Baltimore Sun

Emmy winner Hall hopes ups, downs of career inspire women

- By Gary Gerard Hamilton

Two sparkly golden trophies gleam behind Tamron Hall on the set of her nationally syndicated talk show. But despite recently kicking off its fourth season, the “Tamron Hall” show is not a well-oiled machine — and that’s intentiona­l.

“The only thing that shines in this room are the Emmys. I want this show to evolve. And if it’s well-oiled, I believe that you’re not looking under the hood,” said the host who recently took home her second outstandin­g informativ­e talk show host Emmy. Hall said she wants to make sure the show is “talking about what you’re talking about.”

Finding a respectabl­e place within the highly contested world of daytime talk that includes shows hosted by Drew Barrymore, Kelly Clarkson and Rachael Ray, along with juggernaut­s like “Dr. Phil,” “The View,” “Live with Kelly and Ryan” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which recently ended, Hall faces even more competitio­n as several shows hosted by Black celebritie­s will premiere. But while proclaimin­g Oprah Winfrey as the undisputed greatest talk show host of all time, she’s unsure if the iconic show created lanes for Black daytime personalit­ies like many assumed it would.

“There were no Black women on for many, many years after Oprah Winfrey. So, clearly someone didn’t get the memo. There was an absence of representa­tion of diversity in daytime,” explained Hall. “I think that many people believe that that was an anomaly, that Oprah Winfrey was a fantastic, transforma­tional person,

but (they) did not look to widen the community of daytime television.”

Popping up on TV screens across the nation are “Sherri,” hosted by comedian Sherri Shepherd which replaces Wendy Williams’ drama-riddled show; “The Jennifer Hudson Show” starring the Grammy and Oscar winner; and “Karamo,” hosted by media personalit­y and “Queer Eye” star Karamo Brown. But despite a daytime race sure to become even more competitiv­e, Hall is focusing on what she does best, citing her nearly 30 years as a journalist.

“I wish I could sing, but I can’t. I wish I was funny, but I’m not,” Hall said with a laugh. “At the end of the day, I can’t look at their shows and size myself up against them because we don’t do the same thing.”

Cautioning viewers and critics to not lump them all together, Hall declared, “we are owed the respect to recognize what each of us bring to the table and how each of us are different. And I think that’s very important at this time where we are seeing a number of shows hosted by people who happen to be Black. We’re not all the same, and to make us all

the same is unfair.”

Hall has continued to stay busy with other projects; she just finished writing the second book in her “As the Wicked Watch” series, and she’s working on a children’s book inspired by her son and Harlem home.

It might seem like a broadcast lifetime ago when Hall left NBC in

2017 amid controvers­y after the network gambled by replacing her “Today” hour with Megyn Kelly by luring her away from Fox News — NBC would lose that bet after the show was canceled in the second year of Kelly’s three-year contract. But despite the ups and downs of her career, Hall hopes women see themselves in her.

“I hope that I serve as an inspiratio­n to women over 40 in particular. Back in the day, if someone had been fired at 46 years old, you would have disappeare­d and maybe saw me at Target and say, ‘Is that Tamron Hall?’ ” the host laughed. “Our workplaces don’t define us. I hope that’s what people see in this show, in my journey: that I had an opportunit­y, the choice to define myself, and with good people around me, I think I made the right choice.”

 ?? JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION ?? Tamron Hall holds the Emmy for outstandin­g informativ­e talk show host June 24 in California.
JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION Tamron Hall holds the Emmy for outstandin­g informativ­e talk show host June 24 in California.

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