Julie Chen Talks 'The Talk," Starting Monday!

By: From MSN-TV's Deanna Barnert
By: From MSN-TV's Deanna Barnert

HOLLYWOOD -- Move over "The View": A new team of women is ready to talk "The Talk"! Hosted by Hollywood moms Julie Chen, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remini and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

CBS's new one-hour daytime talk show "The Talk" promises to dish on real world headlines, pop culture, mom culture and more. Chen gave MSN TV the story on what viewers can expect and why you don't have to be a mom to tune in when the show premieres on October 18, in the time slot left vacant by "As the World Turns."

MSN TV: How did this idea of a talk show with moms come about?

Julie Chen: When [executive producer/actress] Sara Gilbert was nursing her baby, she felt very alone and had to join a support group, but not everyone woman can get out of the house for that type of support. How easy would it be to turn on the television and feel like you're with your girlfriends and you can relate? And not feel you're the worst mother in the world because you did this or that, because there are women in the public eye, like us, saying, "I'm not proud of it, but I do the same thing"?

Does that mean "The Talk" is going to be all diaper talk?

Julie Chen: No, no. This show will speak to moms, but not just moms. It'll be whatever everyone's talking about in the news, in addition to typical mom topics, like fast food versus going vegan.

When girlfriends get together, talk can get trashy: Can we expect that from "The Talk"?

Julie Chen: I hope so! I want this show to feel as if you're watching six women dish it out about what everybody else is buzzing about, from "What would you do if you were married to Tiger Woods'" to those Mel Gibson tapes, to things that are more serious, like the oil spill. Or if, God forbid, something like 9/11 happened while we're on the air, we would talk about it and one angle would be, "How do you explain this to your kids?"

Is there any topic you're hoping to avoid?

Julie Chen: Not yet. If there is one, it would probably be because my husband [Les Moonves, CBS president and chief executive] would say, "I don't think you talking about that would work for us at home." I'm a pretty open person. I'll talk about anything and everything.

How does it feel to join an ensemble of hosts after doing things on your own for so long?

Julie Chen: I'm so excited. I love all the women I'm working with, because each is smart, funny, dynamic and brings something different to the table.

Which of your co-hosts surprised you the most?

Julie Chen: Sharon Osbourne. The more I'm around her, the more respect and admiration I have for her. She's the Mama Bear. She'll speak her mind and doesn't care who doesn't approve. She's seen it all, done it all, been there and done that. She has old school values and I respect that. I'm Chinese-American and my parents are so traditional, so I relate to that in her. She's married to a rock star, so I guess it just goes to show you can't judge a book by its cover!

What do the other ladies bring to the table?

Julie Chen: I said to Sara Gilbert, "I think you're the voice of reason," after we shot the pilot. She said "I thought that's what you're here for." [laughs] Leah is hysterical, without trying to be. She's got that East Coast mentality, real girl thing. Marissa is a young parent. I love that she's honest about things, like sitting on the couch and having a McDonald's happy meal for her kid. Sara's like, "You know you're giving him poison," but I think Marissa will represent a lot of the moms out there who are trying to keep it all together. Holly is balancing four kids and a career and brings another perspective on being a young mother. She has a child with special needs and that's something a lot of people out there are dealing with.

Any guests you're hoping to have on "The Talk"?

Julie Chen: I would love to have Michelle Obama on.

What about your son, Charlie, who is a year old: Will you bring him to work?

Julie Chen: I don't know if you'll see him on the show. Probably not. When I interviewed Isla Fisher, I asked her about her daughter, Olive, and she said, "She didn't choose to be on camera like I did." That stayed with me. I thought, "That's what I'm going to do with my son." Someone made a reference to Cody and Cassidy, earlier. I love Kathie Lee, but I'm not going to be that way.

Who does Charlie take after, you or Les?

Julie Chen: This kid has got confidence like my husband. He's got so much personality. He's a miniature, Chinese Les Moonves.

How do you feel about doing a show where you're actually sharing your life and being yourself, instead being the newswoman or "Big Brother" host?

Julie Chen: It's huge and there is a bit of that fear that people will say, "Ugh, that's what she's like?" I feel like people don't know me at all. On "The Early Show," to a certain level, there is a bit of a performance. I feel I have to stay neutral and that's not me. I can't wait to say what I feel about issues and look forward to being myself. This is a new thing for me, but I'm ready for it, because a lot of nasty things have already been written about me - people judging me, thinking they know me. The hope is people who were not fans will be like, "She's all right. She's actually kind of funny."

"The Talk" premieres on CBS on Monday, October 18, at 1:00 on Channel 13, WIBW-TV.

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