… Well, the show is debuting on television. For the past eight years, Mark Bazer has been hosting the show live at The Hideout, a well-known Chicago bar. Beginning this Friday, April 8, The Interview Show will air on WTTW (channel 11) at 8:30 pm, following Check, Please. It will also be rerun a few times during the week.
During each episode, Bazer interviews two to three people—from politicians and authors to actors and comedians. Upcoming guests include former Oak Parker and Obama campaign chief strategist David Axelrod, comedian Hannibal Buress, Divergent author Veronica Roth, Brain Scoop star and Field Museum scientist Emily Graslie, and more. (Learn more about upcoming guests here.)
“There are a lot of talk shows out there, so why do another one?” Bazer says. “What I’m going for is something that falls in between a late night talk show—where the interviews are funny and entertaining but very brief—and the shows with the longer, in-depth interviews, like Charlie Rose. I’d like to do something in the middle. Fun and funny, but we have time for real discussions about real topics. Also, it’s in a very special Chicago bar, so it’s different aesthetically but also affects the way the conversation goes.”
An Oak Park resident for the last seven years, Bazer has a long background in Chicago media. He was one of the hosts of WTTW’s My Chicago, in which he and his co-host would drive around interviewing local notables about what “their Chicago” was. He has also worked as a writer and/or editor for Chicago magazine, Red Eye, and the Chicago Tribune. Currently, his “day job” is on the new business team at Leo Burnett.
A few months ago, he contacted his former colleagues at WTTW about turning his live show into a television program.
While most of the interviewees are from the Chicago area, Bazer says that’s not a requirement.
“I look for people who intrigue me—I like to have a mix of people who are involved in everything from music to business to sports,” he says. “I have this philosophy that maybe you’ll tune in to see an interview with someone you’re familiar with, but then stick around for the next interview and learn something new. For instance, Veronica Roth is in her twenties, and most of her fans are that age or younger. They’re probably not the usual WTTW audience. But hopefully, they’ll watch this show to see her interview and then get interested in the rest.”
The Interview Show with Mark Bazer airs on WTTW, channel 11, at 8:30 pm, beginning April 8. Find out more about the show and its guests here.
Photo: Kevin Viol