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Will this be a make or break year for “Ricki Lake” and “Jenny Jones” clones?

Most syndicators tend to agree the genre has reached a saturation point, with only one of the six new daytime talkshows – Rysher’s “George & Alana” – seeking to differentiate itself by appealing to an older audience. So far, though, even that show has not had any negative impact on long-running hit “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee.”

Several of the new programs, including Disney’s “Danny Bonaduce” and Twentieth’s “Gabrielle Carteris,” profess to be going after a broader 18-49 audience. But just how many 49-year-olds want to watch a male stripper simulate a masturbation act on “Danny” remains to be seen (the show got a bit tamer by week’s end).

With all but one of the debuting daytime talkers premiering below a 2 rating (see story, page 27), some syndicators are beginning to wonder how many women in the 16-24 age range are really home at 11 a.m. on a Wednesday.

“If we reach a 2 rating, we’re sitting here thinking that we’ve got something,” moaned a syndie exec after looking at the first week’s numbers.

After marathon talkshow-watching sessions last week, syndie execs complained that most of the new and returning entrants were stepping all over each other with the same outrageous topics, guests and audiences.

And at the end of the day, one bleary-eyed exec could not match up the topics with the shows; they all blended together.

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