An­thony An­der­son of ‘black-ish’ hosts an­i­mal talk show

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E -

PASADENA, CALIF. — An an­cient show­biz adage warns ac­tors about work­ing with chil­dren and an­i­mals. An­thony An­der­son, the pa­tri­arch on ABC’s fam­ily com­edy “black-ish,” breaks the sec­ond rule Fri­day with the pre­mière of a talk show on An­i­mal Planet.

“An­i­mal Na­tion” fea­tures An­der­son nar­rat­ing funny an­i­mal videos, talk­ing to celebri­ties about their pets and be­ing the foil when han­dlers Dave Sal­moni and Jack­son Galaxy bring on some ex­otic crea­tures. View­ers were given a taste of the show af­ter last week­end’s “Puppy Bowl” be­fore it set­tles into its reg­u­lar time slot Fri­days at 10 p.m.

An­i­mal lover An­der­son has two dogs at home, a Shih Tzu and a cock­apoo.

“I’ve al­ways been fas­ci­nated by them,” he said. “I’d watch shows like Johnny Car­son and David Let­ter­man when they had an­i­mals and thought, ‘This sounds like fun.’”

He calls “An­i­mal Na­tion” a com­bi­na­tion of the “Tonight” show and “Wild An­i­mal King­dom.”

Among the first celebrity guests are Ge­orge Lopez, Bel­lamy Young, Ch­eryl Hines, Jerry O’Con­nell and Der­mot Mul­roney. His guests are en­cour­aged to bring their pets.

He’s al­ready taped seg­ments be­ing at­tacked by a Ger­man shep­herd while wear­ing a pro­tec­tive suit and care­fully han­dling a poi­sonous snake.

De­spite his love for an­i­mals, the gig seems like an odd choice for a co­me­dian on one of tele­vi­sion’s most crit­i­cally ac­claimed sit­coms. But An­der­son said it fits with one of his am­bi­tions. He called pals Jimmy Fal­lon and Jimmy Kim­mel for ad­vice.

“I’ve al­ways seen my­self as a talk­show host,” he said. “If I can cut my teeth on it with a show like ‘An­i­mal Na­tion’ right now — and hope­fully this runs for a while and we have some fun — then I’ve checked some­thing off my list.”

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