Portia Bruner starting new Fox 5 daily talk show this fall

Management decided to go local after ‘The Real’ was canceled.

With syndicated talk show “The Real” nixed after eight seasons, Fox 5 management found itself earlier this year with a hole to fill at 1 p.m. weekdays coming this fall.

Instead of hunting for other syndicated programs or adding more local news, general manager Bill Schneider decided to create a local daily show targeting Black women similar to what “The Real” has filled.

“We already produce 73 hours of local news a week,” which is more than any other local broadcast network, said Schneider in an interview Friday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It didn’t make sense to proceed with additional news. So we decided to step outside of our comfort zone and put together a talk show. It’s going to have its own unique feel and won’t be confused with our news product.”

There is no talk show like that airing at 1 p.m. in Atlanta. The CBS and NBC affiliates run soap operas at that time while WSB-TV’s ABC affiliate runs “GMA3: What You Need To Know.”

But the station needed the right personality to helm the show and news director Scott Stucky and Schneider came to the conclusion that veteran Fox 5 reporter and noon anchor Portia Bruner fit the role.

“She has a real sense of humility and an ability to communicate to people effortlessly,” Schneider said, noting how fans react to her when they see her out in public. “She has a unique connection with viewers.”

Bruner said she was pleasantly surprised when Schneider first pitched the idea to her in March. “I was honored and absolutely moved beyond measure,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Fox 5 is building a separate set for her show, which will not be part of the news department. She paints for a hobby and her bosses want to use her art as accents for the set. She herself will leave her anchoring and reporting role on Fox 5 later this summer and focus exclusively on “Portia.”

The show itself will be pre-taped. A start date hasn’t been finalized, but it is set to begin sometime this fall.

Bruner, who is divorced with two teenage sons, said she plans to address a wide variety of topics and go out into the community for remote segments. She will also bring in experts and regular panelists. Her thematics are summarized, she said, with six words: faith, family, fitness, food, fun and the future.

“Black women have stories to be told and I want to elevate them,” said Bruner. “I want to turn tests into testimony and help women live their best life. We connect through faith, whether it’s Christianity or Islam or Buddhism or Taoism. We are raising Black boys and girls in a society that right now doesn’t feel like it’s 100% friendly and kind to them. We are struggling to fill our gas tank and manage our time. We are worried about taking care of our aging parents and paying for college. We are the ones making doctors appointments for our kids and our husbands.”

She grew up in Denver, the daughter of military parents, and graduated from Howard University. She came to Fox 5 in 2003 from a CBS affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia, and quickly established herself as a reliable anchor and reporter for the station.

Bruner said while the show may be called “Portia,” it’s not just about her

“It takes a village to raise a child,” she said. “We’ve heard that African proverb for decades. This is about using the gifts God has given me to uplift and showcase and highlight Black women in Atlanta. I also hope other women can relate to our stories. Fox 5 is being bold enough to understand and appreciate that we have stories to share.”