything she does. I am thrilled to be working with her in this new role. She’s a natural, and I know audiences will embrace her in their homes every day.”
David Decker, executive vice president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, added: “Daytime has found its Dreamgirl. We are excited to bring Jennifer Hudson to Fox, Hearst and all our broadcast station partners this fall. Warner Bros. stands as the cornerstone between A-list talent and top tier stations building successful brands that drive audiences.”
The pickup of “The Jennifer Hudson Show” marks the arrival of a second “American Idol” alum to the daytime talker space, as Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson has hosted “The Kelly Clarkson Show” for NBCUniversal Syndication Studios since 2019. “Kelly Clarkson Show” has been renewed through 2023 and runs before “Ellen” on major market NBC stations. (Those stations have previously announced that “Kelly Clarkson” will slide into the “Ellen” slot next season.)
DeGeneres announced in May that she would end “Ellen” after 19 seasons when her contract ends in 2022. She had originally planned to end the show in 2019, but renewed for three final years. (The show hit a bump last year over concerns about its work environment, however.) It was understood at the time that Telepictures had been preparing for DeGeneres’ departure; among the rumored names that had been approached to take on a new show was Jennifer Aniston.
Daytime talk is notoriously tough to crack, with most entries folding after their initial two-year station deals. “Ellen” was a tremendous exception, lasting nearly two decades and spawning spinoffs such as “Ellen’s Game of Games,” “The Masked Dancer,” “Family Game Fight” and “Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways.”
“As the syndication business continues to go through a major sea change, we need power players to reenergize talk shows, and Jennifer Hudson is just that,” Frank Cicha, executive vice president of programming at Fox Television Stations, said Wednesday.
“The Jennifer Hudson Show” is produced in Los Angeles by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Telepictures and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.