D.L. Hughley Previews His Ground-Breaking CNN Show
D. L. Hughley
Cable often turns to comedians to talk about the news, so it was only a matter of time before one would get a show on CNN.
Starting Oct. 25, King of Comedy alum D.L. Hughley will have an hour on Saturday nights at 10 pm/ET (with a repeat on Sunday) to riff on the week's events. The weekly show — tentatively called D.L. Hughley Breaks the News — will combine comedy with interviews with newsmakers and CNN correspondents.
A professed news junkie, Hughley told TV Guide what viewers could expect.
TVGuide.com: You're name has come up as talk show host for a while. How did you end up at CNN?
Hughley: We had three offers on the table [from other networks]. Right when we were about to get into negotiation, my manager called me and said, "What do you think about CNN?" My first thought was, "I'm not a newscaster." He said no, [CNN president] Jon Klein made us an offer to put us on a late night show for a year. There was no haggling. He just put it on.
TVGuide.com: They just bought you. No pilot. No presentation.
Hughley: Yep. I just met with the writers today — there are a couple that I've already worked with — and we sketched out a show. We'll know what it looks like when the shooting starts, but I'm very excited.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think there's such an appetite for news shows with a point of view?
Hughley: What I've noticed is that the television landscape is cluttered with people who kind of have the same ideological view. Whether it's left or right, they all have the same perspectives and the same experiences that fuel their perspective. After a while it sounds like an echo. So I have experiences that are different from anybody doing late night right now. My comedic vantage point is informed by it. This is not going to be like The Daily Show where they do a parody of a news show, or The Colbert Report. It will be more like Jay Leno and David Letterman, whose shows are driven by what they find are funny and interesting.
TVGuide.com: So it will be in the style of a late-night talk show. You'll do a monologue?
Hughley: We'll do a monologue. We'll do interviews. I don't want to do interviews that are star-driven; I primarily want to talk with people who I find are interesting. Like the Cook County sheriff in Illinois who has refused to evict any more people who've had their homes foreclosed on. Here's an elected official who has taken a stand that puts him at some level of political jeopardy. In four years, when everybody has forgotten about economic downturn, his opponent will run ads that say this dude didn't follow the law. To me that's the bravest thing I've seen a political official do. It will also be interesting to talk to Jesse Jackson who, if Barack Obama wins, will be looking for a job. It's interesting to talk to Ron Paul. I was on Bill Maher's HBO show with him and he was explaining how the Civil War should have never been fought; we could have purchased the slaves for less money. That's an interesting guy to talk to.
TVGuide.com: How much access will you have to CNN correspondents?
Hughley: If something happens in Kuala Lumpur — a name I've always wanted to say, by the way – I can talk to that correspondent. I don't know that we can always get away with it, but I'd like to use the apparatus of CNN. They have some funny quirky people who work there, and I'd like to use them as much as possible.
TVGuide.com: How do you feel about the timing of this? I there some synchronicity here, that you're getting this show just as the country may be electing its first African-American president?
Hughley: I think that what has happened is that the country is willing to see itself differently than it has in all kinds of ways. The country right now is having a mirror held up to itself and is deciding whether it likes what it sees. There has never been a time like this in history. I know something would have to happen that was really unique for me to get on late-night television. A black man never has been in the White House but a black comedian — or a comedian period — has never been on CNN. Obama and I are potentially going to break ground here!