Steve Harvey has been a successful stand-up comedian and the star of his own sitcom. He hosts a radio show, presides over "Family Feud," and more recently, generated plenty of buzz with his relationship advice book "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," and the big-screen film it inspired.
Still, there are new worlds to conquer. Starting Tuesday (Sept. 4), Harvey, 55, enters the realm of daytime talk with his syndicated show, "Steve Harvey" (3 p.m., NBC 11), an effort he hopes will be "inspiring, informative, uplifting and funny."
He'll have a lot of company. Also coming to daytime this fall are Katie Couric, Jeff Probst and Trish Goddard. Harvey took some time recently to phone us from Chicago and chat about his latest endeavor and his approach to the competition.
Q: Why a talk show? Why now?
A: I've always wanted to do one. That was the dream. But my goal for years was late night. I'm a stand-up comedian and that's where all my counterparts were. Jay Leno. George Lopez. Conan. Letterman. Kimmel. ... But my life changed and I evolved as a person. I got more into family and faith. And then was "Family Feud" and my book for women, the movie, and I was thrust more into the mainstream. So daytime started to feel like a better fit.
Q: What do you bring to the daytime mix that might be missing?
A: Well, a man's perspective, for one. You don't see much of that. Plus, I'm funny. Daytime needs more funny.
A: Not really. But she sent me some flowers and some stuff, which was real nice. She's on my dream-guest list.
Q: Are there any plans to have her on?
A: Probably not right away. She's a busy woman. If I had a billion dollars, I'd be hard to contact too.
Q: You said that you're more interested in having "everyday" people on your show, than celebrities. Why is that?
A: They're just more interesting and relatable. Rich people and celebrities don't have the same issues. Plus, (regular people) tend to show up. And you don't have to put M&Ms and other stuff in their dressing rooms.
Q: That said, you're a celebrity. What makes you relatable?
A: I've had a lot of experience with both success and failure. Most people see me as a down-to-earth person they can connect with. And I think they appreciate the fact that I'm not PC. I've have opinions. I'm an open book. That's my brand: "OK, I've had a couple of failed marriages. That's cool, but let me tell you why they failed and what went wrong, why the majority of the time it was my fault, and why the one I'm in now is working so well."
Q: Surely, your female fan base has grown since the movie and the book. What kind of reaction do you get when you're out in the public?
A: I was walking to my car in a parking garage one day and I heard this loud clicking on the pavement. A woman in high heels was rushing toward me. She was all out of breath. She told me, "I just want to say that I got the (engagement) ring and I want to thank you so much." ... I've had women tell me that I changed their life. Amazing stuff like that.
Q: You're taking a risk with a talk show. Why do you think so many fail?
A: I don't really know. And I don't approach a new project thinking that way. I only focus on what it will take to win. I've been around a long time and I've learned a lot about what you can say and what you can't. I know that women don't like to be talked down to, and that people, in general, don't like it when you try to dumb things down.
Q: You've got a large crowd of contenders coming to daytime. They generally say they're focused on their own shows and they refrain from thinking about the competition. Is that your approach?
A: Sure, you focus on your own show, but I'm a winner. No. 3 is not the mark. You don't go to the Olympics to get bronze. I want the gold medal. Anyone who says they don't is kidding you. I have a lot riding on this and I have no idea how things will turn out, but I don't think God would bring me this far to leave me now.