Tyra Banks and Chrissy Teigen on Their New Talk Show ‘FABLife’, Twitter Feuds and Kitchen Disasters

Jim Wright

Tyra Banks flew solo the last time she had a daytime talk show. Now the supermodel-entrepreneur is back with ABC Entertainment’s FABLife (premiering in syndication Monday, Sept. 14) where she’ll gab about all things fabulous with four other lifestyle experts—foodie Chrissy Teigen, interior designer Lauren Makk, fashionista Joe Zee and make-it-yourself guru Leah Ashley. Banks and Teigen gave us a little pre-Fab dish.

Why are group talk shows all the rage now? Queen Latifah, Meredith Vieira and Bethenny Frankel went it alone and crashed.
Viewers aren’t looking for just one voice anymore. They’re all about interconnectivity. Plus, when you talk in a group, there’s somebody for everyone. You might think, “Oh God, I am sooo tired of Tyra! I can’t stand her! But I want to hear what Chrissy has to say.”
Teigen: I don’t flourish on my own, honestly. We five each have our little areas of expertise, but nobody has to carry the show. [Laughs] I’m not a girl who can handle that kind of pressure.
Banks: I barely made it through my first talk show. There was never a chance to catch my breath, not even when I was in the makeup chair. There was always a promo to cut, a voiceover to do, research I needed to study for the next show. I like this team thing. If Chrissy has a bad night and she’s tired, I can pick up the slack. Or if she’s cooking something, I can chill for a bit. But that solo thing? Not healthy.

You’re both obsessed with social media. How will that affect FABLife?
The audience likes a rat-a-tat pace. Attention spans are shorter thanks to social media. [Laughs] People want your opinion in 140 characters. They only want to watch a video for 30 seconds. Getting them to watch a FABLife segment for three minutes would be epic. We don’t want anyone looking down at their phone tweeting.
Teigen: Well, unless they’re tweeting about FABLife. We’ll stay on top of what’s trending, which, hopefully, will be us!
Banks: We have to keep our show shaking and changing to hold the viewer’s interest. If they look away from us to look at a video, they better be looking at a video that Chrissy posted about burning a steak or making the most amazing Thanksgiving dinner. We still want them in our world.

Burning a steak? Isn’t Chrissy supposed to be the kitchen expert on FABLife?
I don’t consider myself an expert in anything, even cooking. I have a passion for it. Do I mess up in the kitchen sometimes? One hundred percent. Are there a lot of things I don’t know? One thousand percent. And if I get nervous in the kitchen, other girls must be terrified! That’s why I will be bringing my famous chef friends on the show. My husband [singer-actor John Legend] always jokes that I should have a cookbook called The Insecure Chef. My goal is to get people in the kitchen who have never cooked before.
Banks: What’s the worst that can happen?
Teigen: Right! You try it. You burn it. You throw it in the trash. Whatever. [Laughs] Just make sure you Instagram the disaster!
Banks: You know, we didn’t have all this social media stuff when I did my last talk show. I remember signing up for Twitter during the final season and being late for work every single day for a month. I’d be, like, “Oh, my God! I say something on Twitter and people are actually talking back to me? This is amazing!” It still seems crazy when you think about it.
Teigen: The world can change in an instant. FABLife will not [air] live, but we can turn a show around in 48 hours if there’s something topical, like when Meek Mill went after Drake and said he doesn’t write his own raps. Twitter was living for it. I was living for it.

But what if there’s serious news, like a major natural disaster or a terrorist attack, and you guys are discussing the latest showbiz feud or the new hot lipstick?
ABC already has a show that tackles the big events. It’s called The View. Let them do that. Not everyone wants topical. We don’t watch Scandal or Orange Is the New Black for topical. We watch for escape. And that’s what FABLife will be. Escape!

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