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Talk show experiment: multi-ethnic hosts

  • "Exhale" co-hosts (from left) Erin Jackson, Rene Syler, Issa Rae, Malinda Williams and Angela Burt-Murray discuss issues important to Africa...

    ASPIRE / Leroy Hamilton

    "Exhale" co-hosts (from left) Erin Jackson, Rene Syler, Issa Rae, Malinda Williams and Angela Burt-Murray discuss issues important to African-American women and their families.

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By Lynn Elber
Associated Press
Published:
  • "Exhale" co-hosts (from left) Erin Jackson, Rene Syler, Issa Rae, Malinda Williams and Angela Burt-Murray discuss issues important to Africa...

    ASPIRE / Leroy Hamilton

    "Exhale" co-hosts (from left) Erin Jackson, Rene Syler, Issa Rae, Malinda Williams and Angela Burt-Murray discuss issues important to African-American women and their families.

Five women sitting around talking has become a TV staple. Five women talking, each of whom is either black, Asian or Latina, is something different.
It's the approach tested by two shows: "The Real," airing on a handful of Fox-owned stations, and the Aspire channel's "Exhale."
For "The Real," which concluded an experimental run Friday, the multi-ethnic panel of Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley isn't the point, said producer SallyAnn Salsano.
"It's something we don't really talk about. We just picked who's best for the show. We didn't say, 'Where's our white one?'" Salsano said.
The difference in "The Real," she said, was generational. Other female-centric talk shows like "The View," the genre groundbreaker when Barbara Walters launched it in 1997, tend toward older hosts with more settled lives and perspectives.
"Exhale" also is getting a summer tryout but, in contrast, the ethnicity of its five African-American co-hosts is front and center on Aspire, a black-oriented cable channel.
The goal is "to focus on topics that are important to the African-American woman and to the African-American family and to the African-American community," said Paul Butler, general manager of Aspire, which launched "Exhale" as a weekly nighttime series in June.
It airs Wednesday at 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Issues including relationships, health, beauty, careers and financial planning are discussed in what Butler said are more than "30-second sound bites."
The panel's ethnicity "changes the focus of the conversation," said Rene Syler, a writer and TV anchor.
"You wouldn't necessarily see something that was of care and concern specifically to black women when only one African-American is represented. These are issues you talk about in your living room."
Syler suggested that nonblack women give the show a try.

Watch it
"Exhale" airs Wednesday nights beginning at 8 p.m. on ASPIRE.
Story tags » Television

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