With Ellen DeGeneres ending her reign as the headliner of daytime television after 19 years, much has been done about the role that kindness, or lack thereof, has in the talk show landscape. During the day, which will undergo a major change with the departure of Ellen, the attribute has become a kind of currency. Rosie O’Donnell steered the genre in that direction after being dubbed “The Queen of Nice,” and Ellen followed suit with her now-ironic “Be kind to each other” signature. But when it comes to the genuine warmth and kindness on daytime TV, no one has done it better than Bonnie Hunt, whose talk show led with unparalleled authenticity and heart during the day.
Anyone who saw one of her late-night appearances knew that Hunt had what it takes to host a talk show, so understandably she had long been courted for the gig, including declining. The late show in 2005. From Carson to Letterman, she had a unique ability to have instant chemistry with everyone she sat next to, including Regis Philbin, who urged her make the jump during a guest accommodation stay on Living with Régis and Kelly. “You were born to be a talk show host,” he told her. She finally agreed in 2008 with the launch of her main show, a healthy, old-fashioned tribute to Dean-Martin with Midwestern charm.
The Bonnie Hunt Show, which aired for two seasons from 2008 to 2010, was a top-notch comfort television that brought out the sharp wit and down-to-earth sensibility of its host. It was a comedic playground, home to skits like Hunt and Niecy Nash’s Real housewives parodies, remote parts shopping at Costco, and segments like “Mail From You Guys” and “Feel Good Moment of the Day”.
There was a sense of community around the show that played on Hunt’s strengths. As one of seven kids who cut their teeth in Second City, it’s no surprise that she excels as a member of a team. On her talk show, this team was filled with familiar faces, like her writing partner and producer Don Lake, her frequent co-star Holly Wortell, and of course, a full-fledged star Alice, Hunt’s mother, who has Skype for her. own weekly segment. They all helped create an environment of camaraderie in which Hunt thrived.
That joke spread to her interviews, which ran the gamut from new talent to reality stars, but she was more in her element when speaking to the legends she revered. “I made sure I had everyone I ever wanted to talk to in my life,” she told Danny Pellegrino on the podcast Everything is emblematic. Guests like Carol Burnett, Dick Van Dyke, and Betty White looked comfortable on the nostalgic set and displayed Hunt’s deep adoration for pop culture.
But the heart of the show was when she just told a story on camera, demonstrating a Regis-like ability to talk about anything and make it entertaining. His stories were well-oiled machines, as if they had been told for years on the porch on a summer night in the old quarter. Let it be a heartbreaking history about her father’s death and the chance encounter that kept her in nursing school because of her grief or just accidentally buying too many power bars at Bed Bath & Beyond – each had an authenticity and a sense of humor that connected with the audience.
She is a storyteller, whatever the medium, and her film career has allowed her to tell great stories, such as Jerry maguire, Jumanji, and Come back to me – the latter of which she wrote and directed. And while her sitcom efforts were short-lived, she was a trailblazer who was not only one of the first women to write, produce, direct, and star on her own show, but she was also extremely prolific. In Life with Bonnie alone, Hunt and Lake wrote all 44 episodes, and Hunt herself directed all but three of them.
While far-reaching, his work is also incredibly cohesive, with the common thread being a humor rooted in reality, often displayed through his improvisational ability to match that of his friend and co-star Robin Williams. The tool served him well on the screen Jerry maguire‘s “Don’t cry at the start of a date. Cry at the end, like I do.”) and that continued into the day she was a pro at being quick on her feet.
Hunt’s show also marks a midpoint in the trajectory that daytime television has taken – once a place for lesser-known personalities to make names for themselves as Hosts become A-list and A-listers become Hosts. Hunt, a successful actor, demonstrated it in action. Since then, full-fledged stars like Drew Barrymore and Kelly Clarkson (who will replace Ellen as NBC’s “headliner”) have waded through the highly competitive waters of the day. But the genre doesn’t discriminate when it comes to fame, and after two seasons, The Bonnie Hunt Show was one of the many victims.
By describing his film Come back to me, Hunt said she was planning on making a movie you wanted to slip into. It is a notion that describes his work as a whole, and The Bonnie Hunt ShowThe warmth and cheerful atmosphere of it’s certainly do the trick. She connected so well with the ordinary person because she herself was first and foremost an ordinary person. In a landscape that is now teeming with overly fancy shows creating artificial moments for instant gratification of YouTube clicks, we could do with a little more Bonnie Hunt.