Steve Harvey took a gamble this past fall on a total remodel of his syndicated daytime talk show “Steve.” He changed the format, moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and shuffled production companies behind the scenes.
“Steve” is getting second year to prove itself now that distributor NBCUniversal Domestic TV has renewed the show for 2018-19 on stations covering 90% of U.S. TV households, including the NBC O&O group.
Harvey shifted his show from a more traditional topical and conflict-driven talk vehicle to a lighter touch featuring more celebrity guests, comedy bits, and audience games. He also made the decision to take control of the production of the show in partnership with IMG, an affiliate of his talent agency, WME. He’d spent the previous five seasons in syndication with Endemol Shine North America and its predecessors.
“It has always been a dream of mine to spend more time on the 405,” said Harvey. “Another dream of mine has been to bring laughs to daytime television. Here’s to killing two birds with one stone with a season two renewal.”
The “Steve” reboot has maintained respectable ratings, by the low standards of daytime syndication these days, but producers hope to see growth as the current season wears on. Introducing the new elements to the show has been a carefully calculated process.
“The daytime audience is very, very loyal, but they know what they want. If you want to do something new you can’t do it right away. You can’t just completely change your format,” said IMG’s Mike Antinoro, exec producer of Steve along with Harvey, showrunner Shane Farley, Gerald Washington and IMG’s Mark Shapiro.
“You have to ease the audience into it. They’ll let you know every quickly if they like it or not,” Antinoro said. “We’ve learned a lot about what’s working from the changes we introduced in September. We’re seeing some growth from where we started.”