Friday, September 20, 2013

5Qs on Friday: Cat Greenleaf

Talk Stoop's Cat Greenleaf is Popping Up on USA Network in Daytime

Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the most genius. Who woulda thunk that sitting on your front porch talking to people could be a burgeoning multimedia empire? And, yet, with Cat Greenleaf's Talk Stoop, there you have it.

Starting on Tuesday, from 11am to 3pm weekdays, Cat will pop up on USA Network's daytime block in vignettes mostly from her Brooklyn apartment's stoop. As she does on her show The Stoop on Cozi and NBC stations around the country, alongside her adorable bulldog Gracie, she will interview celebrities like Michael J. Fox, LL Cool J and, next week to coincide with Modern Family repeats debuting on USA Network, some of that show's stars.

Cat spoke with TVFirstLook about her new daytime TV gig, cutting to the chase and the other front porch in her life.

TVFirstLook: OK, so your new gig on USA Network sounds fun. What is it going to be like?

Cat Greenleaf: It'll be about a minute on the top of the hour. It will be just like what I'm doing on Talk Stoop, talking to celebrities, politicians and news makers, except it'll be shorter.

TVFirstLook: You've mastered the art of cutting to the chase with the celebrities you interview. How do you do that?

Cat:  Editing. I edit out a lot of the not-getting-to-the-heart-of-it. I do talk to people for about 20 minutes, but then we edit it down.

I don't have a lot of time to waste. So, I want to make sure I cover what I want to cover.

But one of the things that makes Talk Stoop such a great experience is that people literally walk into my living room and see that I have kids and dogs and that I'm just a normal person talking to a normal person. That leads to authentic conversations more quickly.

The weird thing about the show, because we're outside without lights or frills, is that it's more relaxing. It gives us a homey feel that makes everyone relax. We also talk about stuff that's no thrills. It's a little raw.

TVFirstLook: You kick off USA Daytime by interviewing some of the Modern Family cast. Who else are you talking to?

Cat: You'll see a lot of people, like recent guests such as Martha Stewart, Alan Cumming and Ethan Hawke. I had Andre Agassi on and Meghan Markle.

TVFirstLook: So, I've heard that you're taking the show on the road. What's that about?

Cat: This is exciting. We built a replica of the stoop. It's cool and weird.

It's in Los Angeles. Its first foray was the fall TV preview, so we had Michael J. Fox and Blair Underwood. At the end of September, we're going to interview Olympic athletes.

TVFirstLook: OK, last thing. Talk Stoop may be the best idea for a TV show, ever. How'd you get started?

Cat: I have to come up with a sexier answer than this, and I promise I will. But, for now, I'll just tell you the truth.

I was a reporter on WNBC New York and hosting shows on the Travel Channel. One day, I said to my husband, "You know, I just want to do something fresh that other people aren't doing." He said, "Oh, yeah, you should do that."

The next morning, the title Talk Stoop hit me in the head. I went into work and said, "I'd like to sit on my stoop and talk to my neighbors on camera." Everyone was busy, so no one had the time to say, "No."

Literally, that day, we started shooting. Later that week, I met Rosie Perez. She lives in the neighborhood, so she came on the show. That got the celebrity ball rolling.

It was just fluke after fluke. I already had the air time and everyone was too busy to watch what I was doing. I'm just really grateful it all came together.

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