Why I Decided To Return To Television

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I always planned to return to television. Truth be told, I knew at some point in my career I would go back, but when I did I wanted it to be a truly organic extension of my business and brand. As someone who is guided primarily by instinct, the timing had to feel right. A lot has changed since my days on The Rachel Zoe Project—my small company of a few employees has grown to nearly 50; I am now the CEO of a multifaceted business with a strong social media presence; I’m also the Creative Director of the Rachel Zoe collection, Editor-in-Chief of The Zoe Report, and I oversee a team of trained stylists. That said, my return to TV had to be done in a fresh, new way—less focused on my personal life, my kids and family and more about creating an open forum to further engage with my audience and share my innermost thoughts with them. When I was approached with the opportunity to host my own late night talk show, I immediately knew this was the moment for me to pull the trigger and come back to television in an entirely new way.

From a very young age, I have had a deep love for communicating with people—I was a sociology major in college. Now as a mother, I’ve learned more than ever how important it is to really listen. As I step into this new role as a host, I think I’m most excited to foster my love for connecting with people. Whether you are a businessperson, young adult, millennial or new mother, I want to bring exciting topics to the forefront that will resonate with everyone. I also can’t wait to share my incredible lineup of guests, some of whom are my dear friends and some of the most talented people in the industry. It’s an honor to showcase these incredible multihyphenates, and I can’t wait to talk to them about the exciting things going on in their lives.

In thinking about my decision to return to TV, it was really important for me to also work in a creative capacity as an Executive Producer on the show. It’s my way of really making the content my own. As someone who lets my passions guide me, I don’t hold back—when I have a vision, I go for it head on. Having the authority to make major decisions in all aspects of production allows me to own the format and believe in it one hundred percent.

When thinking about who I wanted to join me as a regular on the show, I always had Derek Blasberg in mind. I met Derek more than 10 years ago through our mutual friend Margherita Missoni—at that time he was just starting out in his career as a freelance writer. I remember that even then he was extremely funny and an amazing source of entertainment. I knew I wanted someone who would say the unexpected, someone who was extremely sharp, witty and savvy. Derek’s intellect and fierce authenticity separates him from so many others in fashion. He has a genuine sarcasm and humor that adds to the off-the-cuff sensibility of the show. And of course it goes without saying, having my husband and business partner, Rodger, as part of the show is everything to me. He is my other half, and I couldn’t imagine embarking on this new endeavor without him.

On that note, it’s important for me as a host to make sure everyone is having fun and that the tone is lighthearted and energetic. Television has always been about entertainment and unwinding after a long day so I want the audience to feel that when they tune in to this show. I believe in “winging it” at not being so scripted, so anything can happen! Further to my point, I’ve also made a rule for myself that on the day of filming I won’t see or even to say hi to the guest beforehand—I want to give the audience a glimpse into the candid conversations that will take place. Even the smallest exchanges of communication will only unfold during the show.

If you know me, you know I am not one to take myself too seriously. This show will be a reflection of my self-deprecation and silliness in which viewers can tune in and know they are going to come along for the ride and escape from their reality for half an hour.

When all is said and done, I am beyond excited to come back to TV as the host and Executive Producer of Fashionably Late with Rachel Zoe, a new late-night talk show on Lifetime. The show will cover everything from pop culture and current events to politics, art, lifestyle and—of course—fashion! I don’t plan on holding anything back. It will be off the cuff, lighthearted and unrehearsed. And there will be lots of surprises —I can’t tell you exactly how it will all unfold. I hope you love it as much as I do!

To read more of Rachel’s articles on career and leadership, follow her on LinkedIn where she publishes a new column every month.