Behar’s Back to Talking on Cable

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This fall, Current TV — the politically minded network with a liberal bent — will launch a new talk show featuring comedienne Joy
Behar, co-host of the popular ABC daytime chat show The View. Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead
caught up with Behar to ask about her new show, and how it will compare with the nightly talker she hosted on HLN from 2009
to 2011. An edited transcript follows.

MCN: How will your new Current TV show
differ from your HLN show?

Joy Behar: I think the content will vary. The
format won’t be that much different — we’ll
do one-on-ones, we’ll do panels and we’ll interview
newsbreakers. We’ll have a fun vibe,
because that’s what I bring with me. But the
content will vary to some extent because
[HLN] had its own agenda. They did missing
children stories and they focused on stories
like Michael Jackson’s doctor trial [of Conrad
Murray]. I’m more interested in sociological
and political stories and things that are important
and interesting in the world. That will
be the difference.

MCN: You launch in September right in the heat of
the political season. Will you initially focus on political

JB: Absolutely. One of the reasons I wanted this job is because
I want to stick my two cents into the political arena,
and I want people on the show who will talk about it
so that we can inform Americans who are voting as much
as possible. I’d like to have people from both [political]
aisles on the show. Obviously, I have a more progressive
political bent, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear
the other side. I want people on my show who will speak
their minds freely and who are not timid about saying
things — people who have the guts to go out
there and say things that they’re not afraid for
other people to hear.

MCN: Having said that, are there any personalities
that come to mind that you want to see on
the air?

JB: [Massachusetts Democratic Rep.] Barney
Frank [who’s retiring at the end of his term in
2013] is a good example … He’s not running for
anything, so he really has nothing to lose. I’d
love to interview Jane Fonda again because Jane
and I had a great interview on my other show,
and she will talk freely. At this point in her life,
she doesn’t give a damn about what you think about her,
and I love that about her, and people like her who don’t have
anything to hide anymore and are out there freely speaking.

MCN: You mentioned that you want to get into more
social topics. Are there any issues in particular you want to
explore on the show?

JB: I’m interested in women’s issues; I feel like women’s
rights are being eroded right now in this country and I think
we need to talk about that even more and inform people
of what’s going on [at] the state level. There’s very little that
doesn’t interest me; I’m interested in everything except who
won the game — unless someone has a scandal, then I
might be interested. [Laughs.]