Dr. Jennifer Ashton realizes not all viewers are necessarily embracing a daytime-TV revolution.
Previously a medical contributor for CBS News, the New Jersey-based physician will report on health issues as one of the five regulars on “The Revolution,” the lifestyle-oriented ABC program that makes its weekday debut Monday, Jan. 16. Just as “All My Children” fans spoke loudly when “The Chew” replaced that serial, Ashton expects to hear many “One Life to Live” supporters when “The Revolution” inherits that time slot.
“I feel empathy and sympathy for them,” she tells Zap2it, “for the fact that something they were so attached to is no longer going to be there. I think we’re very aware that a lot of those people will not have an open mind in terms of considering ‘The Revolution’ or ‘The Chew’ as shows they might be interested in watching.
“I would say the same thing to them as I say to my patients in my office … understand that there are multiple options available to you. It’s a free country, and you don’t have to do anything, but I think our show offers so much that some people might actually be surprised.”
Ashton adds, “Nothing is ever going to replace what ‘One Life to Live’ and ‘All My Children’ meant to people over decades, but this isn’t really meant to replace that. It’s kind of apples and oranges.”
Ty Pennington (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) and Tim Gunn (“Project Runway”) also are in the cast of “The Revolution.” Ashton has a busy January in store overall, since her book “Your Body Beautiful: Clockstopping Secrets to Staying Healthy, Strong and Sexy in Your 30s, 40s, and Beyond” will be published the week before the show premieres.
Moving to ABC means Ashton will be back on the same network with two former CBS peers: Katie Couric, with whom she appeared often on “CBS Evening News,” and reporter Kelly Cobiella (now headquartered in London). Couric will launch her syndicated weekday talk show next fall, and though Ashton’s television focus is on “The Revolution” now, she notes she would be happy for an on-air reunion.
“Anyone in the business realizes what a small world it is, especially when you’re talking about the people who are at the big networks. When I started at CBS, many of the executives there were from ABC. It’s just like the medical world; it’s a small pond, and it’s nice, because you get to work with some of the same people over and over again in different situations and environments.”