“Everything that happens on a talk show has been scripted to the point that it is lifeless, and you see people go through the many, many talk shows that we have, giving the exact same shill every time,” he said in January during the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “A beautiful talk show appearance should not be a synthesis of the work of a publicist and a celebrity and a production staff and a talk show host. I'm not saying every publicist is bad. I'm saying we as viewers have allowed these kinds of things to go on. How many shows do we have that are the same thing? We have so many Jimmy's hosting our talk shows right now, and maybe if we varied that up a little bit, we might have different kinds of conversations.”
Mr. Branum’s goal for his new series is to get back to the vibe from the Johnny Carson era when talk shows and their guests seemed a little less rehearsed.
“I want to see a little magic. I want to see a little sparkle,” he said. “I feel like there were those moments in classic old‑school talk shows where you really felt like you were at a cocktail party with really, really cool people. And I want that back again. And I feel like the existing talk shows have attempted to grasp at that with bells and whistles, and we're trying to do it with even more bells and whistles.”
This post originally appeared in the print edition of Sunday’s Post-Gazette.