Mel Robbins, who invented the famous self-help “5 Second Rule,” says her upcoming daytime talk show is focused on everyday people — and not celebrities.
“There are a lot of awesome places where celebrities can talk about their lives and promote what they’re doing — this is really a show about helping people navigate what I call the ‘rock in the shoe’ conundrum,” says Robbins, 50, of “The Mel Robbins Show,” premiering Sept. 16 (9 a.m. weekdays on WPIX/Ch. 11).
“Those are little problems you carry around with you that may hurt you but you keep walking without getting there and solving them,” she says. “It might be marriage, money, losing your job, divorce, issues related to blended families … I grew in Western Michigan and my mom always had Phil Donahue’s talk show on.
“This is a modern take on that.”
Robbins, who has a law degree, worked as a criminal defense attorney, CNN legal analyst and hosted an earlier version of “The Mel Robbins Show” for Cox Media. She also appeared on A&E’s 2011 reality series Monster In-Laws.”
So this isn’t her first time at the TV rodeo, and she’s got a huge plus in former “Dr. Oz” executive producer Mindy Borman running the ship.
“This show has a massive audience piece to it,” she says. “It’s not just people sitting in chairs coming to get my advice. Half of the show is me in the audience, ‘speed-coaching’ and doing really fun improv advice segments. The front half of the show is me with somebody who’s working through deep issues but it’s also about how anyone who’s watching can apply these lessons to their own lives and take the next step — like, ‘Holy cow, Sally, Mel was talking about moms and daughters and you really are a smother-hen. This is how you stop doing that.’ It’s all about packing up really proven strategies and ways that humans behave with one another and giving words to our behavior.”
Robbins agrees with comparisons of “The Mel Robbins Show” to “Dr. Phil” McGraw — but only to a point.
“The big difference is that I’m a woman and I’m focusing on much more relatable issues that women, in particular, are dealing with as human beings. They’re the people who are watching daytime TV,” she says. “I admire Dr. Phil, and I’ve been on his show as an expert, and I feel our show is a beautiful companion to his — we aspire to be fun and a little lighter, if you will, but with advice that really works in people’s lives.”
Robbins says she began her ascent in the TV world after hitting “rock bottom” 11 years ago. “I was unemployed, my husband’s restaurant business was failing, we were $800,000 in debt and I never thought that, at 40, I would wake up and be losing everything — from my house to my marriage to my sobriety to my sanity,” she says. “I hit a point in my life where I literally couldn’t get out of bed. It was crushing.
“That’s when I invented the ‘5 Second Rule,’ ” she says. “I thought that if I moved in five seconds and got out of bed I could beat the depression and the anxiety.” She did — and it led to a local morning radio show which was picked up by Cox Media and translated to television. She won a Gracie Award (bestowed by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation); that, in turn, attracted the attention of CNN chief Jeff Zucker … and she was on her way.
She’s now the world’s most-booked female-empowerment speaker, but says she didn’t immediately jump at the chance to host “The Mel Robbins Show” when Sony came calling. “They reached out a year ago and asked if I was interested in a daytime show and I naively thought, ‘I reach millions of people a day online. I’m not sure,’ ” she says. “It wasn’t until I understood the impact and the reach and the way in which when you have a platform like this you can truly impact people’s lives.
“I think that fact that I’m not a celebrity is a huge, refreshing point and I think that fact that I’m sort of unknown is an advantage,” she says. “There are so many people on daytime shows that I love and shows out there about fun and positivity and entertainment — this is a show about helping people and a show that is needed.
“Being a female voice in daytime and giving advice that to women … I like to think this show will help women take control of their lives.”