Daytime’s New Duo: Ice-T and Coco Austin Are Out to “Deglamorize Talk Shows”

Ice-T and Coco
Smallz And Raskind/Warner Bros.
Ice-T and Coco

No, it’s not the latest drink at Starbucks. Ice & Coco, a new syndicated daytime talk show starring actor-rapper Ice-T (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and his wife, Coco Austin, begins a test run Monday, August 3 on Fox-owned stations in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and other major cities. Yes, they’ll bring along a pooper-scooper.

What’s missing in daytime talk shows that you two can deliver?
I don’t know, because I don’t watch ’em. I’m too busy. But I know good hosts from bad ones. I’ve been in the game so long I was interviewed by Merv Griffin, one of the best there ever was. I’ve also been interviewed by hosts who think I play baseball.
Coco: When I watch daytime talk, I need to relate. I want to feel I’m connecting to real people, not “Hollywood real,” which is why our show is going to have a big family-and-friends vibe. Even our bulldogs, Maximus and Spartacus, will be there.
Ice: Unlike some showbiz people, we don’t leave the planet. We’re grounded. We eat at Taco Bell. Our show is going to be different. Guaranteed!
Coco: We want to deglamorize talk shows.
Ice: A lot of Hollywood types like to convince the audience they’re different, more special than other people, when they’re really not. We’re just here to chill with guests we like. The producers gave us a list of possible guests to consider and we went down the list going, “No. No. No. Okay. No. No. Huh? Who? We don’t even recognize that name.” We gotta be interested if we want our audience to be interested.
Coco: And we’re not giving the guests questions in advance. We want everything honest and impromptu, not planned.

And word is, no gossip allowed?
Digging into people’s personal business is just wack to me. I don’t care who’s f—ing who or who left who. Besides, your guests won’t keep coming back if you blindside them with their own drama.
Coco: When we did our reality show [E!’s Ice Loves Coco], we didn’t throw drinks in each other’s faces and flip over tables. We don’t fight. And it was a hit!

So after nearly 15 years of marriage, you never disagree?
Of course we do! All the time. Ice sees all the negative in the world, and I’m the optimistic girly girl with the rose-colored glasses. But that’s why he’s attracted to me.
Ice: Well, that and her real nice booty.
Coco: We’ve worked side by side throughout our marriage. At this point, we got it down. We know each other.
Ice: Totally.
Coco: Except Ice is always surprising me with the things that come out of that mouth. I think I know his brain, but then he’ll say some crazy, off-the-wall s—t and I’m, like, “Oh, my God!” I’m very hard to embarrass but, with him, I’ve always got my head in my hand going, “You did not just say that!”

Since you’ve made it this far in the marriage, do you think you’ll go the distance? [Note: This interview took place before the couple announced that they are expecting their first child together.]
You know how people have a mid-life crisis? Well, there’s also such a thing as a mid-marriage crisis, where you have to look at your partner really good and ask yourself: “Do I want to deal with this person for the rest of the way out?” I’m 55. Do I want to do another 15 years and be with Coco when I’m 70 and beyond? Are you kidding? Hell, yeah.
Coco: And I’m 35. Do I want to still be spending my life with Ice when he’s 70? Hell, yes. Let’s go!
Ice: You always have to do that reassessment thing because, even though a marriage has survived 15 years, that doesn’t mean it’s a good one. There’s nothing wrong in asking, “Damn, do I want to go another round with this s—t?”

This test run of Ice & Coco only gives you a few weeks to prove yourself in the ratings before it’s decided whether or not you can carry a show year-round. You nervous about that?
I love doing it this way. If you’re good and confidant, who’s worried about a trial?
Coco: It’s not like a talk show is easy, but it won’t be hard being us.
Ice: There are actors on SVU who can act circles around me but the reason I’ve been on that show for 17 years is that people like me because I’m being me. I’m gonna trust that. I want to be wanted. If the show works, great. If not, I don’t want to be shoving nothing down anybody’s throat!