Harry Connick Jr. and television go together like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, or – yes – a wink and a smile. But amazingly, the multi-talented star had wasn’t sure he wanted to fill a slot on the small screen.
While speaking with PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle for The Jess Cagle Interview, Connick admitted that he’d previously “steered away” from TV hosting gigs.
“I didn’t feel like I had lived long enough to have any particular point of view or perspective,” he says from the set of his new show daytime program Harry. “I was 25, 30 years old and I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer. So the conversation has been out there for a while.”
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What changed? For a start, he got a little older and wiser (Connick turned 49 last Sunday). And he also crossed paths with Justin and Eric Stangel – former executive producers for The Late Show with David Letterman. Together, they hatched a scheme to bring the late night party to daytime.
“We started talking about what it would be like to have a show that featured me, [and] was built around my skill set and the things I like to do … I love having conversations with people; celebrities and every day folks. I love playing music, I love spontaneity. How are we gonna do that?”
For Connick, spontaneity was the most crucial ingredient. “I don’t want to have big production meetings about what I’m doing on the show that day. I want to walk out on set and not have any idea what I’m doing until the camera’s rolling. I like that feeling of being out of control.”
The final result is emphatically not a “talk show,” but show tailor made to showcase Connick’s versatility and humor. Even the elaborate set was made to fulfill his very specific vision.
“I wanted to have a place that felt like a real destination – a place where people could turn on their TVs and feel like they were getting something that was not like their house. They could fantasize about being in some really cool club in New York City. That’s what I was trying to do.”
For more on Harry, check your local listings or visit HarryTV.com for details.