BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — As the daughter of Senator John McCain, Meghan McCain jokes that she has been in politics since she was in utero. She has blogged, worked for MSNBC, and written a book, and now she is turning to the new network Pivot to share her views on a new weekly “docu-talk” show called “Raising McCain,” premiering Saturday at 10 p.m.
“I am a socially liberal Republican, and in many ways I have been ostracized from my party. I have been ostracized in the media as well. I am too conservative for MSNBC, and I am too liberal for Fox. Where am I going to go? I’m going to go to Pivot,” McCain told reporters recently at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
“I believe I am here because I believe in more than this country is being given right now when it comes to news and the media. And I think entertainment and news can come in the same place. And I know I sound preachy and earnest, but literally this network and this show is a dream come true. And I am just so grateful that I have the platform to show young girls out there that you can support your gay friends and have a good time and drink and have sex and talk a lot about politics. I never had that growing up.”
We sat down with McCain to have a chat about some of the issues she’ll be “Raising” and how she sees her show as filling the space “between C-SPAN and the Kardashians.”
Q. It’s not exactly a talk show or a news program so what is the format of “Raising McCain”?
A. We have a topic each week we explore and we have a guest host. It’s kind of like “21 Jump Street.” We have a loft that is the base and then the guest host and I go out to interview people in New York City about each subject. There’s no fourth wall.
Q. Did they come to you?
A. No. I was pitching this show and it wasn’t working because I don’t want to do a reality show. I don’t want to open up my personal life and have cameras in my apartment and following me on dates and people weren’t really getting it. When I met with [Pivot president] Evan [Shapiro] it was amazing. I hope I can have that experience with a man someday where you just know. It was a very easy decision. I wanted to be a part of something that felt like it was contributing to the betterment of society instead of taking away. There’s a place for entertainment, pop culture, and cable news, I’m just a child of the ’90s. I grew up with MTV News and I used to love Tabitha Soren. My first real experience talking about AIDS was because of Pedro [Zamora] on “The Real World: San Francisco” and that doesn’t exist anymore.
Q. One of the topics you’re tackling is what you’re calling the “death of romance” or the hook-up culture of the millennial generation.
A. That one was really fun to make and I was drawing a lot from my own personal experience with [expletive] dating stories. (Laughs.) People start sexting after date three and I don’t like that.
Q. Sometimes it’s after date one.
A. Totally! That’s so funny, it’s a topic that came up because it happened to me and I was like, “Oh my God!” I’m pretty progressive but I am old school when it comes to personal stuff, so [the question on the show is], is this killing dating and relationships?
Q. You seem to be at peace with the criticism that you wouldn’t have had many of the high-profile opportunities that you have if not for your last name.
A. Oh totally. This is the thing about having famous parents: If you end up being a crackhead on the street, their fame ruined you. But if you’re successful it’s because they handed you everything. There is really no way to win. Of course I have been given more opportunities than the average person because of my dad. All day long I will cop to that forever. But I think there’s a difference between taking an experience and running with it and trying to differentiate myself in this world and not [doing that]. The thing that bothers me is I hate the idea that, because my father is a famous politician, it automatically negates me from wanting to do anything with my life or be ambitious. But there are worse problems to have, it’s OK. (Laughs.) I know how it sounds.Interview has been edited and condensed. Sarah Rodman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman.