Sara Gilbert's new View; a mom-centered CBS daytime show, The Talk
LOS ANGELES -- She's something of a pioneer already; a gay woman who assembled a daytime talk show featuring six famous moms which will slide into a timeslot once held by the oldest soap opera on television.
But Roseanne alum Sara Gilbert downplayed any such notions while speaking with TV critics here about The Talk, her new show which drew a pointed question from one critic because early press materials for the program discussed all the heterosexual panelists' husbands but omitted her partner, TV producer/writer Allison Adler.
"The first place I wanted to (talk about my partner) was not a CBS press release," said Gilbert, who later shrugged off questions about whether Ellen DeGeneres' experience proved it was easier to be open about being gay in daytime TV.
"I really don't feel like I'm a poster child for anything," she said, after the show's press session concluded. "We'll be inclusive and it's not going to be an issue. I think when something's not an issue that does more for our cause than making it an issue, sometimes."
Gilbert assembled Leah Remini (King of Queens), Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray), Julie Chen (The Early Show), Sharon Osbourne (America's Got Talent) and Holly Robinson Peete (Celebrity Apprentice) for her cast, focusing the show on moms discussing issues -- like a maternal-centered version of ABC's The View.
She raved about the group's "electric chemistry," but it wasn't obvious during the press session, where the hosts seemed a bit tentative, with Remini admitting "sometimes I'm very unlikeable as a person," and insisting her views as a member of the Church of Scientology won't surface in all the personal talk on the program. "That other thing (Scientology), is not even part of my discussion."
Osbourne cracked up the room by saying her husband, legendarily addled rock star Ozzy Osbourne "doesn't even know I'm doing the show. He thinks I've gone to America's Got Talent." After the press conference, Osbourne would admit "I get bored by the baby stuff," saying current events and political topics excite her more.
The show itself seems a tribute to Hollywood networking; Gilbert, who was managed by CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler about 25 years ago, got the idea for her show during classes for new moms (she and Adler have two kids).
Gilbert, who now serves as an executive producer on the show, took the idea to Tassler a year ago and the first co-host she suggested was Chen -- wife of CBS CEO Les Moonves. Still Chen and Tassler resisted suggestions that the marital status of one host might have helped the show get picked up.
"I made the decision (to air the show)," Tassler said during an earlier session with the press. "I don't think Leslie's unhappy with the decision, but we're thrilled to have her."
As more well-known names agreed to participate, CBS cancelled As the World Turns and they had a shot at airing in the network's daytime lineup.
Now they just have to get past all the critics' sniping about who's married to who and how it surfaces on the show.