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National Politics

Huckabee daytime TV show gets 6-week tryout

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: July 11, 2013 at 07:08 PM
TAMPA -

Former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is getting a six-week audition for a new daytime talk show.

The former governor of Arkansas says his new daily effort, which debuted Monday morning, will be nonpartisan.

He probably should steer clear of politics if he wants to draw a large enough audience to compete with other daytime talkers such as Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres.

"We may be talking about the issues of the day and politics at times, but the focus will be to have fun and also be inspirational," he said in a recent telephone interview. "We're not going to dwell on the doom and gloom."

"The Huckabee Show" airs at 11 a.m. weekdays on WTVT, Channel 13. He is getting a tryout on seven Fox-owned stations.

Taped in New York in front of a studio audience, the first episode featured reality show star Bethenny Frankel ("Real Housewives," "Bethenny Getting Married?") as first guest "co-host."

They talked a lot about her diet and baby, Bryn. Huckabee and Frankel also interviewed a Pensacola woman who is looking for a husband on Facebook and did a segment on how women can defend themselves from sexual attackers.

Huckabee interviewed actor Robert Duvall,79, about his next film, "Get Low," which is based on a Tennessee hermit who gave his own "funeral party" in 1938 while still alive.

Game show legend Bob Barker and talk show host Wendy Williams are guests on Tuesday's show.

Huckabee, who turns 55 in August, says there's room for his take on current events and pop culture. He will continue to host the weekend program "Huckabee" on the Fox News Channel.

Huckabee, who plays guitar, likes to talk to celebrities and has a fondness for musicians. He is backed by a house band made up of Fox News technical staffers.

The former Baptist minister says that hasn't ruled out another run for the presidency in 2012.

"I could never say 'never,' " he says.

Recent polls of Republican supporters find him emerging as a favorite. But if "The Huckabee Show" becomes a hit, he might have a tough decision to make.

He bought a home at Miramar Beach, near Pensacola, this year and became a registered Republican voter in Florida. Huckabee shares the same views as other conservative commentators but tempers his politics with a sense of humor and calm, noncombative demeanor.

VIDBITS: DirecTV has picked up two more seasons of "Damages," the Emmy-nominated Glenn Close legal drama that was canceled by FX.

Dustin Hoffman is coming to television next year in HBO's "Luck," a drama series about gambling with Nick Nolte and Dennis Farina.

Actor Eric Roberts, 54, has checked into Drew Pinsky's Pasadena Recovery Center for the fourth season of "Celebrity Rehab," making him the biggest-name celebrity there.

Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber will play "a troubled teen" on the season premiere of CBS's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" in September. Last season, "CSI" tapped pop star Taylor Swift for an episode.

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