You probably know Fran Drescher best from her role on the classic hit sit-com The Nanny. Or maybe you know her from her groundbreaking Cancer Schmancer Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring women's cancers are diagnosed while in Stage 1, the most curable stage.
Well now Drescher is stepping into a new role - and bringing all her life experience with her. (That includes writing, producing, directing … and so much more.)
The Fran Drescher Show debuts Friday, November 26, in preview mode. The daily weekday program will be available for a limited time on Fox-owned stations in New York (WNYW), Los Angeles (KTTV), Philadelphia (WTXF), Phoenix (KSAZ), Minneapolis (KMSP) and Orlando (WOFL). If the show is a hit, it'll roll out nationally in the 2011-2012 season.
"It's going to be everything from politics to pedicures," says Drescher.
We took a few minutes to chat with Drescher about her new show and her foray into the talk show world. And - surprse, surprise - she charmed the socks off of us.
About Talk Shows: What made you decide to take the leap and become a talk show host?
Fran Drescher: I like doing new things and reinventing myself. I think my life experience, particularly, since the completion of The Nanny, my life has taken me in directions as a women's health advocate, a lobbyist in Washington, a public diplomacy envoy, the founder of the Cancer Schmancer Movement and an outspoken citizen on civil liberties, ecology and education - I think I have reinvented myself in a way that makes people more accepting of me as an intelligent woman with a point of view, in addition to having played the beloved character of Fran Fine on The Nanny.
ATS: Daytime TV is a pretty competitive place for talk shows these days. What sets "The Fran Drescher Show" apart ?
FD: It's gonna be Frantastic!
The show is "Franized," which means everything about it is filtered through my lens. Since I'm a unique personality to begin with, there is nothing that's going to be generic or recycled.
It's going to have a fresh attitude and do things that are different. As a women's health advocate and a public diplomacy envoy for women's issues, I feel like daytime gives me an opportunity to play to my strengths.
It's going to be everything from pedicures to politics. I'm going to have a roundtable discussion about global issues with five-year olds. A few of my cousins will give relationship advice to women in the audience. There will be a live band as well; we're going to invite musical acts. I'm going to have a lot of family and friends on the show, which is going to give it more of a reality edge. Lastly, I'm going to try and unite the nation by celebrating all that we share in common, as well as our differences.
ATS: Are there talk shows or hosts that you're drawing inspiration from? Who are some of your favorite hosts on the air today?
FD: Love Oprah, of course! I also liked The Rosie Show, Carol Burnett and Tracey Ullman… all very unique in their own way. I'm going to do Q&A like Carol Burnett. I'm going to be the bumpers of the show like Tracey Ullman did. I want the show to have a band like Rosie and be glamorous, like ladies who lunch like Dinah Shore and Virginia Graham.
ATS: How has the transition been from weekly television to daily talk show?
FD: Well, I haven't actually started taping yet, but it seems like there's more shows to do, and you have to be able to work well without a script.
ATS: You're well known for your commitment to raising awareness of early cancer screening, prevention and education. Will you bring some of that spirit of community involvement to the show as well?
FD: Definitely. I'm going to have Cancer Schmancer segments. I want to move people and unite them and encourage them to be proactive.
People hand too much over to our elected officials and are too passive as citizens. I want to motivate and remind Americans that this is the government by the people and for the people. We will talk about issues that affect all of us. I'll be setting up on our website a petition page where viewers will be able to sign the petition to let our elected officials know that a particular subject is important to us… like taking toxins out of baby shampoo.
ATS: Any final thoughts you'd like to share with fans and viewers?
FD: Tune in November 26th on Fox, and I hope you enjoy!