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American Television, Talk Shows  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  

O'Donnell described The Rosie Show as a radical departure from other talk shows, saying that it will give audiences an "hour of uplifting, entertaining laughter, family-oriented, multi-generational, kick back, relax, and get ready for your evening." Interestingly, The Rosie Show does not make glbtq topics and guests a major priority. O'Donnell explained to AfterEllen managing editor Trish Bendix, homosexuality is "just an innate part of life . . . and it's not a big deal in a way that I could not have imagined when I began my career."

In addition to O'Donnell, OWN also provided the proving ground for openly gay interior designer Nate Berkus, who debuted his eponymous show in September 2010. Berkus, who rose to fame after making over a small space for The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2002, soon became Winfrey's decorator and her show's featured design expert. According to Advocate interviewer Matthew Breen, by the time Berkus had launched the Nate Berkus Show in September 2010, he had already logged 127 makeovers for The Oprah Winfrey Show, hosted an XM radio show, and created a signature line of products for the Home Shopping Network (HSN).

Berkus made no secret about his homosexuality, although he never discussed being gay--or much of anything from his personal life--on Winfrey's show until January 2005, when he discussed with Winfrey the death of his partner, photographer Fernando Bengoechea, in the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

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Berkus noted that his own show, which was focused on helping people live better by telling real stories in a way that was sensitive, compelling, and humorous, directly resulted from the goodwill he felt from audience members and the larger viewing public in response to the revelation of his loss of his partner. However, The Nate Berkus Show never seemed to "click" with viewers. After a run of consistently low ratings for two seasons, Winfrey's Harpo Studios opted not to move the show forward. The Nate Berkus Show is scheduled to end its broadcast run in May 2012.

The Nate Berkus Show struggled and ultimately failed in large part because of its format, which concentrated less on Berkus's demonstrated expertise in design and better living and instead underwhelmed viewers with a vague focus on lifestyle which was, as MediaLife staff writer Toni Fitzgerald has stated, far too broad for a daytime show.

Indeed, according to Variety correspondent Cynthia Littleton, talk shows must have a clearly defined focus in order for them to connect to and succeed with viewers. With her honest (and frequently brutal) emphasis on financial security, out lesbian Suze Orman has found long-term success across multiple television venues.

Jennifer Reed observes that since the 1990s, Orman has achieved household name status, having had her own financial advice shows on CNBC and QVC, being a regular fundraiser for PBS with her own specials, as well as appearing on news and talk shows, and writing best-selling financial advice books. Like Berkus, Orman has also benefited from frequent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, though the bulk of Orman's exposure comes from her Emmy Award-winning and highly-rated The Suze Orman Show, which debuted in March 2002 on CNBC.

The Suze Orman Show differs somewhat from the typical talk-show format in that it relies predominantly on Orman interacting with and counseling viewers who call in to her show with a variety of financially-related questions and topics. As Susan Dominus has noted, with the change in the American economic climate, Orman's role shifted from pop finance guru to something more like a trusted national adviser.

Orman has used her considerable media and cultural influence to promote a message of women empowering themselves financially. Orman uses her own biography as a woman who went from no self-confidence to self-made millionaire in order to establish herself as an inspirational, supportive, and directive teacher for women.

Susan Dominus has noted that an important, and arguably central, aspect of Orman's persona is that she is also a high-profile lesbian. Orman came out in February 2007 in a New York Times Magazine interview with Deborah Solomon. Orman stated that she was in a "relationship with life" with her partner Kathy Travis. Orman has also repeatedly insisted that she was never closeted about her sexuality, which is an important point of pride for someone who talks and writes about the importance of honesty.

In fact, Orman has been on the forefront of changing social attitudes and governmental policies about same-sex couples. In a 2004 O: The Oprah Magazine column, Orman addressed a question about how same-sex couples could combine their financial lives and plan for the future. She has since discussed this issue repeatedly on her show.

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