Talk about your showcase showdowns: Come Monday, the much anticipated new talker from Roseanne moves into the 10 a.m. timeslot now dominated locally by CBS’ “The Price is Right” and ABC’s “The View.”
“The Roseanne Show” had been expected to air in an afternoon timeslot on KNBC, but the NBC O&O’s lineup was overbooked with network soap operas and “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” leading into its 4 p.m. news block.
A KNBC rep said Roseanne had been destined for an ayem slot on the station ever since distrib King World Prods. inked its rich “Roseanne” sale to five top-market NBC O&Os last year.
However, other sources close to the situation said that the original deal did specify an afternoon timeslot, when ad rates and viewing levels are higher. A com-promise was quietly reached when it became clear that the O&O was at a scheduling impasse given its prior commitments to the network soaps (“Another World,” “Days of Our Lives” and “Sunset Beach”) and “Rosie O’Donnell.”
Further restricting KNBC’s afternoon sked shifting options was King World’s contractual stipulation that “Roseanne” not go head-to-head in any markets against KW’s talk mainstay “Oprah Winfrey,” which airs locally at 3 p.m. on KABC.
In the end, the 10 a.m. slot could be a blessing in disguise for the startup show as the competition from all sides is less intense than in the afternoon. Outside of KCBS’ “The Price Is Right” and KABC’s “The View,” the rest of the broadcast dial is filled with talkshow reruns and vintage fare a la “I Love Lucy.”
Roseanne and King World have taken a few lumps in the press promo blitz that has led up to the Sept. 14 launch of the big-budget show, housed at CBS Television City. Speculation has run rampant about behind-the-scenes problems and outbursts from the host, who gained a reputation for being temperamental and flighty during the nine-year run of her eponymous ABC/Carsey-Werner sitcom.
The skeptical buzz has not fazed “Roseanne” exec producer Eddie October, who steers the show’s sizable 55-member writing and producing staff. After prepping “Roseanne” for nearly a year, the host and crew are ready to greet daytime TV’s rank-and-file viewers.
“Roseanne’s audience is completely in sync with the daytime TV demo — that is her core audience,” said October, a veteran of talk TV and HBO comedy specs.
“Our show is going to be everything we’ve said it would be: some comedy, some interviews, some serious topics. We’re not going to be held to a rigid format because that would go against the great qualities of Roseanne — that spontaneity and curiosity that she’s know for,” October said. “People expect the unexpected from Roseanne.”
The Sept. 14 premiere seg is set to be taped Friday, after which “Roseanne” will generally tape one day before airdate. October wouldn’t divulge the guest list for opening day, but celebs dropping by in the first two weeks include Reba McEntire, Dennis Rodman, Debbie Reynolds, Jerry Springer, Lily Tomlin, Ellen DeGeneres, Judy Sheindlin (aka “Judge Judy”) plus singers Tori Amos, k.d. lang and Patti Labelle.