George Hamilton and Lucie Arnaz are preparing to squeeze their way into the crowded daytime syndicated talkshow arena in 1995.
Rysher Entertainment is negotiating with Hamilton and his ex-wife-turned-good-friend AlanaStewart to host a one-hour chatshow next year.
Meanwhile, Arnaz is said to be in conversations with Group W Prods. about starting a talkshow.
In confirming the Hamilton show, Rysher president Keith Samples said the company has made the odd couple an offer and thinks Rysher will be able to strike a deal with them.
That would be the second time the Cox Enterprises-backed company tried its hand at talk. Rysher fell flat in January with a novel half-hour teen-oriented strip called “Wavelength.”
Arnaz and producer Howard Schultz previously had their project at Paramount. When the deal fell apart — sources say that Par wanted an “Oprah,” but Arnaz wanted to deliver a softer format — Schultz took it to Group W.
Schultz is also helming “Jones and Jury,” a hybrid court/talk show that Group W is distributing for fall. That program has been cleared in about 70% of the country.
If Group W is successful in launching the Arnaz project, and the jury comes back positive on “Jones,” the syndicator could have three talk projects in syndication by fall ’95.
It has already renewed “Vicki!” in about 75% of the country for next season.
The two new talk entries indicates that there will be no letup in the onslaught of daytime chat hours in the next few years.
Many in the industry speculated that the genre has already peaked this season. They pointed to King World striking out with “Les Brown” and Twentieth TV struggling to revive the frosh entry “Bertice Berry.”
Then KW replaced “Les” with “Rolonda” in an effort to hold on to the valuable time periods. But that show has failed to generate much ratings excitement so far.
Several more talkshows are on the way for next fall. Twentieth and CBS are enjoying success and wide clearances with “Gordon Elliott,” while Multimedia is having no trouble convincing stations to license a 30-minute strip with infomercial queen Susan Powter.
MCA TV is also committed to a talkshow with Suzanne Somers. The syndicator, incidentally, confirmed Wednesday that ABC O&O WLS-TV in Chicago has picked up “Somers” for latenight next fall (Daily Variety, March 16).