Fox News Channel is premiering Harvey Levin’s new series Objectified at 8 PM ET Sunday in the teeth of CBS’ Emmy Awards broadcast. In what might be further nose-thumbing at that network — or perhaps at Donald Trump’s least favorite late-night star Stephen Colbert, who is hosting the trophy ceremony — FNC’s counterprogram plan has Levin interviewing CBS first-run syndication star Judge Judy Sheindlin.
Levin insists he does not know why FNC set this Sunday for the launch, calling it “above my pay grade.” He is, however, very happy his 10-episode order landed a Sunday timeslot; FNC originally set it for Fridays, which is where it aired Levin’s original Objectified interview special, with Donald Trump, back in November. TV critics dismissed it as reality-TV fluff, but the special clocked more than 4 million viewers, nearly 1 million in the news demo, besting CNN’s Don Lemon and MSNBC’s The Last Word combined in the hour while logging FNC’s best Friday in a year.
Upcoming episodes feature Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martha Stewart, Tyler Perry, Mark Cuban and Shaquille O’Neal, among others.
Celebrity interviews, the brains behind the TMZ brand acknowledged, have become “white noise.” Levin seeks to distinguish his celebrity interview show by getting subjects to participate in a show-and-tell about objects they have hung on to over the years. Trump produced a letter Richard Nixon sent after the real estate mogul defended him on a daytime talk show; also, predictably, Trump’s boardroom chair from The Apprentice.
“Tyler Perry’s Walmart pajamas are really kind of surprising,” Levin said, when asked if any prized object surprised him. Another, he said, showed him a rock that had been passed along from person to person in the subject’s life. While just a rock, “boy did it mean a lot for that person,” Levin enthused.
Levin says he took a world globe he got at age 6 to the pitch meeting to illustrate the concept. “It reminds me of my entire childhood,” the Levin explained, talking about growing up in San Fernando Valley, working in his father’s liquor store and creating a “fantasy world” in which he globe-trotted in his imagination.