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8 Quick Questions for Tamron Hall

Host gears up for Season 5 of her talk show

spinner image tamron hall sitting in chair holding papers that say tamron on the back; pinkish orange ombre background
Photo Collage: MOA Staff; (Source: Disney General Entertainment)

Tamron Hall, 52, has had a busy summer. She’s been testing recipes for her first cookbook, writing the second novel in her As the Wicked Watch crime series and planning the Sept. 5 launch of Season 5 of her Emmy-nominated talk show, Tamron Hall. She shares the inspirations behind her cooking and writing and why she loves giving life advice now that she’s in her 50s.

What can we expect on your talk show this season?

It’s a branding of where I am now. The number five in numerology represents freedom and curiosity. I’m really into numbers these days and the significance of different things. I looked it up and I said, That’s it. I proved to myself that I had the fortitude to stick to it and make this a goal and get this talk show going. I never imagined looking at Emmys in my house that say “Daytime Emmy” [Hall has won two such Emmys for outstanding informative talk show host]. You’re free to rip off the mask, which was always the goal of the show — to have guests come on, whether they are celebrities or not, and feel like they were in a space that they could talk about their life while talking about whatever they wanted to promote. And for me, I feel more free than ever to be me, to be my authentic 53-year-old self [her birthday is Sept. 16]. That’s what the spirit of the show will reflect. People telling us how they found that freedom, how they found their authentic self. And it’s not always easy.

spinner image tamron hall on steps on the set of her show with audience members on both sides of her
Season 5 of Hall’s talk show kicks off Sept. 5.
Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images

Earlier in your career, you hosted the Deadline: Crime series. What led to that?

For many, many years, I was a general assignment reporter, which in the business means you cover whatever’s happening that day — a storm, the weather. At some point in my career, I started to really cover crime. I worked overnight. People would really open up to me. My colleagues would say, “Let’s send Tamron because she can get people to talk. Many of those people were either survivors of violence or had witnessed it. … Many years later, as a national reporter, I was approached by ID [Investigation Discovery network] to do a show, Deadline: Crime, and really that show came out of a conversation of my years of covering crime, but then the loss of my sister to an unsolved murder. I wanted a show where you recognize that someone's loved one did not come home that night. It wasn't a number. I've never been a fan of the news language of “death toll.” I know where it comes from, but … they’re not a death toll, and they’re not a number. They were someone’s brother, sister, friend.

What inspired you to write a series of crime novels?

[It was] part of my rebranding of my mind during the pandemic, because we were all so focused on the important things of life and health. I started to create this character, Jordan Manning. She’s inspired by Nancy Drew, which I loved growing up as a kid. … She’s a mix of a lot of the women that I saw in the newsroom, and even a bit of my career, to be honest with you. She’s named after Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning. I don’t know why. I’m not even a big sports person, but I must have fallen asleep watching sports one night. She’s my protagonist. She’s a journalist who originally wanted to go into forensics medicine and then decided she was going to enter this world of journalism. And she’s pulled in many directions as she becomes an advocate for different people that we watch her follow as she works to solve different mysteries.

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You’re also working on your first cookbook. Are you a lifelong cook?

No, no. Actually, to be honest with you, I never cooked. And my mother never cooked. I remember doing a show, and it was Mother’s Day, and everyone said, “Can you ask your mom what her favorite recipe is?” I said, “My mom doesn’t cook.” It was so funny, all these modern women in a modern newsroom couldn’t believe that I had a mom that did not cook. I said, “Well, my mom’s mom died when she was 10, so her father did all the cooking. And then she married my father, my stepfather, which is the only father that I’ve been around, and he was a military man but did all the cooking my entire life.” I jokingly said, “I didn’t see a woman cook until I went to college, in the cafeteria.” My father passed away in 2008, in between his favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I went home the year after his passing and there was nothing [to eat]. I told some friends and they gave me — as a gift — a cooking class. I started taking cooking classes and I just started practicing. And I got a couple of Barefoot Contessa books, and kept practicing. And through this “thank-you” to my father I started to learn to cook. Now I cook about four or five days a week.

What’s your favorite thing to make?

Anything that my son [4-year-old Moses with husband Steven Greener] will eat. I grew up on Hamburger Helper … the New York Times has a homemade Hamburger Helper [recipe]. I just made that and he loved it. I’m a big griller. My grandfather was a pitmaster. He worked in the butcher department and he grilled a lot. My father grilled a lot. So I love grilling.

What do you like to watch on TV? 

I’m a TV junkie. I enjoy just about anything that you can name. I’ve watched all [the crime series] to be quite honest. For me, it’s from a different perspective. For any crime series that you can name, I’ve probably interviewed a real person that’s gone through that. I am a documentary freak. I just watched this Netflix documentary Poisoned [about] our food system. I’m that person — I wake up my husband [and say], “Did you know that there were 48 cases of lettuce tainting?” Just recently my son and I were watching the Ken Burns documentary [about] the Brooklyn Bridge, and he says, “Mommy can we walk the bridge?” … So we walked the Brooklyn Bridge. I do sleep with the television on. That’s my guilty pleasure.

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What advice would you give young people today?

Do it all. Ride it until the wheels fall off, whatever that means. Take chances. Travel. I don’t care what your budget is. Get a group of friends. Get an Airbnb. Stay in a campsite. Feel the texture, learn about people, see things. There’s nothing like seeing something in a book and then seeing it face-to-face. Don’t obsess over the perfect travel plan. If we can’t stay at this hotel or if we can’t do it this way, figure out a way to do it. I love now giving advice. My nephew is 27, and he just visited last week with his girlfriend. I loved sitting and talking with them about my 20s, but also not looking back as if I want them [back] or regretting anything. They happened, and they helped form my 50s. I love that.

Who gave you the best advice?

My mother, because she was a 19-turning-20-year-old mom, first-time mom, and she did not have the wind at her back. She was running into the wind, but she didn’t let it knock her down. So much of her advice was about joy, was about being resilient, but don’t allow either to be the total sum of what you expect from life. … Let the journey be the journey, and that’s really what she instilled in me. Let the day be the day. And I think that’s why I love broadcasting. That’s why I love doing what I do. You wake up in the morning, you do a live talk show, you have a plan, and then suddenly the conversation goes in a way you don’t expect. That’s not something you can script, that’s not a novel I can write, that’s letting the day be the day.

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