The Social aims to spark a Canadian conversation
TORONTO — Four candid, outspoken female hosts discussing hot-button topics on a daytime talk show. Sound familiar?
The concept of The Social, which premieres Monday at 1 p.m. on CTV, will inevitably call to the mind The View, arguably the blueprint of the all-women roundtable genre now omnipresent on TV, but rather than shy away from the association, the women fronting the new Canadian chatfest embrace the connection some may make between the homegrown newcomer and its long-running U.S. counterpart.
“First of all, we welcome those comparisons,” said Traci Melchor sitting alongside fellow co-host Lainey Lui.
“You take a successful institution like The View that’s been around for 17 seasons... it’s an incredible feat that Barbara Walters has created this and it’s been through many incarnations with a variety of people on the panel.
“The Social is going to be different in the fact that it’s going to be Lainey Lui, Traci Melchor, Cynthia Loyst and Melissa Grelo, and we’re going to bring our own experience — not just as broadcasters — but as people and as women in Canada.”
Lui said they want viewers to “come for the conversation” that will open each show, where the quartet will debate a wide range of subjects that are already familiar entities in the daytime talk landscape, such as news, pop culture and lifestyles topics. How The Social seeks to distinguish itself from competitors in the genre is by fully integrating social media — and by extension, the home viewer — into the in-studio fray.
Premières Monday at 1 p.m.
Melchor said each of the hosts will be equipped with tablets and plan to encourage those watching to send them their tweets, emails, photos and Facebook posts — digital tidbits that may also provide fodder for future onair segments.
“It will spark a conversation. It might even spark an argument. We might disagree with that tweet and we might go for it,” said Lui, who is also the gossip blogger behind the popular website Lainey Gossip.
“The viewer will feel like they’re part of that conversation because they’re driving it, they’re directing it and they’re being heard — not just in a superficial way by flashing it on the screen, but actually telling us to react to what they’re saying.”
The Social will also feature guest hosts inhabiting what Melchor and Lui referred to as “the fifth chair.” While they were mum on who they’ve already lined up to sit in, they each have dream candidates to fill the guest host role: designer Karl Lagerfeld and poet Maya Angelou for Melchor and author J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter superfan Lui.
The launch of the new series adds to the already lengthy list of responsibilities for Loyst, a relationship expert and new mom, and Grelo, a morning show co-host and news anchor on Toronto cable channel CP24. Melchor and Lui plan to remain onboard in their roles as on-air reporters with CTV entertainment news show eTalk, albeit in a scaled-back role.
“We so enjoy our jobs, we really like our gigs, and we also love our lives outside of television,” said Melchor, a mother of twins. “I think that if you’re not a fully formed human being and you don’t have a life outside of television you can’t bring true content to this show. You can’t. Because you’ll have nothing to talk about.
“You have to be a little self-deprecating, you have to have a little heartbreak and a little laughter... You have to have those stories to bring to the show.”
While the all-female panel seeks to make The Social relatable to women watching across the country, that’s not to say that men aren’t welcome to join the party.
Melchor said they plan to delve into subjects which will have a broad interest for viewers regardless of gender, such as advice on pet care, tips for handling a move or eating on the go. That said, she stressed she didn’t want to stereotype men and assume they wouldn’t want to watch segments or discussion on subjects seemingly geared towards women — a sentiment echoed by Lui.
“Let’s not shortchange men,” she said. “Our crew is primarily male, and when we’re doing our discussions off the top of the show we can hear them muttering to themselves or muttering to each other about whether or not they’re agreeing or disagreeing with what we’re saying.
“I think it’s short-sighted to assume men won’t be interested in these topics. We are confident that we will be able to present the conversation in a universally appealing way.”
The Social will also air weekdays at 6 p.m. on E!