"Our family motto is we never attack but we retaliate," says Ice, 57, making that message to the competition clear: Watch your backs next week. Just like in the hard-edged rap lyrics that made him famous, the Law & Order: SVU star even name-checks a few of his. It's only fair that Ice and Coco feel like they've earned their stripes for a little constructive trash-talk – they had to attend daytime boot camp before getting the greenlight for the Fox series.
Below, the couple – who announced Monday that they are expecting their first child – reveal what goes on in talk-show basic training, plus how their dog's and of course Coco's formidable derrière will play into the new show.
So you've done reality TV before with Ice Loves Coco, but what got you interested in daytime?
Ice: I was really anti-reality [before Ice Loves Coco], so they were like, "Let's do a talk show." Then before we got to do the talk show, they talked me into doing a pilot for the reality show, and it came out so good that I was like, 'As long as we don't have to be mean and do dumb stuff, we'll do it.' The reality show was good and at the end of three seasons, I was like, 'Okay, enough, let's get back to our real life,' and they were like, 'Look, you're so hot on television, let's do ... a talk show.' Everybody believes that Coco and I can really pull this off. We went to talk-show boot camp out in L.A. where they gave us some pointers and stuff, and we're just going to take a swing at it. We're just going to take a go. It's really, a lot of people believe we can pull this off, so now they got me believin' it. [Coco laughs]
I need more details on this talk-show boot camp.
Coco: They kind of sit you down like a school, and you have to run through all the talk shows that are on TV. You run down everything from cue cards to teleprompters. I didn't know how detail-oriented talk shows were. You think you just go up there and you just ramble and you just talk, but it's a little more than that. They had us actually in front of a camera doing our thing. We had fun!
Ice: I've been on hundreds of talk shows, I've just never hosted 'em. So you do learn there's a lot of stuff that goes into it. Once again, we just went there and did our thing, and they were like, 'You did incredible, it was amazing.' Okay? Cool.
Coco: I'm glad you think so!
You mentioned in your promo that you're going to be "real, crazy, funky and fun." It sounds like y'all are more go-with-the-flow hosts – is that where the real crazy funky comes in?
Ice: I think it's funky just because of who we are you know like we're not a normal couple. It's more like a rock n' roll marriage, you know. It's a lot of flavor, it's a lot of coolness that you might pick up from the show that you don't get from Ellen [DeGeneres] or one of your normal talk show hosts. I think it's gonna be a little more interesting especially with me because I'm off the chain, nobody knows what I'm going to say say next.
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You mentioned that you guys were watching the competition. Do you have inspirations or people that you would compare yourselves to?
Ice: We compare ourselves to Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne a lot.
Coco: Yeah, that's one of my idols, Sharon. She does it all, she's a very powerful woman, you know she doesn't do what I do, but she does the business side of it, which I like to do. And I model myself after her, you know she has a crazy husband that's totally off the wall, and she just sticks by him no matter what – that's me too.
Ice: Ozzy's the illest guy in rock n' roll, you know. I'm on the top 10 of the craziest people in hip-hop, so we got a very similar type edge going there. But I don't watch daytime television, I have a job, I work and, you know, I think daytime television is really for women. I've never seen a guy in the audience, for somebody like Wendy [Williams] or something, so I'm gonna try to bring a male edge to it. I watch Steve Harvey, he does his thing and stuff, so I think it's good to have a counterpoint now with a married couple just going out there having fun, and I think the key with Coco and I is our chemistry.
You've exposed a lot of your marriage on the reality show, are there going to be any new sides, any taboo topics?
Ice: I'm pretty open book, I'm also the kind of person that will say, 'That's none of your business,' too, you know. What we're going to do is we're going to continue some of the stuff that you didn't see in reality show – we're gonna take you in and let you see the house now that it's complete. We're going to let you see Coco's shoe closet–
Coco: That no one has seen before, I've been keeping that a secret.
Ice: Our second bulldog Maximus is now huge, he has a daughter. You're going to see a lot of people from the reality show you'll see Soulgee, you'll see the dogs, you'll see Coco's sister, little Ice. The reality show still had one level of separation, we're going to drop that level so now you're not only watching Ice Loves Coco – you're talking to them.
I feel like the Coco shoe closet could be a week-long special.
Coco: Oh it could be a whole episode, I could tell you that.
Ice: You're not ready.
You mentioned Spartacus and Maximus. How are they going to be involved?
Coco: They're going to be roaming around on the set. You'll see them as we tape. We wanted to make the same vibe as the reality show and transfer it to a talk-show vibe. You're going to see the dogs and Maximus' daughter is Marco Andretti's dog, which is a good friend of ours, so he's going to be on the show. [It's] very family-oriented, anybody can watch the show.
Ice: The cool thing about it is the people that are actually helping us do the show actually come from Oprah – imagine that. They're really trying to break the walls and do something totally different and something that's crazy and fun with us. The dogs are just going to roam and do what they do because you can't control a dog. If you're guesting and a dog gets into your lap, we're going to see how you handle that.
A lot talk show hosts that have dogs – Andy Cohen has Wacha on Watch What Happens Live, Cat Greenleaf has her bulldog on Talk Stoop. Are we going to see a talk show dog turf war?
Ice: As long as they don't say nothing crazy about us on Twitter, we are very positive. Our family motto is, "We never attack but we retaliate." Spartacus and Max are very very cool dogs and we would much rather be friends than foes, so have 'em come on the show and they can share a bone.
And Coco, you mentioned the show would be "Coco-fied" – what does that mean exactly?
Coco: Well I think everything that I bring to the table is Coco-fied, you know, naturally. With me, I just, like, do radical things. Ice is kind of the onlooker, and he just kind of watches while I do, like, I Love Lucy-type things. I'm the adventurer, I'll try everything out. I'm the crazy one. I always Coco-fy it in some type of way. So whatever they bring to me activity wise, I'm going to go Coco-fy it.
And, as I'm sure everybody wants to know: How many segments on your booty will be happening?
Coco: Well we are going to talk a lot about fitness and what I do, but I think I really need to touch on that because that's the No. 1 question I get on my website, and I'm trying to take everything that I get on my website and take it to the talk show and really make segments out of them so I'm sure the ass thing will come up many times. [Laughs]
Ice: You know what, we've gotten over the fake ass hump – when she first came out that was the big thing, and then she did the doctors and they sonogrammed it and stuff, and after everybody realized that Coco is a f---ing fitness freak so they just gave in. Now they've gotten past that and they've just gotten into her fitness regimen. Either way, we're gonna see what happens! We're ready. We hope you are.
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Ice & Coco premieres Aug. 3 on Fox stations in select markets (check local listings).