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Published: Tuesday, 9/2/2008

Bonnie Hunt debuting a daytime talk show


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Many folks working in Hollywood excel at playing nice, but Bonnie Hunt has always seemed like the real deal: An entertainer who's as genuine as she is funny.

That charm helped make her a favorite guest of David Letterman, and it's why viewers welcomed her into their homes, most recently on ABC's 2002-04 prime-time comedy Life With Bonnie.

In that sitcom, Hunt played a working mom who hosted a Chicago talk show. Now Hunt headlines her own daytime talk show, The Bonnie Hunt Show, which premieres Monday.

"[On Life with Bonnie] I had that family life, and I had the talk-show life, and [my writing partner] Don [Lake] and I gravitated more and more to the talk-show aspect of the show because it's where we felt more comfortable because of our improvisational backgrounds," Hunt said at a July press conference.

Hunt grew up in a blue-collar Chicago neighborhood and began acting in improv with Second City theater while working as an oncology nurse.

"I was given the great gift of an incredibly healthy perspective of having spent time with people in the most intimate and vulnerable time of their lives," Hunt said. "I was truly blessed with having done that first in my life before getting into show business."

Robin Williams, Hunt's co-star in Jumanji, is slated to be her first guest, but Hunt said the show will also feature regular people, including her mother.

Hunt said CBS offered her a late-night hosting gig when Craig Kilborn left The Late Late Show, but she always felt she'd be a better fit for daytime TV.

"That's where my mom watches," Hunt said. "And as long as my mom is still around, I still do stuff that pleases my mother."

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen is the TV editor for the Post-Gazette.

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