When Tyra Banks’ self-titled daytime talk show went off the air at the end of 2009, it appeared as though the former model was done with the format. She talked about being a film producer with her Bankable Studios as well as extending the brands of her signature shows, America’s Top Model and True Beauty.
This morning at ABC Daytime’s portion of TCA, Banks made it known — she’s back. While she was courted by ABC over the years to return to the daytime format, what made the difference for her was ABC Daytime and syndicated programming EVP Lisa Hackner who joined at the end of 2013. Banks worked with Hackner when she was at Telepictures overseeing Tyra.
“She pulled me back,” exclaimed Banks who responded to Hackner’s idea for the former model to be the host of a roundtable show FABLife. Banks could still executive producer, but wouldn’t have to carry the burden of the series on her back. “It’s nice to have a family and less stress,” said Banks referring to her co-hosts all who bring different talents to the show: Leah Ashley (billed as a “do-it-yourself” girl by Banks when it comes to transforming chairs out of the dumpster into fashionable living room pieces), Joe Zee (a fashion guru with a penchant for the affordable), Chrissy Teigen (the show’s cook) and Lauren Makk (“She makes your home gorgeous and obtainable,” beamed Banks).
On her personal decision to leave the talk show circuit in 2009, the former Victoria’s Secret Angel cited the fact that she was juggling Tyra along with America’s Top Model at the time. “I was probably at my most lucrative and most unhappy. So, when Tyra ended, I said, I’m done with talk. I’ll go to business school and work on taking America’s Top Model internationally.”
Despite the dog-eat-dog world of daytime shows, Banks believes she has something different here. “We don’t have an opening jingle, we have an opening single. We also have pop art hanging on the set,” said Banks about her attempt to change the game up. The biggest takeaway for Banks after the slew of gravitas topics she dealtwith on Tyra is she “can’t take home the dirty Oprah with this show.”
Banks addressed the lack of creativity impacting TV’s daytime part. “What’s hurting daytime is innovation. What I noticed over time from a production standpoint is that these (talk) shows have the same content, same theme song, same-looking set; they just add a different person. When I look at the shows like Scanal, How To Get Away With Murder, Orange Is the New Black and Transparent, they’re taking chances and risks.” One of the mantras on her FABLife is according to Banks “If it’s been done before, we’re like, make it different.”
One reporter asked pointedly about Banks’ FABLife whether men would watch this show.
“We want everybody to watch this show, however, I’m going to be giving business tips, which men will want to listen to,” Banks promised.
“Many people who work in daytime think you can talk down to audiences in daytime,” said Banks, “But they’re savvy.”
We reported back in June, that FABLife is cleared in over 90% of the country, Formerly The FAB, the show will broadcast from Los Angeles in front of a live audience. In addition to Banks, today’s panel includeed Teigen, Zee, Makk, Ashley, EP Shane Farley and co-EP Rebecca Mayer.