Vanessa Williams is the queen of talk TV in VH-1's new "Daytime Divas"

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02 June 2017

VH-1, June 5, 10:00 PM ET

By Kellie Freeze

VH1’s new scripted drama Daytime Divas premieres Monday and offers a juicy look at the on-camera and behind-the-scenes exploits of a popular TV talk show. In front of their adoring fans, the five talented cohosts of The Lunch Hour are all smiles and sisterhood, but once the cameras turn off, the claws come out as scandal, secrets and jealousy unfold into TV’s tastiest guilty pleasure.

The series is inspired by the deliciously scandalous bestseller Satan’s Sisters: A Novel Work of Fiction, penned by Star Jones, a former panelist on ABC’s The View. Jones also serves as a Daytime Divas executive producer and promises to pop up in the production as a guest star.

Vanessa Williams stars as Maxine Robinson, the creator of The Lunch Hour and the owner of the show’s coveted left chair. As the woman in charge, Maxine calls the shots — and pulls the strings.

“What I admire about Maxine Robinson is that she’s had a storied past. She’s interviewed popes and pop stars and presidents,” explains Williams. “She’s a woman who is self-made and highly educated and has done things her way and has proved herself.”

This isn’t the first time that Williams has portrayed a media mogul. From 2006-2010, she starred as ambitious magazine editor Wilhelmina Slater on ABC’s hit series Ugly Betty, and she compares the two powerful characters: “Wilhelmina was on a constant drive to get higher than where she is,” Williams explains. “Maxine’s running the show, so her only ambition is to keep the show the best that she can, because it’s her baby.”

Being the driving force behind a series pushes Maxine to address tough topics in her never-ending quest for ratings. “One of the biggest things that we deal with in the first episode is ageism,” shares Williams. “Maxine is the oldest out of everyone and she’s trying hard to remain relevant and youthful. … I’m 54 years old so I know what that feels like.”

And as the series’ elder stateswoman, the former Miss America reveals that she’s been dubbed the cast mom by her younger costars Tichina Arnold, Chloe Bridges, Camille Guaty and Fiona Gubelmann.

“I’ve been a mother for almost 30 years now,” Williams shrugs. “So if people see that as my role, it’s great.” But Williams is more than the show’s mom; she is its center and is perfect as the series’ crafty and charismatic heart.
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