Stephen Battaglio - The Biz | TVGuide.com
A New View for Star Jones Reynolds
The former daytime diva lets loose on her new Court TV series and her old stomping grounds.
Star Jones Reynolds is returning to her roots. Sixteen years after first transforming herself from an assistant district attorney into a legal analyst on Court TV, she's now coming back to the cable channel that will have a new name next year. Reynolds will host her own live daily talk show starting later this year. She'll also serve as executive editor and help shape the channel's daytime programming. The Biz recently talked to Reynolds about her new job, her new look and whether she's heard from her old pals at The View.
TVGuide.com: What's your vision for the new show?
Reynolds: Sort of a mixture of news and information as it relates to the law, pop culture and entertainment. It's sort of the dream job for me to be able to pull all of my expertise from being a prosecutor into the same pot with some of the fun stuff I've had an opportunity to do as an entertainment talk-show host. I couldn't figure out a way to make all of my worlds come together and jell, and still get back to the serious, which is what I really wanted. This is the perfect combination.
TVGuide.com: So you would be all over the Anna Nicole Smith story.
Reynolds: It would have been a story we'd cover on this show. I kept thinking to myself that if there's anything that I've gotten out of this, it's the need for a will. At 39 years old, who thinks they need to worry about a will? We're not talking about a will for your great-aunt Lucy leaving you her good earrings. It's where you're going to put your most precious asset — where do you want your kid to go. I've learned that from the Anna Nicole case — if something happens to two parents and you have not made a provision, you're in trouble.
TVGuide.com: How about the Scooter Libby case?
Reynolds: Absolutely. There are some real fun issues we'd be talking about right now, like who's going to drop a dime at this point and do you sacrifice your friends to get a better deal for your clients. Those are the issues that are really playing out right now.
TVGuide.com: That all sounds a little too smart for your old job at The View.
Reynolds: But it's perfect for Court TV and perfect for me. The View has changed and I don't take anything away from it. The ultimate CEO for television programming is the consumer. The consumer tells you what they want. That audience wants what they're getting. My Court TV audience wants what I'm prepared to give.
TVGuide.com: So, I like the new glasses.
Reynolds: Do you? I need the vision for long distance. I hate to say that. I turn 45 on March 24.
TVGuide.com: Who's the designer?
Reynolds: Oh gosh, I can't believe Star Jones Reynolds can't tell you what the designer's name is.
TVGuide.com: But it looks like you want a fresh start here. You've changed your appearance and style.
Reynolds: My style has definitely changed. I just looked up the name — they're Bulgari.
TVGuide.com: But is this about shedding some of the baggage that you have from your last job at The View?
Reynolds: To be honest, when you turn the chapter you are in a unique position to change not from the inside out but from the outside in. A friend of mine remarked to me in this past year, "Star, you're in a unique position to really turn the page and allow people to see the real Star Jones." I'm glad that I'm using this space to do just that. I'm healthier than I've ever been. I try to exercise every day. I'm eating healthier. I have a very good and positive spirit about what's next in my career. So yeah, there is a physical and mental change. It's nice to get back to the roots of who I am as a professional. And actually come full circle and come back to Court TV.
TVGuide.com: So what have the last few months been like? You had a very public departure from The View — a lot of that was your choice. How have you dealt with it?
Reynolds: The way that it played out was not easy because I take away from those nine years a very positive experience. I helped create a genre, which was fantastic. I loved my time there. The thing that I don't like the most is the take-away that everybody talks about — the negativity. For nine years it was not [negative]. I go away very positive [as a whole]. I've filled my time with stuff that was important to me. Every month I've been teaching a civics class at the East Harlem School. I also became the ambassador for First Star, which is the nation's clearinghouse on foster care in America. I'm going to Congress in April to lobby, because most people don't realize that kids are not entitled to lawyers when they are in foster care. It depends on the jurisdiction you're in. I'm a big advocate that every child needs to have representation when decisions are made about their lives.
TVGuide.com: Have you spoken to Barbara Walters or anyone else from The View since you left?
Reynolds: I have not. I haven't spoken to anyone from the show. I sometimes get e-mails from Elisabeth Hasselbeck, but that's because we had a very personal relationship.
TVGuide.com: Does she say things like, "Heeelp!"
Reynolds: No. I would never disclose that. That's one thing about me — I'm a pretty loyal person and extremely discreet. Mother is watching at all times, and I need to make her proud.
TVGuide.com: But what do you make of the show now? Even if you haven't seen it, it's kind of hard to get out of the way of it.
Reynolds: It's interesting that you say that because I haven't watched it, but I've obviously kept up. It's very difficult not to keep up with it if you read newspapers or magazines or do any work on the Internet. I kind of go back to the fact that it's a different show. The show I got to do is different than what it is now. I imagine that it works. Their level of success — I'm happy for them and I hope they're happy for me. I don' think it serves me well to dwell on what happened in the past. It's time for me to move on.
TVGuide.com: But are you surprised at the direction it's taken?
Reynolds: If that's what their viewers want, then that's where they needed to go. It's not where I would want it to go. That's why I'm doing [Court TV]. I wanted to return to something that allows me to be back where I'm at home. I'm at home talking about the law. I'm at home talking about issues. There's enough mishegas out there that I don't need to add to it.