Chris Wallace Returns With Dual Platform HBO Max-CNN Talk Show –

When Chris Wallace’s talk show returns to HBO Max today, not much will change from its previous incarnation: Sitting in a spartan seat with a black backdrop, he’ll talk to celebrities, politicians, writers and other intrepid names. Interviews. He even sings a bit with Shania Twain.

The biggest change is that it’s not on CNN+. Back in March, Who is talking to Chris Wallace? It was one of the ill-fated subscription streaming service’s signature shows, only to disappear when the venture was spun off by CNN’s new corporate parent, Warner Bros. Discovery.

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Every Friday, there will be three interviews on HBO Max, with the best highlights showing on CNN Sunday at 7pm ET – a rare arrangement in the world of streaming.

In a interview with his executive producer, Javier DeDiego, Wallace admitted that, “It was a tough road to get from here, but we feel very fortunate.” He said HBO Max, with its 75 million subscribers, has actually been profitable in booking guests, as opposed to CNN+, which “back then you had to convince people initially that what’s this.”

In addition to Twain, the initial lineup of guests includes Alex Rodriguez, Henry Winkler, James Peterson, Tyler Perry and — in his first interview since retirement — former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Wallace said the show hasn’t shied away from its intent — long, free-flowing interviews that are about 30 minutes in length. Once a fixture on TV with the likes of Larry King and Charlie Rose, this kind of interview format disappeared from TV, with podcasts filling the void.

over it Fox News Sunday show, a 10- or 12-minute interview would be considered long by TV standards, Wallace said, and “the amount of time you spend thinking about what you’re not getting like, You are. So you can’t really be stupid. You have to be … making news and, to use a primarily sports analogy, throwing one fastball after another. And that’s not it. It’s a conversation. is, and an extended conversation, about 30 minutes long – some a little longer, some a little shorter.

Wallace’s departure last December after a long tenure at Fox News was a surprise and, in the build-up to the launch of CNN+, one of the biggest coups in landing established personalities for then-CNN president Jeff Zucker’s new streaming service. Seen as Wallace said that when he spoke to Zucker in November of last year, he said, ‘What do you want to do here?’ And my pitch was Charlie Rose meets Larry King, and the reason I said that is, first of all, I thought it would be fun to do. Secondly, I was also aware of the fact that there was a great void and that which existed no longer existed. I must say that Jeff jumped on it right away.

The first incarnation of Who is talking to Chris Wallace? Interviews with figures such as William McRaven, Jean Sackey and Billy Crystal, along with some sit-ins, such as Bob Iger, make the news.

But that all came to a screeching halt on April 21 with the announcement that CNN+’s days were numbered. Wallace said incoming CNN CEO Chris Licht took him to breakfast two days ago and briefed him on the plans.

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“I was shocked and obviously upset because we had spent three months putting it together, putting together a great team, building, I think, a really exciting show … building a bank, and all of a sudden,” Wallace said. The rug was pulled out from under us,” Wallace said.

He said he already knew Licht, from when he was her executive producer. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, And CNN’s new boss assured him “very quickly” that he “liked my work and wanted to continue the business.”

In May, it was announced that the show would go live on HBO Max and CNN.

“We were able to put the team back together, with the same bookers and producers returning,” DiDiego said. Other people at CNN+ left for other jobs, Wallace noted, but “we didn’t lose a single person.” . In fact, we added many people to this new incarnation.

“The exciting part of this is that we are two different platforms and are able to be the cornerstone of this new experience, if you will,” said DiDiego, who has been with CNN for 15 years. He said he was able to tap about 15 guest interviews during the months of July and August, banking on the new schedule, while he already has a few names on the calendar for the second season. .

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Other CNN+ projects have found new homes on HBO Max, including documentary series. The Last Movie Starswhile CNN recently announced that a show featuring Alison Roman will debut this fall.

Licht and HBO’s Casey Bloys have been “very supportive,” Wallace said. He also said that he is satisfied with it. Who is talking to Chris Wallace? HBO Max will take the “Hero” spot right there at the top of the homepage. Home of the Dragon was

He said he doesn’t necessarily see the show as competing with guests like broadcast network morning shows and, while Who is talking to Chris Wallace? Featuring celebrities as they promote their latest projects, the show’s format will allow for more in-depth conversations.

For example, Twain talked about his experience with Lyme disease and losing his voice, as well as his marital difficulties. Rodriguez talks about his suspension from baseball for using performance-enhancing drugs.

It’s also a bit of a departure from what viewers have become accustomed to from Wallace, who moderated the presidential debates and served as anchor. Fox News Sunday, was known for his no-nonsense line of questioning and follow-up to lawmakers from both parties. This time, he’s in different territory, as was evident in the interview with A-Rod.

Wallace at one point asked her to address a more tabloid-y subject: Jennifer Lopez. “Honestly, does it bother you that within days of your breakup she went back to seeing Ben Affleck and ended up marrying him and not you?”

“First of all, I’m glad I’ll never be a presidential candidate, because you would hammer me,” Rodriguez replied, before wishing Lopez and her children “the very best.”

Wallace insisted that interviewing a celebrity is not so different from interviewing a political figure. He interviewed entertainers such as Morgan Freeman and Kim Basinger when they were at ABC News and appeared in news magazines. prime time, In addition to being co-hosted by NBC today In the 1980s

“It’s always a little difficult to ask a tough question, but we don’t have subpoena powers — they’ve agreed to come,” Wallace said. “…while I want it to be a good conversation, on the other hand, if there’s something that’s out there, like A-Rod and Jennifer Lopez, that I know the audience is going to listen to. Wants to know what the answer is, even if it turns out to be an unanswerable thing, I’ll ask it.

He added, “The purpose of the show is to communicate and make people feel that it’s a safe space, but a safe space doesn’t mean we’re ignoring something that’s in the news. “

Still, while celebrities may have their own set of handlers and advisers, “I’ve found that there’s a level of candor, a level of genuineness, that I usually find in interviewers and politics. There was no experience covering grains.”

One person Wallace brought over from Fox News was his researcher, Lori Crum, with the demands of interview preparation perhaps even greater because of the extended time.

“Because I have the luxury of time, it can go 30 or 40 minutes, I don’t have to stick to a very disciplined blueprint,” he said. “If we’re having a conversation and they say something interesting, I can act on it.”

DiDiego said he has a producer named to handle the CNN show, as he will “come together and find out” about the order of guests for Sunday’s show as well as highlighting the best parts of the interview. Will do”.

Hollywood’s Democrats poured money into the midterms with a glimmer of hope and an abundance of caution.

Wallace continues to appear on CNN, offering analysis during events such as the Jan. 6 committee hearings and nightly coverage of the upcoming midterm elections.

Licht is making a number of changes throughout CNN’s schedule, but Wallace pushed back against the suggestion that he do another Sunday morning show again.

“Oh God, no,” he said, adding that he had already spent 18 years on the Sunday show and on the political beat. “And at this point in my career, I wanted to try something different. And I always had this idea, even before I was hired by CNN, to do this kind of extended interview. – Conversation, less formal, without interruption, across the spectrum of my interests.

He added: “I’m on HBO Max, I’m on CNN in prime time. All my appetites for television are satisfied.”

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