Steve Harvey on his talk show, clapping back and that new gray beard

Originally posted Tuesday, October 16, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Steve Harvey is used to seeing nasty and frequently false info about him on the gossip sites and supermarket mags. But he isn't the type to stay silent for long.

He is now doing a bit “clapping back” at the rumors on his talk show “Steve,” in its second season in Los Angeles. (His first talk show “Steve Harvey” aired for five seasons in syndication out of Chicago from 2012 to 2017.)

For instance, he had made jokes about an absurd on-line rumor that he was divorcing Marjorie for Kris Jenner, paying out $400 million.

“My wife came to me and said, ‘Do we have $400 million?’ ” he said during a small phone press conference today with media. “Nah. Not yet.”

Harvey, who has had his share of controversy in recent years, finds the slander galling. “I’m sick of it,” he said. “They act like I don’t have family. They act like my kids can’t read. They don’t care. They just go out to destroy people with no facts behind it.”

The National Enquirer has been especially vitriolic, falsely saying he was “fired” from his own talk show and calling him a crook on its cover last year. He said he could fight them, but they know it would cost him a fortune in legal fees. He’s in favor of more stringent libel laws for public figures.

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He also addressed the fact 11 NBC affiliates plan to drop "Steve" for the 2019-20 season in favor of a new Kelly Clarkson talk show. But he didn't sound angry.

“I’ve always been an optimistic person,” he said. “This is NBC’s decision... I don’t own any TV networks but I’m not a grudge type of person. I happen to be a talent. I think people recognize that. Whatever happens with the show moving forward, I’ll be just fine.”

The "Steve" production company IMG Original Content, assuming it can keep his show going, will shop his show to other stations in affected markets such as Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco and D.C.

Locally, Harvey’s show airs weekdays in Atlanta at 3 p.m. on Fox 5  and garners strong ratings.

Nationally, "Steve" falls in the middle in terms of ratings among syndicated talk shows, comparable to "The Rachael Ray Show" and "The Wendy Williams Show." ("Dr. Phil," "Ellen" and "Live With Kelly and Ryan" pull in bigger numbers.)

Geoffrey Owens speaks to Steve Harvey  on "Steve" this Thursday, October 18, 2018. CREDIT: "Steve"

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He said he will be giving away more money during sweeps in November and celebrities such as Boris Kodjoe and Kevin Hart will show up. This Wednesday, Geoffrey Owens ( "The Cosby Show") talks about job shaming since he was caught bagging groceries at a Trader Joe's and received a job with a Tyler Perry drama.

Harvey looks different this season, growing out a gray beard for the first time.

“I’m 61 years old,” he said. “I’ve got five grandkids now. To be honest, I got tired of dying my mustache. What happened every year was I was getting a little grayer there. Last year, I thought about it but I wasn’t quite there. I had only 10 gray strands. It just looked like threads hanging off my mustache.”

This past summer, he decided to just let it go and grow it all out, mixed gray and all. “My wife liked it,” he said. “I just think it’s time to change it up every 10 years. I cut my hair off at 50. I changed my suits eight years ago.”

Harvey, who moved to Los Angeles full time last year for the first time in a good while, said he does enjoy the placid weather over the chilly winters of Chicago. The downside: L.A.’s ridiculously high real estate prices. “I don’t know who told them that this stuff out here was worth this much money but it ain’t!” he said.

He still keeps a house in Atlanta, though he is hardly ever there. “I’m not giving that up!” he said. “It’s much cheaper than the one I have here.”