This ain't "The View," or so say the hosts of "The Social."
Despite its comparable four-women-sitting-around-a-table-discussion format, that's where the similarities end. Unlike "The View," "The Social" (as its name implies) lives and breathes via its social connection. Topics, discussions and opinions presented on the show will all be solicited from viewers -- and that means every Canadian from coast to coast. You can join the conversation on "The Social" Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages, and help drive the discussion.
"The Social" is a one-hour show, set to air five days a week on CTV at 1 p.m. ET (2 p.m. AT). The co-hosts are "CP24 Breakfast" anchor Melissa Grelo (@melissagrelo), "eTalk" reporter Traci Melchor (@stayfabulous), "INNERSpace" host and relationship expert Cynthia Loyst (@cynthialoyst), and celebrity blogger Lainey Lui (usually just known as Lainey, @LaineyGossip). (There will also be guests on the show; the first guest slated for the premiere episode is Canadian darling Elisha Cuthbert.) HuffPost Canada TV sat down with the cheerful co-hosts for a brief chat, and if "The Social" harnesses the energy I experienced in a 10-minute conversation, then the network just might have a hit.
Are The Ladies Adopting Personas?
What you see is what you get. The women of "The View" are set in their roles: one is argumentative, another placates, another instigates, and then one cracks a joke to alleviate the tension. Don't expect such things on "The Social." Each of the hosts is going to be exactly who they are in real life -- minus all the TV pretense.
"I think the only way a show like this will fly is if you're your authentic self," said Grelo. "Even though [Lainey] would willingly say that she's the 'evil one,' I think you'll be surprised by, depending on whichever issue is being discussed ... there's someone who's going to be reflecting your point of view, or very likely the complete opposite of what you feel."
"I think archetypes emerge organically," said Lui. "The audience will gravitate to one person over the other. That's just natural. We all do it as viewers as well. We'll essentially be taking our authentic positions on any issue and we'll ride with that."
What Topics Are They Going To Cover?
No topics are off-limits, apparently. Lui won't even be shying away from her favourite topic: poo. Yes, that's right. Fans of the blogger know that Lui is always talking about it, and on this show, it'll be no different. Additionally, the women are ready for any sort of negative backlash from viewers, because that's precisely what they want to provoke. Issues are also drawn from the day's headlines, meaning a very topical, timely and relevant discussion. There are also lifestyle topics that the ladies will broach -- like gluten-free diets, or that rash that just won't go away.
"[The show] is going to be polarizing," said Grelo. "The whole idea here isn't that we can all agree in the end. That's not the point. That's boring TV. It's about debate, about conversations that are going to bring us further into the issue. I say bring it on. We will debate with the viewers, especially those that really disagree with one of our points of view."
"I'm hoping that we can talk about poo," said Lainey. "We'll see if we can work some poo in there."
"I'm trying to work some breastmilk into the discussion, I'm not kidding," said Loyst, laughing.
"As much as we have fun and engage in the pop-culture side of things, we'll also have a serious side," said Melchor. "Politics, potential war, we are a show dealing with real issues right now. We're not afraid to get down and dirty. We're not all about artifice."
Are Canadians Ready For This Kind Of Show?
Yes, Canadians are nice, non-argumentative people, aren't we? You'd think we'd need an outlet at this point. "The Social" seeks to provide that, by offering a forum for people to vent their frustrations or open up about a particular issue that's been on their minds.
"One thing I've been hearing a lot of is: 'Oh my goodness, it's about time someone did a show like this,'" said Loyst. "We have been consuming the American version of this for a very long time. There is something quintessential about being Canadian, we have our experiences with things, like gay rights, or birth control, our natural resources ... we don't need Americans to talk for us anymore. We have a distinctive voice."
Who Is "The Social" For, Exactly?
This isn't just a show for house-bound folks in the early afternoon. It's not just for people with kids, or people in relationships. And it's not just for women, either. Men are also encouraged to join in the conversation. The co-hosts are seeking to reach the farthest corners of the country -- from the most western point of B.C. to the very eastern tip of P.E.I -- and to try to engage every viewer that gives "The Social" a chance.
"We're all in our 30s, so we're all in the same age group, but I don't think that lessens how different we all are," said Loyst. "We're all coming from different perspectives, both personally and professionally. Professionally, we've done a lot of things, and personally, I've been in a long-term relationship and I'm anti-marriage with new son, Traci is a single mom with twins, Lainey is vehemently against having kids and is vocal about that, and Melissa is in a long-term relationship as well, and is the mother to a dog."
"It's not just about Toronto and Vancouver," said Melchor. "It's about Canada."
"The Social" premieres on Monday, September 2 at 1 p.m. ET (2 p.m. AT) on CTV.
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