|Actress Sara Gilbert [Senior '90], probably best known for her role as Darlene Connor on the popular situation comedy Roseanne, has a new spot on television. Her show, The Talk, premiered on October 18, 2010, exactly 22 years after the premiere of the sitcom that made her famous.
Now airing daily on CBS at 2PM, The Talk, as its name suggests, is a talk show that is "like a maternal-centered version of ABC's The View." The hour-long show, which Gilbert developed and now executive produces as well as co-hosts (alongside five other celebrity moms, including Lisa Chen, host of The Early Show and wife of CBS CEO Les Moonves, Leah Remini of Kings and Queens and Sharon Osbourne, who likely needs no introduction) is a wide-ranging program that looks at issues "through the lens of motherhood." The show features daily interviews, as well as a spirited discussion of viewer-suggested topics, current events, and practical advice for at-home parents. It's also designed to be a female community of sorts — a televised support group for mothers.
Gilbert had the idea for the show shortly after having her second child, at a time when she felt overwhelmed, pulled in a multitude of directions and, often, alone. She found comfort in a local mothers group and thought it would be wonderful to extend that camaraderie to all moms. "We started out talking about parenting," Gilbert says in the show's pilot, reflecting upon the early days in her group. "And then we started talking about everything. I thought, 'people across the country need this kind of support system.'"
Although it has been exciting for Gilbert to have her concept realized, she admits to being a little out of her element as a talk show host. Probably closer in nature to the introverted character she played as an adolescent, she's not blessed with the gift of gab. "It's one thing to have this idea in the bathtub," she says, "but now I'm in front of millions of people and I'm like, 'wait a minute, I am so not a talk show host.'" The self-deprecation is endearing, and in fact Gilbert more than holds her own on the show with her cerebral sensibility, quiet wisdom, and refreshing insight.
Active as an actress and a visual artist her entire life, Gilbert landed her first role on a television movie in 1984 and has been performing steadily ever since. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University (current home of the Senior Program, though Gilbert attended Exploration when Senior was still on the campus of Wellesley College), Gilbert majored in art, with a focus on photography. In addition to her long list of recurring roles and guest appearances on popular television shows (Will & Grace, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, 24, Law & Order SVU, Private Practice) and movies, Gilbert has also had her photography on exhibit at the Paul Morris Gallery in New York City and at the Deutsche Guggenheim Museum in Berlin. As for awards and prestige, Gilbert's directorial debut of short film Persona Non Grata earned her an invitation to the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, and she received two Emmy Award nominations for her work on Roseanne.
Gilbert's latest venture replaces the As the World Turns, the longest-running soap opera in history. That's a lot to live up to, but this Exploration alumna has proven staying power.