Jennifer Hudson is a proud EGOT, an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner who has proven herself on screen, stage and in music. Her next intended conquest: daytime TV.
‘The Jennifer Hudson Show,’ starting Monday in the US, is among the newcomers jumping into the void left by the end of long-running shows hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, Wendy Williams and Maury Povich.
Hudson isn’t fretting about her competitors, including fellow newcomers ‘Sherri’ with Sherri Shepherd and ‘Karamo’ with Karamo Brown of ‘Queer Eye.’ Her personal and professional experiences have prepared her for the challenge, Hudson said.
She’s paying tribute to her start as a contestant on ‘American Idol’ with her first guest, former judge Simon Cowell.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the Chicago native talks about why a daytime show has been a “dream,” whether singing will be part of it and how she’ll balance her other pursuits with the day job. Remarks have been edited for clarity and length.
Why a talk show and why now?
HUDSON: It’s been a dream of mine, and I’ve been blessed to achieve a lot of my goals and dreams thus far. This is yet another one. Now, at 40, I have learned enough and I’ve earned the right to be able to sit on the couch and talk to somebody. Throughout my career, some people have gotten to know me through characters and through song, but I want people to have a chance to know my humour. I’ve always been the kind to want to know my supporters. I was on an `American Idol’ journey, and it took people to help me reach those goals and those dreams. Now I want to be that vehicle for someone else. Having the talk show allows me a platform to share with someone else.
Daytime shows can have a combination of elements including interviews with celebrities and ordinary folks, comedy and music. In putting together the show, what have you found is working best?
HUDSON: Just simply being myself and drawing from my life experiences. I’ve been able to travel the world and then live an everyday life, so my life is blended with all of those things, and I feel like the show will be a reflection of that. My show will be a place where everyone is welcome. Everyone has a story, and I want to highlight that. For my life, personally, I’ve seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows and everything in between. So the show will reflect life.
The daytime TV field feels both wide-open and competitive with your show and other newcomers. Is competition something you relish, or do you plan to do your thing and let others like Sherri Shepherd do theirs?
HUDSON: I love Sherri and she’s a Chicago girl. We at Jhud Productions, we love to support everybody. But as for myself, it goes back to what my mother always told me: `All you can do is the best that you can do.’ I use that same method in everything that I do, and I plan to with this. My goal is just to bring people together. I love to see people come together on positivity and good energy and love. Obviously, we’re in a time where it’s so many things going on that we really need a place where we can escape, have fun, express ourselves or simply just be. And I want to help be that.
Given the demands of launching a daily show, can you also work as an actor and singer, or do you expect to put those off to the side for now?
HUDSON: Saying goodbye to them is like saying goodbye to myself. It’s all a part of me, and you make room for what you love. Once I find the balance, then I’ll find the places. The way my career is designed has helped me engage with a lot of people, which has led me to this (show). When they say, would you choose singing or acting, I hope I never have to choose between any of them.
Do you plan to sing on the show?
HUDSON: More, I think, as an expression or whatever the moment requires, I don’t want anything that’s just like planned and I hold the mic up under my chin, and here’s a song today. It just has to hit my spirit, or maybe something triggers a song. Or I may just want to sing to you and lift your spirits. Or if you want to dance, I’m ready for that too. Whatever makes you happy.