Karamo Brown’s syndicated talk show “Karamo” has been renewed for Season 2.
The news was announced Thursday morning by NBCUniversal Syndication Studios & E! News executive vice president Tracie Wilson.
To date, “Karamo” is sold in 85% of the country and appears on leading station groups across the country including Nexstar, Weigel, Tegna, Sunbeam, Hearst, Sinclair, Capitol, Block, CW Plus, Mission Broadcasting and more. “Karamo” is executive produced by Kerry Shannon and co-executive produced by Gloria Harrison-Hall.
I talked to Brown, who first shot to fame as one of the five stars of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” ahead of the renewal announcement over Zoom from his L.A. home.
I feel like anytime we spoke in the past, you would tell me your dream was to host a talk show. You’ve been manifesting this. This is has been your ultimate dream.
My ultimate goal since day one. Only thing that I ever wanted. Only thing. Everything was always with the purpose of, how can I get here? And to know that we got there — we got a second season. Gayle King was like, “The talk show graveyard is real after Season 1.” And she was like, “I pray that you don’t come in that graveyard with me.” It put a fear in my mind, even though when she said that she was encouraging. Everyone’s been encouraging and the audience received it and it got picked it up.
Let’s talk about the first season. Is there anything you would’ve done differently now that you’ve been through it?
There were things that organically weren’t me, but we were trying to mix it up. For instance, I was dancing in the first couple episodes. I mean, literally doing TikTok dances on stage, and I’m so thankful we’re not anymore. I’m a 42-year-old man. I’m very glad I’m not doing those things. But on “Queer Eye,” we do dancing and we do all these things, and it was like, how do you mix those things in? And then we realized that what we need to lean into is that people want to tell me about their pain and they want me to help heal them. Once we got into that, it was great.
So your TikTok dancing didn’t heal people?
It did not. [Laughs]. We had a couple of me, a mom and a daughter dancing, but it did not heal. It was a mess. It was literally a mess. I mean TikTok cheers me up at nighttime scrolling through, but just not me on a national stage.
What’s the one episode from the first season that stands out as the most meaningful for you?
It was the second episode that I ever shot. It was a mother and daughter, and they were at odds fighting, screaming. Pain comes out in anger, and these women were expressing the anger sitting across each other on the couch. And I realized quickly that it was generational trauma. She was 15 when she had her daughter. Her daughter was 14 when she had her child. They both were raped. They both had these issues and neither of them knew how to see each other and realize that they had the power to heal and break. I got them to a place where they started hearing each other. They were crying and I said, “Can I give you therapy?” I got down on my knees and begged these two Black women to take therapy. And they both begrudgingly said yes.
You replaced Maury and he was a very specific type of talk show host. Was there ever a moment where people said, “We should make this a celebrity talk show, we should be having celebrities with you?”
I’m going to be real with you — I love Jennifer Hudson. I watch her show. I love Sherri Shepherd. I’m not one of these haters who’ll be like, “I don’t like them.” I love what they’re doing. I love it. And there’s a place for that. But I need to stay in my lane. My lane is from “Queer Eye,” my lane is from when I first met you working in social services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. I have always been helping regular people. I didn’t help any celebrities. You’re great at talking to celebrities, but I get awkward. I like my lane. I think also with Dr. Phil retiring, I’ll be one of the last in this lane, and I plan to be the last to revive it where there’s now more behind me.
So what does this mean for “Queer Eye?”
Please let there be 40 more seasons of “Queer Eye.” First of all, I love working with those four yahoos, but secondly, I grew up poor. Just because you got a new job, you don’t leave the old one. I don’t know how rich people do it, but just because you’ve got a new check, don’t mean you leave the old check. Also, “Queer Eye” was a training ground for me to do what I’m doing here. It allowed me to really work on my skills to make sure I knew what I was doing and to make sure I was having those breakthroughs before I even knew I could do it on my own talk show. We’re praying and we’re hoping that fans will write in because I don’t think any reality show on Netflix has ran past eight seasons, so we’re going to be the longest. We want to keep going.
Let’s talk about the LGBTQ community right now, specifically that the drag community and the trans community are becoming political punching bags, literally and figuratively.
It’s about making sure that I never stop normalizing it. And so on my talk show, I have LGBTQIA+ guests, and it is nothing like you would’ve saw in the ’90s. I had a couple on, it just aired a week and a half ago, a trans man. And we talked about them in a relationship and talking about him having a hysterectomy.
Would you ever bring these right-wing politicians onto your show?
Never. The reason being is because I’m not equipped to have all the facts like CNN, like an Anderson Cooper who’s been studying this, [like] Rachel Maddow. I wish Jonathan Van Ness could get a late night talk show. They study politics. I don’t study politics, I study emotions. I would do a disservice trying to argue with a politician on my show, but what I will do is bring someone on my show and show them how their actions are hurting their child and how when you do these things, how this is hurting someone and talk about it from a feeling space. I would do that.
This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.