Marie Osmond is a world-class talker.
Give her a couple of minutes and her stories of hope and inspiration will have you reaching for a collection plate. Give her half an hour and she could convince a small river city to invest in a marching band.
"I've sat in that (guest) chair for five decades. And I've done every show," the Flamingo Las Vegas headliner says. "I've worked with Dinah Shore and Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin, you name it, from 'The View' to Letterman to Leno."
But that's not why she's hosting "Marie," debuting at noon Monday on the Hallmark Channel.
"I love doing a lot of listening on the show," she says. "That's the best part."
This isn't her first time hosting a daily chat show. "Donny & Marie" aired in syndication from 1998-2000, and that experience taught her a valuable lesson. "That the 'Marie' show would be much better than the 'Donny & Marie' show," she says, bursting into sibling rivalry-induced laughter.
Osmond was set to host another syndicated talker in 2009, but with the recession, the show's financing dried up.
Later, when she appeared on the Las Vegas-based Daytime Emmys, the award show's producer, David McKenzie, inquired about the project. When Osmond told him of its demise, McKenzie brought the idea to Hallmark.
"Marie" will tackle a variety of topics, ranging from beauty and fashion to women's health, and from food to dating.
"I love talk, but I don't like talk where you don't get into any depth. And that's what I learned" from "Donny & Marie," she says. "This show is going to have a little more depth."
Monday's debut, for example, features a reflective Betty White, yoga for dogs, female-friendly gadgets and apps for your tablet and phone, Maiara Walsh from ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" addressing bullying, and Max Page, the kid from Volkswagen's Darth Vader-themed Super Bowl ad, talking about his heart surgery.
"Marie," though, is still a work in progress. Most new talk shows have the luxury of producing test episodes not intended for broadcast that allow the host and crew to settle into a rhythm. With "Marie," Monday's first episode really is the first episode.
"From the first shows that we did, it's gotten much warmer. It's a lot more fun now," Osmond admits. "And that's just getting on your feet."
The show still will have plenty of celebrities, Osmond says, but they won't be appearing in the ways you're used to seeing them on talk shows.
"We do longer segments. We actually talk," she explains. "It's not like, 'Tell me a joke, and here's your plug and you're outta here.' "
But she's just as excited to showcase stories from everyday Americans.
"I really enjoy people. I think some of the most interesting things come from real people, not even celebrities," Osmond says. "People are amazing survivors. And it's their hope and their stories that even keep me motivated."
These days, she'll take all the motivation she can get.
Four days a week, Osmond hops a flight to Los Angeles, tapes an episode and flies back to Las Vegas in time for her 7:30 p.m. show at the Flamingo, before getting to bed around 1 a.m. Then she gets up around 5:30 a.m. to start the cycle again.
"I tried to get the show here in Vegas, but this kind of show, you really kind of have to be in L.A.," she explains, "especially to get the producers and the people that you need."
That problem, which she calls "challenging," could solve itself in the coming weeks.
She and Donny are under contract at the Flamingo until November, but while she says her children love living here, the travel demands have her thinking about taking a break from the stage.
"While I still have that voice and those chops, I enjoy performing in Vegas," she says. "I won't always be able to do that as I get older. So I really enjoy doing that.
"But long term, I'd love to be involved in talk and making a difference in people's lives. I love helping people."
Contact Christopher Lawrence at email@example.com or 702-380-4567.