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Meredith Vieira looks to connect with viewers on new show

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 9:19 am

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Meredith Vieira is looking to connect.

"Authenticity," she said, "is the key word" for what she hopes to bring to her new daytime talk show, "The Meredith Vieira Show," which premieres in syndication Sept. 8.

Speaking of the daytime audience, she said, "They want real, and they want to connect with somebody. They feel a connective tissue (with daytime personalities) that I don't think you find other times of the day.

"That's the power of television," she added — "you can do so much to help people."

Speaking to reporters on Monday at the summer TV critics' gathering, Vieira said she'll tape at NBC headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, also home to such programs as "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," ''Late Night with Seth Meyers" and "Saturday Night Live." She said she'd welcome drop-ins from any stars from those shows who might be roaming the halls.

She'll have a house band led by Everett Bradley, a percussionist with the E Street Band.

And her set will be an exact replica of her own living room — "I want people to feel they're coming into my house" — with an easy chair actually lifted from her home.

"It's a little like me," she said of that chair. "It's a little worn-in, but it's been loved."

The 60-year-old Vieira presides over her own daytime talk show after accumulating a varied resume including "60 Minutes," the "Today" show, "The View" and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

She acknowledged that the syndicated-talk world can be treacherous, as evidenced by the ratings flameout after just two seasons of the show hosted by her "Today" predecessor, Katie Couric. Speaking of her own upcoming venture, she said, "If it fails, I'm not gonna die. But I'm hoping for the best."