Steve Harvey: TV Relationship Guru?

His messy past could be the right training for his new role as love adviser.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Steve Harvey Foundation
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Steve Harvey Foundation

Comedian Steve Harvey, who has made Family Feud the fastest-growing program in syndication, recently shot a pilot in Stamford, Conn., for his own syndicated daytime talk show to debut in late 2012. If sold, NBC Universal Television would distribute the show, which would be produced by Harvey and his longtime business partner Rushion McDonald.

It will be a relationships show, focusing on Harvey’s unique brand of humor about what makes women and men tick. And why not? Harvey has had a powerful run of good luck with the topic lately.

His book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, topped the New York Times best-seller list for 44 weeks in 2009. It was quickly followed in 2010 by Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man. The two secured Harvey’s place among dating gurus.

Even Oprah glowed with approval as he sat on her couch dispensing counsel, and there were rumors that Harvey was at one time being considered for a talk show with Winfrey’s own venerable Harpo Productions.

A Movie in the Making

To add to the frenzy, production on a film version of Act Like a Lady began this summer: A romantic comedy about a relationship expert with dating problems of his own, the film features recording artist Chris Brown (no kidding) in a leading role.

But for all the love Harvey is currently getting from fans (Harvey claims that his advice has led to marriage for several grateful readers), he has also had his share of criticism. 

Some berate him for pathologizing, yet again, single black women. Others wonder how it is that a man with two failed marriages and some nasty accusations coming from wife No. 2 (abandonment, adultery, “physical and mental” abuse) can be taken seriously as a relationship sage. (Harvey denies the accusations made by his second wife, Mary Shackelford, in a widely circulated YouTube video last February.)