Tamron Hall had just blitzed through a rich range of subjects.
She’d invoked the talk-show masters – Oprah and Donahue – plus Mike Douglas and more. She’d ranged from the nobility of her sharecropper grandfather to the day she hung up on her friend Prince.
But she also surprised us cinematically: Her favorite movie now is “Shrek”; her “favorite growing up was ‘Rocky,’ because he got up.”
That’s what she’s done: She got up from her low point – NBC gave her morning hour to Megyn Kelley – and now has a syndicated show, starting Sept. 9 (see www.tamronhallshow.com).
Hall (shown here), who had co-hosted that hour for three years, left on Feb. 1, 2017. “I already knew they made the wrong choice when I left,” she said.
Kelly barely lasted a year. But how would Hall do in her new life?
Friends had opposite reactions, she said. “There were people who called and like, ‘Oh, no.’ And I’m like, ‘Who died?’ And there were other people who said, ‘I can’t wait to see what’s next.’”
At the time, Geddie said, it seemed that “she’s not going to have all the things she thought she was going to have. She’s not going to have that career, … not going to have the baby she wanted, not going to have the husband. And then all of a sudden, this year comes around, this amazing dream.”
For Hall – who was once hosting six different shows – it was a burst of free time. She began dating music executive Steve Greener. They married; in April, Hall (48 and having seen previous fertility efforts fail), she had her son.
By then, her talk-show plans were propelling. Hall has started with producer Harvey Weinstein; when his career imploded, she went with Disney/ABC. It hired Geddie, 64, one of the “View” creators; after being replaced as that show’s producer in 2014, he said, he had retired and was “playing golf poorly.”
Now he’s working with Hall, who has ample stories from celebrities and others.
There are the people from Luling, her Texas home town of 5,400.
“My grandfather had a second-grade education,” Hall said. “He signed his name with an X …. He was on the other side of the tracks. He was a black man, born in 1901, but everybody called him ‘Mr. Mitchell ‘…. He treated people with respect, and they gave him that in return.”
Then there are the celebrity encounters, including her talk-show idols. At 22, she was invited by Oprah Winfrey to a magazine party; two days after she left NBC, Donahue asked her when she would be back on TV. “I just melted down. I was like ‘Phil Donahue just recognized me!’”
And there was her call from Prince, who was looking for a place to do an in-depth interview. Hall wanted it, but “Today” doesn’t do long-form interviews; he said he’d go with Charlie Rose.
“I hung up on Prince …. I hung up, fired up, mad at him. He called me back. And I said, ‘How could you go on ‘Charlie’?”
“And he said, ‘Where am I going to go to talk?’ And I take that with me.’”
Yes, Hall has varied interests, from crime (her sister’s murder remains unsolved) to fashion (during this Television Critics Association session, she had a dazzling outfit from Colombian designer Joanna Ortiz). But she also wants the freedom to do an in-depth interview. Oprah would understand.