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Country star John Rich released a song called “Shut Up About Politics” last year, so it’s somewhat surprising he’s just launched a show on Fox Nation, a spinoff of Fox News, one of several networks known for their political coverage.
But the host of The Pursuit! With John Rich is very serious about the message behind that song, at least when it comes to his new series.
“There’s no politics,” Rich tells Yahoo Entertainment on Tuesday. “Matter of fact, if somebody tried to bring up politics in my show, I’d probably shut the camera off, because that’s not what the show’s about.”
Rich said he wants to focus on the things that bring people together.
“You know, there’s a time and a place to talk politics and argue your point of view or whatever, but everybody’s doing that. Literally, every show out there,” Rich says. “You can’t turn on the TV without hearing somebody’s political ideology, from left to right. And I’m kind of exhausted by it… which kind of goes to why the song ‘Shut Up About Politics,’ I think, struck a nerve with a lot of people. It’s not that you should never discuss politics, but come on, guys, at some point we should have to take a break, be friends for a minute, and let’s talk about what we have in common.”
Each episode of The Pursuit! features Rich’s interview with someone who’s overcome enormous obstacles to achieve greatness in the “pursuit of happiness” referenced in the United States Declaration of Independence. Rich’s musician friends, such as Wynonna Judd and Gretchen Wilson are there, as are athletes and inventors. One episode focuses on Noah Galloway, an Army veteran who lost parts of his left leg and arm in the Iraq War, then went on to win Dancing With the Stars and become an author and a motivational speaker.
Rich emphasized that he wants his show to be entertaining and inspiring, rather than divisive.
“I’ve already had several guests on that I don’t agree with at all politically, but we’ve been friends for a long time, knowing that we disagree and that’s not really what we choose to talk about,” he says. “We want to talk about, ‘How’s work going? What are you going at next?’ You know, ‘Can we work together? How can I help you? What do you want to do with me?’ You know, its collaborative efforts, is really what we focus on, which I think is a beautiful thing. And it’s what makes America awesome.”
Rich insists his show will be able to steer clear of you-know-what.
“We don’t have to discuss politics in The Pursuit!, because the pursuit of happiness has nothing to do with politics,” he explains. “You know, a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, anybody that’s ever in office in our country cannot change the fact that we have the right to pursue happiness. A Bernie Sanders supporter has the right to pursue happiness, a Donald Trump supporter has the right to pursue happiness. It’s the same for all Americans, so when I focus on that, politics never comes to bear.”
What The Pursuit! will have, at least from time to time, is music. It films at the artist’s lavish Nashville home, which he’s dubbed Mt. Richmore. It features a music room, equipped with instruments and enough space for a band. Rich teased that he and some of his musical guests have already stepped onstage there.
As for future episodes, the singer behind Redneck Riviera whiskey said he would love to interview prolific singer Tony Bennett. He sees the 93-year-old legend as someone who’s “still doing it, who is still great, and has seen all the many decades of changes that our country’s gone through and somehow has managed to continue being relevant and loving what they do and doing it a lot.”
He thinks that’s the kind of person his viewers want to see, too.
“What a story that guy has,” Rich says. “I’d ask him about Sinatra, I’d want to know all about Elvis. I mean, tell me some stories, man.”
The Pursuit! With John Rich is airing now on Fox Nation.
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