Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016
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‘The Real,’ trying to shake up talk-show model

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Hosts Tamar Braxton, second left, with husband, Vincent Herbert, left, Tamera Mowry-Housley, center, with husband, Adam Housley, and Jeannie Mai with husband Freddy Harteis, on the set of 'The Real.'

WARNER BROS. Enlarge

LOS ANGELES — Five women sitting around talking has become a TV staple. Five women talking, each of whom is black, Asian, or Latino, is something different.

It’s the approach tested by two shows: The Real, airing on a handful of Fox-owned stations, and the Aspire channel’s Exhale.

For The Real, which concluded an experimental run Friday, the multi-ethnic panel of Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai, and Tamera Mowry-Housley isn’t the point, said executive producer SallyAnn Salsano.

“It’s something we don’t really talk about. ... We just picked who’s best for the show. We didn’t say, ‘Where’s our white one?’” Salsano said.

The difference in The Real, she said, is generational. Other female-centric talk shows like The View, the genre groundbreaker when Barbara Walters launched it in 1997, tend toward older hosts with more settled lives and perspectives.

As a 39-year-old woman with friends who are single like she is or dealing with the ups and downs of married life, Salsano said, “There’s no one who represents me on any of those” other shows.

Relationships, child-rearing, and other challenges “are topics these girls are living,” she said of The Real hosts.

Exactly, said Braxton, an R&B singer and star of the WE channel’s reality show Tamar & Vince.

“I’m a big fan of The View and The Talk, but with The Real, it’s my generation,” whether the topic is pop culture or a candid take on daily life, she said. In a discussion of childbirth, “We really got honest with the audience. I didn’t have the best experience. ... You only hear the good side” elsewhere on TV.

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