Tyra Banks, Chrissy Teigen, Joe Zee, Lauren Makk and Leah Ashley confidentially emerge from behind huge doors to enter the massive set for their new daytime talk show, “FABLife.” They settle into chairs around a crescent-shaped table that’s in the middle of the set that looks like it’s a penthouse suite in a trendy downtown suburban location.
There’s more yellow incorporated into the set than at a “Curious George” convention.
This is where Banks is making her return to daytime television, and she’s brought along four friends to help make the assault. “FABLife” is one of the new syndicated programs offered to television stations around the country to fill the holes where there is no network programming.
At first glance, the show looks like “The View,” “The Talk,” “The Real” and “The Chew” in that it features a group of people sitting around a piece of furniture talking about the hot topic of the day. Where “FABLife” looks to distinguish itself is that each panelist brings a specific talent to the table.
The “afFABle” Banks is the resident stylist while Zee will deal with all things fashion. When not reminding people she’s married to John Legend, Teigen will talk about food. A very pregnant Ashley is the show’s DIY expert while Makk handles anything to do with the home.
“There were two things we were looking for when putting this team together,” Banks says. “Knowledge got you in the door. That’s the key, but it doesn’t lock the door behind you. What locks the door and makes this unit so amazing is our chemistry.
“We are a lot like a family.”
“FABLife” will need to distinguish itself in a playing field that’s full of daytime talkers. The largest audience for daytime television is female, but all of the research done around “FABLife” suggests it will attract a broader audience.
“We do feel that we have content that men will watch,” Banks says. “Things are changing and in a lot of households men are taking care of the children and doing the cooking. Men are interested in how to cook.”
Banks doesn’t mention that another draw for the cooking segment is that Teigen, the woman handling the cooking segments, is also a former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.
Zee has been working in fashion since 1990 and he says men are “night and day” when it comes to fashion from when he started. There was a time when most men didn’t care about fashion and now he’s seeing plenty of instances where men care more than women.
There’s no question the DIY segments will have appeal for a broad audience. Ashley says her plan is to take a realistic approach to projects. She’s going to be willing to tell viewers that there are times and situations when it makes more sense to go buy an item rather than trying to craft it.
She says her interest in DIY projects started in college: She was broke but still wanted to live a “FABulous” life.
That plays into one of the show’s biggest themes — value. Fashions won’t be for the rich and famous but often items purchased at discount stores. Every element of the show will be designed to make it affordable for the average viewer.
Makk says her home skills are “God-given talent.” The Oklahoma City native’s mother would buy houses and rehab them. Makk says she helped design spaces and pick out furniture for those projects.
Banks spent six seasons hosting her own daytime talk show. The process was draining because she was involved in every aspect of the show. Banks expects this turn in daytime won’t be so tough as she has four other people who can help carry the load.