With the launch of his new Fox Nation show, The Pursuit! With John Rich, the singer/songwriter is boldly going where he hasn’t gone before.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been on the other side of an interview,” he tells Sounds Like Nashville. “I’ve done probably tens of thousands of interviews in my career and to sit on the other side of it is really cool because I know what I like and don’t like about interviews when somebody is interviewing me. I make sure I talk to these folks like I would want to be talked to, ask the questions I would want to be asked. It’s very cool.”
He’s even picked up a new nickname. “I tell people Barbara Walters is probably the greatest profile piece interviewer ever, so you’ve got Barbara Walters from New York and you’ve got Bubba Walters down here in Nashville. That might be my new hotel name—Bubba Walters,” he says with a laugh.
Rich is filming the new show at his Nashville home and has already shot episodes with Wynonna, Gretchen Wilson, Noah Galloway, Ronnie G. Barrett, founder of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, who designed the first .50 caliber rifle, Olympic gold medalist/wrestling coach Brandon Slay, and other personalities from different walks of life. “I’ve said for many years now that our Constitution doesn’t guarantee us happiness. It guarantees us the right to pursue happiness,” Rich says. “There’s a big difference between those two things and I think some people get those two confused. I wanted to do a show that focused on people of all different kinds of backgrounds, all different kinds of skill sets, but had one thing in common and that is they have an extreme work ethic. They are big American dreamers and they are the type of folks that no matter what, they kept pushing forward and living the American dream, and pursuing happiness as it is their right in our Constitution.”
Rich is enjoying getting to have in depth conversations with his guests, and relishes the chance to serve up details fans don’t know about their favorite celebrities. “It allows a guy like me to sit down across from somebody and really dig down into layers of these people [and get information] that a lot of their fans don’t even know about,” he says. “Everybody that is on my show are people that I’ve known for a long time so the rapport is real. The friendship is real. When I ask them questions, I’m asking them about things that I know about them, but I know that the masses don’t necessarily know that about them. The show is meant to inspire people, entertain them and give them something to think about. Hopefully that story they just saw sticks in their mind and gives them confidence to keep pushing for happiness in their life as well.”
He says there are obvious benefits to filming at home. “I could just get into my pajamas and walk upstairs and do a show. What could be more fun than that? No I don’t have my pajamas on,” he admits, “but I’ve got this house that’s got a big room in it. You can put 200 people in this room. You could have a band in there if you want. It’s got a big long bar that’s loaded up with Red Neck Riviera Whiskey. It’s looking at downtown Nashville and when the FOX Nation crew came to my house they were like, ‘Why don’t we just shoot it in this room?’ and I said, ‘Man that’s perfect! I would love that.’ So when you see these interviews, they are taking place in my house. When you see me and Noah Galloway going to get into my Smokey and the Bandit edition Trans Am, we are walking out of my garage and getting in that car and going up my driveway. So the fans are going to get the chance to have a little peak into where I live too, which is a pretty cool element.”
FOX Nation is a direct-to-consumer on-demand streaming service and the show launched Feb. 17th. “Get the FOX Nation app, and boom it will be right there under ‘The Pursuit,’” Rich says, adding that the service and his show aren’t about politics. “Being a musician, I don’t make music for a Republican or a Democrat, I make music for people period, so if I’m going to do a TV show, I want the TV show to be for all people. The FOX Nation platform is very cool because it is not politically driven or motivated. It steers clear of that. It’s actually an entertainment service, so you get to see a lot of people that you see on TV all the time, but they are talking about something that’s important to them or something that interests them. For me, that was the subject of the right to pursue happiness—what an overarching fact that is for all Americans, something that we can all agree on. We’ve got the right to pursue happiness. That’s how I approach this show.”
Rich enjoys doing the new show because it gives him a chance to do something he’s never done. “My music doesn’t allow me to do what this show allows me to do. Being a brand owner of Redneck Riviera doesn’t really allow me to do what I’m doing in this show,” he says. “This show lets me sit down with people that I respect and that I admire and I feel connected to. We get to sit there and have a conversation that hopefully the viewer gains inspiration, they gain insight, they laugh a little bit and walk away from it going, that’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever heard and they go tell their friends about it. I want it to be something that makes people talk and makes people think. I think the highway is very long for something like this and I’m looking forward of doing many, many more episodes.”