Nate Berkus becomes the first openly
gay man to host a nationally syndicated daytime show with today's
premiere of The Nate Berkus Show.
The interior designer became a
television personality offering design advice to viewers on The
Oprah Winfrey Show.
Guests lined up for the show's
inaugural week include actress-comedian Kim Coles (Living Single,
In Living Color), singer Dolly Parton and Elizabeth Edwards, the
estranged wife of former U.S. Senator from North Carolina John
Tragedy hit the 38-year-old Berkus in
2004, when he lost his partner, photographer Fernando Bengoechea,
while vacationing in Sri Lanka. Bengoechea is presumed dead from a
tsunami that hit the island country.
“[A]fter I survived the tsunami and
lost my partner in 2004, I got so many letters from kids around the
country who decided to come out watching what a relationship that
they wanted to have for themselves could be like,” Berkus
told Greg Hernandez at GregInHollywood.com. “I was so grateful
to Oprah for telling that story not as a gay couple that went through
a tragedy but as a couple that went through a tragedy.”
He added that he doesn't define himself
by his sexuality, a philosophy that extends to his show.
“I do feel a responsibility, but it's
not a responsibility because I'm a gay man and on daytime
television,” he said. “It's a responsibility to the people who
are giving me an hour of their day and I want to set the best example
that I can.”