- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. | Actor/producer Kirk Cameron, who rose to fame as a teen heartthrob in the sitcom “Growing Pains” and has gone on to star in Christian-themed movies, says he knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of blunt, prying media questions — which is why he promises a “no gotcha” zone for his new talk show, “Takeaways,” on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

“A pet peeve [about interviewers] would be thinking that somebody is asking you for an honest answer to a question. But then when you give it you realize it was just a setup for filleting or roasting or whatever. And that’s happened several times,” Mr. Cameron told The Washington Times during last week’s National Religious Broadcasters conference.

(The Times is a sponsor of the conference.)

The new talk show will give viewers “actionable” information about topics relating to life, health, finances and similar topics, he said. His interviewing style will try to elicit “real things” that he and his audience can “download and make a difference,” he added.

“I’m just not the kind of interviewer that’s going to mislead somebody and then throw a ‘gotcha’ question at them,” he said.

Mr. Cameron said he understands the strategy some secular interviewers would employ.

“There’s a business behind all of this,” he said. “People are going to try to poke and prod and get things that are going to try to spike the ratings.”

Those in the public eye need to “go in there and understand that there is a bit of a chess game going on” and be “a little more prepared for the questioning,” he said.

Mr. Cameron, 51, has had years of preparation for the sharp elbows an interviewer might throw. His 2008 movie “Fireproof,” about a firefighter working to save his marriage, featured a closing scene that astonished some longtime fans, as it appeared he passionately kissed co-star Erin Bethea.

The closing scene surprised some viewers because the actor had long publicized his pledge not to be physically involved with anyone other than his wife, actress Chelsea Noble.

It was later revealed that Ms. Noble, wearing a wig and dressed as Ms. Bethea’s character, was the one in the onscreen lip lock, which was shot at a suitable distance to obscure any notable physical differences between the two women.

“I never wanted my career as an actor to make her uncomfortable with the thought that you were being physically intimate with someone else,” Mr. Cameron said of his wife, whom he married in 1991.

“That may seem a little silly to people today, particularly in the entertainment industry. But it was more important to me that my wife was not at home feeling uncomfortable,” he added.

“I never thought of it as a strategy to help my career,” Mr. Cameron said. “For me, doors have continued to open for me to do the kinds of projects that I love. So I don’t think it’s gotten in the way.”

“Takeaways” provides Mr. Cameron with a range of conversationalists — his sister, “Fuller House” star Candace Cameron Bure; radio talk show host Dennis Prager, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and conservative firebrand Charlie Kirk.

They “talk about faith in mainstream culture to politics to health care, to business and technology, education, family and faith,” Mr. Cameron said.

“At the very end [of each show], I try to extract these actionable steps, takeaways, if you will, that allow people to do something today, this week, this month, that’s going to make a difference in their life with their family and their community,” hence the program’s name, he said.

Mr. Cameron recently completed filming for “Lifemark,” a movie about adoptions to be released this fall that he said is “based on a true story.” The subject is a personal one for his family.

“I have four adopted children,” he said. “My wife is an adopted child. We have six total kids, four of them are adopted. This subject is near and dear to our hearts. We couldn’t have written something this compelling.”

He also has filmed a documentary on homeschooling, a practice he said has mushroomed during the pandemic’s lockdowns. It will be shown in June for one evening in theatres via Fathom Events, and then go to streaming and DVDs.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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