By Diane Howard, Ph.D.
Harry Connick, Jr., a man of faith and family, is an unparalleled host and entertainer. He demonstrates on his show, “Harry” the breadth of skills he has displayed in music, film, and Broadway, as well as on TV. We can now join Harry for a second season of uplifting, inspirational party fun on “Harry,” and celebrate with him and his guests each day on this delightful show. Most importantly, we can see everyman and everywoman role models on his show that are significant in their positive, verifiable influence on viewers.
The first season of “Harry” earned five Daytime Emmy Award nominations, including an honor for Harry as an entertainment talk show host.
“Harry” is an hour of uplifting television that celebrates community and women, as well as delivering laughter and fun through a variety of comedic segments, audience participation, human-interest stories, celebrity interviews, and musical performances, all with lots of surprises! Harry, who is joined by his touring band, shines the spotlight on ordinary—but at the same time, extraordinary—men and women who are empowering others and making a difference every day for the good of our world.
Harry’s second season focuses on “everyday people,” who are uplifting and inspiring.
I recently caught up with Harry and talked with him about the second season of “Harry.” Here’s the interview:
DH: Your “Harry” Season Two premiere featured legendary singer and songwriter Billy Joel. This season you are spotlighting notable performers. Can you tell us who some of these are?
HC: They include some wonderful people: Academy Award nominee Candice Bergen, The Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight, actor and producer Tyler Perry, actor and singer Terrence Howard, actress America Ferrera, actor Terry Crews, the cast of “Fuller House,” and more.
DH: You are bringing together musical performers and bands to perform their classic hits of songs we all love. Can you give us an example?
HC: We have a lot of fun with people like Rob Parissi, “Play That Funky Music.”
DH: You do wonderful work in highlighting and honoring the good work of women. Can you tell us about some you spotlight this season?
HC: We feature a woman who is helping those from foster care who become invisible after they turn 18, as well as those she helps helping others. We will be having a retired Navy veteran, who is a partner in the Urban Warriors Program at the Chicago YMCA, which pairs military veterans with youth in dangerous neighborhoods to share common life experiences to survive coping in hostile backgrounds.
DH: I understand that you are also focusing on the work of good kids. Can you tell us about some of them for this season?
HC: We focus on everyday kids doing amazing things, such a 9-year-old who has raised $900,000 for handicap access for parks. We also have Jesselyn “JessZilla” Silva, an 11-year-old female boxer from the Bronx with aspirations to compete in the 2024 Olympics and 5-year-old Gospel singer and viral sensation Caleb Serrano.
DH: You also have historical, cultural icons on your show. Can you give us an example?
HC: We have Rosie the Riveter, who is now 91 and amazing.
DH: You do crazy and fun things on your show with your guests. Can you tell some of what you plan to try this season?
HC: The crazy things I do are spontaneous and include fun activities: surfboarding, hibachi, extreme pogo-ing, bungee exercise, bag piping, hamster ball and more!
DH: What was your favorite aspect of your show with Season One that you want to continue Season Two?
HC: I love showcasing everyday people and showing that we can all make a difference in our world.
Exuding joy and celebration of life, Harry has shown excellence in every aspect of the entertainment world. He has received high recognition with multiple Grammy and Emmy Awards, as well as Tony Nominations for his live and recorded musical performances. He has been recognized for his achievements on screens large and small, as well as appearances on Broadway, as both an actor and a composer.
Harry began performing his native New Orleans music as a pianist and vocalist at the age of five. He moved to New York at age 18 to sign with Columbia Records, and three years later he achieved multi-platinum success with his contributions to the “When Harry Met Sally…” movie soundtrack. For the past three decades, he has established himself as a musician, singer and composer par excellence, as a legendary live performer and a best-selling artist with millions of records sold around the world.
In the 1990s, he performed on-screen with roles in films such as “Little Man Tate,” “Copycat,” and “Independence Day,” as well as the romantic lead opposite Sandra Bullock in “Hope Floats.” He performed voice-over for “The Iron Giant” and “My Dog Skip.” He continues to appear in films, such as the “Dolphin Tale” movies.
Harry began performing for TV at the turn of the new millennium. He was a lead in ABC’s “South Pacific,” and in 2013, he joined the judging panel of “American Idol.” Harry brought his music to “Harry for the Holidays” Christmas special on NBC and to his Emmy-winning, PBS specials “Only You in Concert” and “Live in Concert on Broadway.” Harry’s original Christmas song, “The Happy Elf,” was animated for an NBC Television Special.
Harry received Tony nominations both for his debut work on Broadway as composer and lyricist for the musical “Thou Shalt Not,” and for his debut as the lead actor in the Tony-winning revival of “The Pajama Game.” He also adapted “The Happy Elf” for children’s theater.
Further, Harry is a go-to artist for important events. In the spring of 2016, he gave the commencement address and received an Honorary Doctorate from Loyola University in New Orleans. He was honored to perform at the 2015 papal mass of Pope Francis at Madison Square Gardens, as well as at Pope Benedict XVI’s Yankee Stadium mass in 2008. He has also performed at major sporting events, such as the 2008 NBA All-Star Game and sung the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXVI.
Harry has always found the time to be charitable and is especially known for his efforts to help New Orleans rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He, along with friend Branford Marsalis, facilitated the development of “Musicians’ Village,” a community in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Musicians’ Village provides homes for Katrina-displaced musicians. Its focal point, the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, is a teaching facility for children, a performance hall and recording studio for musicians, and a gathering place for the community. Harry’s contributions to the post-Katrina effort have been acknowledged with a Redbook “Strength and Spirit Award,” an honorary degree from Tulane University, a 2010 National Building Museum honor and the 2012 Jefferson Award for Public Service.
His show, “Harry” provides an hour of daily, entertaining TV that is focused on uplifting and inspiring people every day. It celebrates everyday people who are making a difference in their communities. The show also delivers laughter, surprises, and fun through a variety of comedic segments, audience participation, human-interest stories, celebrity interviews, and musical performances.
Harry’s ever-expanding creativity, joy of life, and charitable work can be seen on his show. To see this delightful, nationally-syndicated daytime entertainment show, produced and distributed by NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution for its second season, check your local listings or visit HarryTV.com.