TBS June 18 will debut its “Friday Night Vibes” weekly block of diverse theatrical movies interspersed with original comedy segments, celebrity interviews and musical performances that are reflective and inclusive of Black culture.
“Friday Night Vibes,” hosted by Tiffany Haddish and co-hosted by Deon Cole, will debut with feature films Creed and Creed 2, while in-studio celebrity guests Snoop Dogg and Tina Knowles Lawson discuss issues and topics surrounding the films as well as Father’s Day and Juneteenth, according to the network.
I recently spoke to TBS EVP, head of unscripted Corie Henson about the “Friday Night Vibes” concept as well as its appeal to viewers. An edited version of the interview appears below.
Picture This: What do you see as the biggest audience driver of “Friday Night Vibes” -- the movies or the original programming segments?
Corie Henson: People will definitely come for the films but I also believe that Tiffany will bring her own audience. We're hoping to get a foothold in the public conversation and be topical. We've only shot the first episode, but once we really get into the rhythm I think we'll be able to reflect on and talk about stuff that's going on in the real world. I don't think any of us envisioned this as a talk show -- the vibe is very different and much looser than a traditional talk show. They're bite-size pieces of content woven throughout the film, but I do think people will come to see what she and her guests are talking about. Sometimes it’ll be driven by the content of the movie -- for example in the first episode, the movies are Creed and Creed 2, so Tiffany is talking to guest Snoop Dogg about her top three boxing knockouts of all time. Our second guest, Tina Knowles talks about Juneteenth -- she happens to be from Galveston where Juneteenth was originated. So there’s information and fun in a discussion that I think it's very fluid and very spontaneous.
PT: You mention Tiffany Haddish. What does she bring to the table?
CH: First of all, she brings energy and crazy comedic chops. I think what’s most interesting is that she has a warmth and a curiosity … she’s interested in learning. We put hosts into a lot of different shows and many of them come from TV, film or sports where they're used to people asking them questions. The hardest thing to find in a great host is someone who listens and is genuinely curious about what the other person has to say, and she does that. When her name came up in conjunction with this project, I couldn’t think of anyone better for the role.
PT: What are your expectations and goals for "Friday Night Vibes?"
CH: Ideally we would like to bring in some new audiences that we weren't necessarily focused on programming for. I think there are a lot of diverse voices across all of TBS both in front of and behind the camera, but I don't know that we'd ever planted our flag on a show or a night. Certainly this is going to be a place and a destination that celebrates diverse voices. Honestly this one is not about the ratings -- I hope people come and I think people will come to see Tiffany and to hear what she has to say. The win for us is introducing new viewers to the network, having conversations that you're not really hearing from other places and delivering on that commitment to the audience.
PT: If successful, can you see the “Friday Night Vibes” franchise serving as a springboard to new and original content?
CH: I wouldn’t count that out. I would love to have a show that nests perfectly in that evening. Right now we’re focusing on the movies as the tentpole of the evening to build around, but I would love to use it as a way to launch a new show if that show speaks to the audience.
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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