On an expansive set that is, appropriately, fit for a queen, Queen Latifah surveys her kingdom for "The Queen Latifah Show" (begins 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16 on Channel 4).
With two-story faux-marble walls, wood accents throughout and a two-chair chat area near a fireplace, this set designed by Lenny Kravitz's company looks like it was built to last.
But in TV, a show's longevity is in the hands of viewers. If they tune in, "The Queen Latifah Show" will be around for a while; if they do not, this expensive-looking set will be broken down for scrap by May.
During a late-July visit to the Sony studios where the show is taped, Queen Latifah said her goal is not to be the next Oprah Winfrey, the most popular daytime-TV host of all time.
''Oprah is Oprah, and she's still being Oprah, in case anyone hadn't noticed," Queen Latifah said. "Obviously there are great things she accomplished and I'd love to be able to accomplish some of those things, but I think what I bring to television is me.
"I'm Queen Latifah. I've had a different life story and a different path that I've traveled."
Premiere-week guests on this talk-variety show will include John Travolta, Jamie Foxx, Sharon Stone and Will Smith, who has a stake in the series, which is produced by, among others, Overbrook Entertainment, Smith's company with wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
''She's very funny, she's very witty, she's very intelligent, she has a lot of heart, and I'm in agreement with her; I think what we're missing today is heart in this platform," Jada Pinkett Smith said, seated on a couch next to Queen Latifah. "Latifah to me, when we did the research on her, she is across the board; from 3 to 80, women, men, kids, she is extremely likable.
"For us, it was just a win. I couldn't think of any talent, besides Latifah -- besides the fact that she's my friend -- I couldn't think of anyone else that could win in this space besides Latifah."