Harry Connick Jr’s Talk Show Scrambles for Guests – Even ‘Idol’ Judge JLo Won’t Commit (Exclusive)

Freshman syndicated series is having trouble filling the white board with big names

Last Updated: August 19, 2016 @ 6:43 PM

Harry Connick Jr. is having a tough time getting famous friends to turn up for his new daytime talk show, The Wrap has learned.

“Harry,” which NBC is syndicating to nationwide markets starting September 12, has reached out to the singer’s former colleagues on “American Idol” for guest appearances during the show’s crucial early weeks. But ex-“Idol” judges Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, along with host Ryan Seacrest, have yet to commit, sources close to the situation say.

Nor are they the only A-listers to blow off “Harry.” Former big-screen co-stars Sandra Bullock and Jodie Foster haven’t said yes either, and the show has gotten a “thanks, but no thanks” from pop stars Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Melissa McCarthy passed too.

Part of the problem is that “Harry” is a new talk show that no one has seen yet, and celebrities and their handlers tend to want to know what an environment is like before they go on set. And of course, every potential “get” has an available excuse — JLo is shooting her NBC cop drama “Shades of Blue,” for example.

Another issue is that more established talk shows like “Ellen,” “The Talk” and “The View” already have a claim on the most desirable guests, and there is no way they are going to follow a newbie like “Harry.”

Connick may not have helped his case earlier this month when he told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour that his show would not offer backstage pre-interviews to guests because that led to an “undercurrent of rehearsal and planning” during the actual on-camera chats.

He later backpedaled and said that talent could have pre-interviews if they really wanted them — although he added that, as a frequent on-camera guest himself, he hated pre-interviews.

A spokesperson for Connick had no comment. But the word from the jazz singer’s camp is that “Harry” won’t necessarily emphasize celebrities and there will probably be only one guest per episode.

There will be “segments on music and lifestyle and everyday Americans [Connick] wants to celebrate,” one insider said.

The “Idol” crew will turn up soon enough, another show source said, and the first round of guests will be announced next week.

In fact, Connick’s old friend Terrence Howard of “Empire” filmed a segment for the show. And Emma Roberts of Fox’s “Scream Queens” is booked, her rep confirmed Friday.

In a statement to TheWrap, a show spokesperson wrote: “Pre-production on ‘Harry’ is in full swing.  ‘Harry’ will be a daytime party featuring Harry & his band, comedic segments, celebrations of real people and celebrity guests, many of whom will be joining us as we launch.  We look forward to sharing a good time with America beginning on September 12th.

Looks like it may be a long fall for “Harry.”