Anderson Cooper, meet your new boss: Roger Ailes.
The entertainment biz is known for its strange bedfellows, and this is indeed one of them: Cooper’s new daytime yakker has been cleared by Fox-owned stations in three of the nation’s top markets, including KTTV Los Angeles, WFLD Chicago and WFXT Boston. Show has also cleared on Tribune’s WPIX-TV in New York.
Cooper, of course, hosts CNN’s signature nightly newscast “Anderson Cooper 360.” And the Fox TV Stations are run by Ailes, whose Fox News Channel regularly trounces CNN and Cooper.
When Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution first announced the new hour-long strip, set for a fall 2011 debut, most rivals expected a deal with the Fox stations to be a non-starter precisely because of that Fox News/CNN rivalry.
Even Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution at the time believed the Cooper show might have a shot with stations (including WABC New York) that decided to fill the Oprah Winfrey void with more local news.
But with the ABC stations holding firm with local news plans (or, in the case of KABC Los Angeles, with “Dr. Oz”), the distributor found a home at the Fox stations.
Telepictures is producing the show, which will be shot in New York. As part of Cooper’s deal with Telepictures and Warner Bros. in September, the anchor also reupped with CNN to continue his primetime news program there.
Clearances for the daytime show were announced Monday by Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution prexy Ken Werner and sales chief Rick Meril.
“Although the marketplace for fall 2011 has been filled by many returning franchises and the expansion of news programs, there is still a big opportunity across stations,” said Werner. “We are delighted that these major market stations have embraced the opportunity to bring one of America’s finest storytellers to daytime and early fringe viewers.”
Telepictures described the show as a female-driven strip that’s a cross between Oprah Winfrey’s newsier elements and Phil Donahue’s old show.
“He will bring to viewers the biggest celebrity and newsmaker interviews, fascinating human interest stories and in-depth coverage of pop culture, social issues, trends and major events,” said Telepictures prexy Hilary Estey McLoughlin. “He’s got a proven skill set and the diverse experience to propel him to succeed in this format day in and day out. Anderson is an iconic talent whose intelligence, compassion, charisma, sense of humor and genuine appeal will enable him to stand out and create an emotional connection with women in daytime.”