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Steve Harvey Returns to Apollo for ‘Showtime’

Steve Harvey has a lot on his plate these days.

The comedian, who’s beloved by millions, recently kicked off the reboot of the classic “Showtime at the Apollo” talent contest which aired on Fox last Monday.

His schedule also includes a popular syndicated morning radio show, hosting the “Family Feud” and “Little Big Shots,” and recently cutting a new deal to produce a yet to be titled daily television show to be distributed by NBC Universal.

Working non-stop seems to be Harvey prefers.

“Steve just keeps it real all of the time,” his longtime friend and former ‘Stevie Harvey Show’ co-host Cedric the Entertainer said.

“We’ve been friends a long time. We have a good time all of the time,” Cedric said.

Earlier this year, Harvey revealed in a candid interview with People Magazine that, while he’s amassed a fortune north of $100 million, he was once homeless and living out of his Ford Tempo.

“It kills me when I hear very successful people say, ‘I always knew I would get here,’” Harvey said. “I didn’t. I always hoped I would get somewhere but this is above and beyond. My imagination didn’t even go this big,” he said.

Last month, a Los Angeles Times feature on Harvey explored how the star has become the new “hardest working man in show business.”

The entertainer, who has become a one-man force of nature in the last 15 years with a seemingly endless cavalcade of successes in the pop culture arena ranging from radio and TV shows to books to film, says it’s important to include a message about his faith.

“If you think you can make it without God, your ass is trippin,’” he said with emphasis. “I imagined when I was 10 years old, that I would be on TV one day and I believed in God and got successful. You’ve got to believe. Don’t ever give up.”

Born in Welch, West Virginia on January 17, 1957, Harvey grew up in Cleveland and graduated from Glenville High School in 1974. A member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, he attended Kent State University and West Virginia University.

In his early adult life, Harvey worked as an auto mechanic, a carpet cleaner and for the U.S. Postal Service as a mail carrier. He began doing standup comedy in Cleveland in the late 1980s. After becoming a finalist in the famed Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search in 1990, he got pegged to host “It’s Showtime at the Apollo.”

He scored his first television role on the short-lived ABC show, “Me and the Boys,” before hitting pay dirt with “The Steve Harvey Show” which ran for seven seasons.

Joining Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac, Harvey launched a nationwide tour in 1997 called “The Original Kings of Comedy” which led to a feature film directed by Spike Lee.

His 2009 bestseller, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” would be optioned and turned into a big screen hit.

While his golden touch appeared tarnished after he announced the wrong winner while hosting the Miss America Pageant in 2015, he’s been able to rebound.

“Hosting anything especially live television is anything but easy,” said Michael Strahan, the former football great who co-hosted “Live with Kelly and Michael” on ABC.

“Steve Harvey is still the man and made an honest mistake. It happens,” Strahan said.

During the “Showtime” reboot, performances from stars of the past illustrated how many entertainers got their start during the show’s legendary “Amateur Night” segment.

Harvey said he loved returning “home.”

“I’m excited to once again celebrate the history of this great theater,” he said in a statement. “I have great memories from my time there and this is going to be a homecoming party that you won’t want to miss,” he said.

A second “Showtime at the Apollo” special has already been scheduled for early next year.

For Harvey, it’s a far cry from when he was earning $50 a week and homeless.

“That was an ugly period, just very painful,” he said. “Everybody has a moment when they turn back, when you say to yourself, ‘This is too much.’ I had it on several occasions.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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