Amanda de Cadenet: I'm Trying to Change the Late-Night Landscape But I Need Your Help

I take your ideas and suggestions and criticism more seriously than you will ever know.

Aug 7, 2014 at 6:10pm | Leave a comment

As an interviewer, I've always had a reputation for talking about what I'm not supposed to.

When my friend Demi Moore executive produced my show "The Conversation" on Lifetime, I looked at my mission as to create a totally alternative interview series where I was able to talk to celebrities about the topics that women really talk about. That means: favorite sex positions, eating disorders, sexism, racism and the myriad unique challenges that only women can really understand about navigating the world.

The wild thing is that without all of the advice from these notable women who I've interviewed along the way, I can't imagine ever having pulled off my newest incarnation on television, which is hosting my very own late-night talk show called "Undone" following "Project Runway."

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In my past interviews, it was Jane Fonda who taught me to stop looking outside myself for validation but rather being truly OK with who I am at my core. Arianna Huffington told me: "Fear of failure is what stops us more than anything."

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When I interviewed Kathy Griffin as one of my first live guests on my new talk show recently, I made sure to continue this same stark level of honesty and conversation. She did not disappoint. I couldn't believe when she just out and said, "Men are pigs," and, although I disagreed with her, that is pretty much what I love about doing the show live. You just don't know what you are going to get, and you can also completely mess it up, which I don't fully mind. Because that means it's not fake. It's authentic. And that's what happened our first night on the air. The first interview got cut out because we ran out of time, and Lifetime actually bumped me off the air without me being able to finish a sentence and it was kind of hilarious, truly. That's live TV. So I suppose you can look at "Undone" as my weird late-night TV show that has me being cut off mid sentence and fading to black every once in a while.

I will confess to you that before I record this live show every night I feel as if I'm going to throw up. That's how nervous it makes me. It is one of the most terrifying things I've ever done, but I try to use the trick where I just completely forget that I am on live TV.

If you've followed the show on Twitter at all, you may have noticed that in the beginning "Undone" was kind of wrongly marketed as a "Project Runway" after-show. As a result of that, we tried to make a joke out of that with Kathy Griffin on the show where she guested. I mean, if I was a viewer and I was expecting an after-show recap and didn't get it and instead turned on the TV to listen to this weird woman talking about how she didn't wax her vagina enough, I would have been pissed too. I get it.

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Right now I would have to say one of the funniest things that is happening is having to go through each show every week with the Standards & Practices people and giving them the heads up about what I might say on air. I personally don't think you can say the word "vagina" enough. We are obsessed with dick jokes in this culture. I say let's give the vagina the same amount of attention. So when I get on the phone with S&P, we'll get on the speakerphone, and the conversation sounds utterly ridiculous. It will be me asking things like, "What about dickhead? What about pussy? What about See You Next Tuesday? Is tits OK? Titties? What about labia? Boobs? Ass?" Here's a tip. You can say "BJ" but not "blow job." I mean, who says BJ? And you can't have things said as a verb, like "to give head." It's totally fascinating to me.

It's funny to me that it was just a few years ago when I was interviewing Chelsea Handler and she looked right across from me and said, "Just because I have a late night show doesn't mean another girl can't have a late-night show." At the time I never thought I would have that kind of chance, and now that I do, I'm trying to make sure that I listen and respond to every single person who tells me what they want to see on a female-hosted talk show.

Now that Chelsea has left network TV for Netflix, I can't believe that I find myself in the unique position of being the only woman who is now hosting a late-night talk show, which is a responsibility I do not take lightly.

Right now, our segments are talking about double-standards, pop culture, sexuality and always feature a guest who I'm trying to make dish as much as possible -- and get into the areas that are of most interest to you.

For me, the success of this show is not only based on network numbers. Bottom line, I want to make a show that comes from my audience and is for my audience. Do you want more news? Do you want less? Do you want guys to have a voice on the show? What kinds of topics do you want to see covered? What did you hate? What did you love? 

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Interestingly, one of my favorite topics of all time -- women supporting other women -- is how I got this talk show in the first place. It was Whitney Cummings who told me, "You have to meet my friend Chelsea. You two will love each other." And so I had her on my show where she told me in her famous blunt style: "I am a bitch. It's really not my problem what you think of me." That's a lesson I take every day into what I do in show business, and as I've told you, it was actually Chelsea who pushed me to guest-host "Chelsea Lately" in the first place which is what ultimately led to the idea of me doing "Undone."

This is why I find it so interesting that men are afraid of feminism: Because it leads to us getting our own late-night talk shows!

The moral of the story is: Don’t support your girlfriends unless you really want them to succeed because women in large numbers are powerful.

Now please, tell me anything and everything about what you hate, what you love and what your dream late-night talk show would include! Be honest. I can take it.

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Undone airs on Lifetime tonight at 10:30/9:30 central with guests Busy Phillips and Joel Madden.