The (TV) ratings have cemented (Steve) Harvey’s status as one of the foremost entertainers in America, one who juggles a national morning radio show, the game show “Family Feud” and side projects — if they can be called that — like a feature film, “Think Like a Man,” that made $100 million last year.
Mr. Harvey, a stand-up comic who used to see himself in the late-night mold but now hosts advice segments like “United Dates of America,” is adjusting to all the attention. Recently The Hollywood Reporter dared ask in a headline if he was “the next Oprah.”
“That’s a scary headline, man,” he exclaimed in a telephone interview before saying all the right things about Ms. Winfrey being “one of a kind.”
It’s true that no daytime host is likely to ever reach Ms. Winfrey’s ratings highs. Among talk show hosts, Phil McGraw (Dr. Phil) and Ellen DeGeneres are the closest, with a 1.7 rating among women 25 to 54, compared with Ms. Winfrey’s 3.1 in her final season in 2011. But stations still want to draw the biggest audience they can at 3 and 4 p.m., leading into their local newscasts and their prime-time lineups. Mr. Harvey’s show, seen at 3 p.m. in many markets, has helped them do that for a fraction of the cost of Ms. Couric’s show.
While Ms. Couric and Ms. Winfrey, now on her own cable channel, compete for boldface-name interviews, Mr. Harvey gravitates toward normal-people stories, relationship advice and inspiration (“Harvey’s Heroes” is a recurring segment), much as Ms. Winfrey’s show did in the 1980s and ’90s. Ms. Winfrey must like what she’s seen because she agreed to appear on Mr. Harvey’s show this month, an implicit endorsement. Their conversation will be televised at the end of April.