INTERVIEW: Carlos King debuts new Atlanta OWN talk show ‘The Nightcap’

Carlos King leads a new talk show on OWN called "Nightcap with Carlos King," shot at Georgia Public Broadcasting. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

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Carlos King leads a new talk show on OWN called "Nightcap with Carlos King," shot at Georgia Public Broadcasting. RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Carlos King, prepping for the fourth episode of his new weekly OWN talk show, “The Nightcap with Carlos King” at Georgia Public Broadcasting earlier this month, watched his tiny dog Godiva barking moments before taping was set to begin. He wasn’t perturbed.

“Everyone who’s been texting me, including those outside our demo, have all mentioned Godiva, which is so cute,” he said with a sense of pride.

Then he told the crew, “Let’s have some fun and make some TV!”

King spent the next hour talking with three reality show stars dressed to the nines from his reality shows “Love & Marriage: Huntsville” and “Love & Marriage: DC.” It was dishy and loose. They played clips from recent episodes and played games. A small audience was given guidance by a crew member to cheer and boo when necessary. He sat in a throne at one point, a not-so-subtle reference to his last name.

This all may sound familiar to anyone who has watched “Housewives” creator Andy Cohen on his Bravo talk show “Watch What Happens Live.” King is a disciple of Cohen’s in a sense, spending several years as an executive producer of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” a clear inspiration for his burgeoning “Love & Marriage” franchise on OWN.

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Carlos King is the host of a new OWN show "Nightcap With Carlos King." OWN

Credit: OWN

Carlos King is the host of a new OWN show "Nightcap With Carlos King." OWN

Credit: OWN

Combined ShapeCaption
Carlos King is the host of a new OWN show "Nightcap With Carlos King." OWN

Credit: OWN

Credit: OWN

In a brief interview after the taping, King provided a quick tour of his studio and his thought process behind his new talk show.

Q: Describe this set to me.

King: This is my royal court. I play off my last name being King. I wanted the set to reflect me. It’s a replica of my theater room in my home. There’s a blinged out Holy Bible. It’s over the top. There’s not just one golden shade tree, but two shade trees. The set is fun. It’s whimsical.

Q: So how has the show been going so far?

King: OWN gave me full flexibility. This show is my brainchild. They told me to make this show me. I have built a fan base on social media. They talk to me. They want to hear what I have to say. It’s part talk show, part variety show, all party. We are all feeling good about it so far. We want to bring what Wendy Williams brought to day to this show. The audience is rooting for me. They are literally rooting for me. I also have a good rapport with the casts of these shows and my celebrity friends like Tamar Braxton, who just taped a show earlier.

Q: How is “Love & Marriage” different from “Real Housewives”?

King: The beauty of “Love & Marriage” is it’s a show focused on married couples and couples in various relationships, be it engaged or divorced. “Real Housewives” is more focused on the relationships among the women and the husbands are in the background. The main titles show the women. The husbands only have a voice sometimes. In “Love & Marriage,” the men and the women are 50/50 represented on the show. It’s a show that represents the point of view of men, not some of the time but all of the time.

Q: How did you end up with a “Love & Marriage” franchise in Huntsville, Alabama and not some larger city?

King: The stars of the show, Melody and Martell Holt, had a meeting with me years ago to pitch me on a show. I was so enamored with them. I wanted to do an ensemble. Did they have friends and couples willing to do this? And they did. And Huntsville is such a charming city. The people could not be sweeter.

Q: How did D.C. end up being the second city?

King: You live and die by casting. We had a couple of cities in consideration. But D.C. stood out. There’s that rich nature of the town itself. Then these couples were compelling. For me as the creator of the show, I had to make sure D.C. felt very different from Huntsville.

Q: What did you learn most as an executive producer of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” you were able to use here?

King: The art of storytelling. I was able to work for a big franchise that has stood the test of time. I’m still a big fan. I watch all of the “Housewives” shows.

Q: Can you watch “Housewives” as a viewer or do you see it through the eyes of a producer?

King: I can watch all the “Housewives” shows as a viewer except Atlanta. I was too close to it. I watch that with a producers’ eye because I can’t help it.

Q: What do you think of (former “Housewife”) NeNe Leakes suing Bravo over discrimination?

King: I’ve spoken to NeNe. I’m praying for her and I hope they can resolve this in private.

Q: How do you like Shereé Whitfield being back a third time?

King: She makes fantastic television. I’m enjoying her this season so far. She knows her worth.

ON TV

“The Nightcap With Carlos King,” 10 p.m. Saturdays on OWN