Tuned In: 'Everywoman' Bonnie Hunt joins daytime chatfests

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Many folks working in Hollywood excel at playing nice. But Bonnie Hunt has always seemed like the real deal: An entertainer who's as genuine as she is funny.

That charm helped make her a favorite guest of David Letterman, and it's why viewers welcomed her into their homes, most recently on ABC's 2002-04 prime-time comedy "Life With Bonnie."

In that sitcom, Hunt played a working mom who hosted a Chicago talk show. Now Hunt headlines her own daytime talk show. "The Bonnie Hunt Show" will air locally on WPMY, Channel 22, at 4 p.m. weekdays starting Sept. 8. (It replaces the first run of "TMZ," which will continue to air at 10 p.m.)

"[On 'Life With Bonnie'] I had that family life, and I had the talk show life, and [my writing partner] Don [Lake] and I gravitated more and more to the talk show aspect of the show because it's where we felt more comfortable because of our improvisational backgrounds," Hunt said at a July press conference.

Hunt, who played the "we're walking, we're walking ..." White House tour guide in the movie "Dave," grew up in a blue-collar Chicago neighborhood and began acting in improv with Second City theater while working as an oncology nurse.

"I was given the great gift of an incredibly healthy perspective of having spent time with people in the most intimate and vulnerable time of their lives," Hunt said. "I was truly blessed with having done that first in my life before getting into show business."

Robin Williams, Hunt's co-star in "Jumanji," is slated to be her first guest, but Hunt said the show will also feature regular people, including her elderly mother.

In addition to interviewing children, something Hunt has done on past series, she recently taped a piece at a retirement home. "I have a great affinity for senior citizens. I worked at a nursing home though high school. ... There's a lost appreciation for a generation that has so much to tell us when we're so full of self-help books and doctors on TV."

Hunt said CBS offered her a late-night hosting gig when Craig Kilborn left "The Late Late Show," but she always felt she'd be a better fit for daytime TV.

"That's where my mom watches," Hunt said. "And as long as my mom is still around, I still do stuff that pleases my mother."

The show's executive producer, Hilary Estey McLoughlin, said she was eager to have Hunt host a daytime talk show because she's "completely relatable. We think she's like an everywoman."

"That means fat," Hunt joked.

"She's very self-deprecating, and I think that makes her so accessible," McLoughlin said. "People really respond to that."

Also in syndication on WPMY, reruns of:

• "That '70s Show" (5:30 p.m. weekdays, starting Sept. 8)

• "Desperate Housewives" (8 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 21)

Other syndicated shows

KDKA -- The daytime lineup stays intact. The station adds "CSI: NY" reruns at 12:05 a.m. Sundays, beginning Sept. 14.

WBGN -- Low-power independent station WBGN adds a late-night block of reruns of MTV's "Punk'd" (11 p.m. weekdays) and "Cribs" (11:30 p.m. weekdays). They're preceded by "Cheaters" (10 p.m. weekdays). Premiere dates for WBGN shows are not yet available, but most will debut in September.

WBGN offers two weekday courtroom shows earlier in the day: "Family Court" (1 p.m.) and "Eye for an Eye" (7:30 p.m.). "The FBI Files" (4 p.m. Friday) tracks a different major case during each hourlong episode.

On the weekends, "American Idol Rewind" (7 p.m. Saturdays, 8 p.m. Sundays) follows "UFC Wired" (6 p.m. Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays), which features mixed martial arts from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Reality show "Missing" (1 p.m. Sunday) follows missing-persons cases.

WBGN broadcasts over the air on assorted channels throughout the region, including Channel 59 in Pittsburgh (for other locations and cable channel positions, visit www.wbgn.com).

WPCW -- In the late '80s and early '90s, riding the wave created by the success of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," first-run syndicated dramas were all the rage. But in recent years there have been few if any.

That changes this fall with "Legend of the Seeker" (5 and 11:30 p.m. Saturdays, premiering Nov. 1). This scripted drama is from executive producer Rob Tapert, who knows a thing or two about successful syndicated shows from his years running "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess." Filmed in New Zealand (like "Hercules" and "Xena"), this one-hour show is based on Terry Goodkind's book "Wizard's First Rule" and the epic fantasy series "The Sword of Truth." "Legend" follows the travels of woodsman Richard Cypher (Craig Horner) as he discovers his magical powers and tries to stop an evil tyrant from world domination.

Also on the weekends: Reruns of "CSI: NY" (11 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 14), "House" (8 p.m. Saturdays, Sept. 27) and "CSI: Miami" (7 p.m. Saturdays, Sept. 13).

In daytime, WPCW has "Judge Karen" (10 a.m. weekdays, Sept. 8) replacing "Judge Maria Lopez," and, airing as part of The CW's afternoon block, there's the new one-hour court show "Judge Jeannie Piro" (3 p.m. weekdays, Sept. 22).

WPGH -- New half-hour episodes of prime-time game show "Deal or No Deal" (5 and 5:30 p.m. weekdays, Sept. 8), still hosted by Howie Mandel, begin airing in daytime.

WPXI -- In daytime, "The Doctors" (10 a.m. weekdays, Sept. 8) replaces the canceled "Montel Williams." In this one-hour talk show from the producers of "Dr. Phil," five medical doctors -- an ER physician, a psychologist, an obstetrician/gynecologist, a plastic/reconstructive surgeon and a pediatrician -- deal with medical issues of the day. Travis Stork, star of ABC's Paris-set edition of "The Bachelor," is the ER doc in residence.

"Crosswords" is no longer in production, so a second run of "Family Feud" will air at 1:30 p.m. weekdays. A new game show, "Trivial Pursuit: America Plays" (4 a.m. weekdays, Sept. 22), based on the board game, allows viewers to play along online at TPAmericaPlays.com. Christopher Knight ("The Brady Bunch," "My Fair Brady") hosts.

"Lost" (1:35 a.m. Monday, Sept. 15) reruns give viewers who got, uh, lost, an opportunity to catch up. ("Lost" will move to 1:05 a.m. after football season.)

WTAE -- Reruns of "Monk" (12:05 a.m. Sunday and 2:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 28 and 29) and "Boston Legal" (3:05 a.m. and midnight Sundays, Sept. 28) will air on Channel 4.

Contact TV editor Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1112. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv .


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