Lawrence, Group W reconcile on ‘Vicki!’

In a move that had been expected (Daily Variety, June 14), Group W Prods. and entertainer Vicki Lawrence have resolved their differences and agreed to go ahead with a second season of the syndicated talkshow “Vicki!”

Group W has given into a number of the hostess’ demands, including the primary condition that she be given more creative control over the program.

Under the new pact, Lawrence will gain the added title of co-exec producer with Group W vet Nancy Alspaugh, who helmed the show during its first season.

Additionally, Lawrence’s husband, Al Schultz, will be given the title of Group W creative consultant.

Lawrence’s attorney, Greg McGregor, said Schultz had been serving in a similar role during the first season without pay and the title is in recognition of his contributions.

The new contract, which McGregor said also includes an “adjustment” in Lawrence’s financial package, is bound to disappoint some competing syndicators itching to upgrade their own talkshows into “Vicki!” time slots.

“Vicki!” is currently cleared in 174 markets covering 96% of the country. Group W had renewed the show in a large chunk of the U.S. before the internal spat spilled into the public spotlight just prior to the May sweeps.

Group W prez Derk Zimmerman said that while a handful of stations held off on renewals until the situation was resolved, none of them committed to a spate of other chat shows.

The reconciliation brings to an end the publicity war that Lawrence has waged against Zimmerman since she left the show in a huff, insisting that she needed more creative control and demanding more respect from the Group W topper.

On Wednesday, however, Lawrence sounded more like Rodney King than Rodney Dangerfield, urging everyone to get along.

“I think what Derk and I have both learned is that we need to sit down once in a while and chat,” she said in a statement. “…Derk Zimmerman and I have re-established the fact that we believe in each other as much as we did when we launched this sucker.”

Zimmerman said that Lawrence “won’t have to do things she doesn’t want to do” from now on. He also noted the addition of Schultz as a Group W consultant “will be real positive for us and the show.”

Production will resume Aug. 3, with the second season of shows slated to begin airing Sept. 13.

Despite the negative publicity surrounding Lawrence’s absence during the May sweeps, partial Nielsen sweeps results indicate the show managed to boost the time period average share by 25% over the previous May — with some station reps speculating that more viewers watched out of curiosity.

More TV

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    CBS Stations Go Dark on AT&T's DirecTV, U-verse Platforms Amid Contract Battle

    CBS’ 28 O&O stations are going dark for about 6.6 million subscribers of AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms as the Eye and AT&T battle over a new retransmission consent contract. The blackout affects CBS and CW-affiliated stations in 14 major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Also off the air are the CBS [...]

  • Orlando Bloom Comic Con Immigrant San

    Orlando Bloom Claims San Diego Mayor Ran From Comic-Con Exhibit Featuring Immigrant Characters

    Did an immigration storyline cause Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to run out of Amazon Prime Video’s Comic-Con activation this week? According to “Carnival Row” star Orlando Bloom, that’s exactly what happened. At Amazon’s “Carnival Row” panel, Bloom told the audience that Faulconer stopped by the Prime Video activation and chose the “Carnival Row” [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final

    'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final Season Backlash 'Media-Led Hate Campaign'

    What is life like now after “Game of Thrones?” That’s the question that fans have been asking themselves and that cast members had to answer at the show’s final Comic-Con panel. But first, Conleth Hill, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and several others cleared the air and addressed the perceived negative response to the final season. “I don’t [...]

  • SDCC Roundup: AMC Drops 'The Walking

    SDCC TV News Roundup: AMC Releases 'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Trailer (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con has become a hotbed of entertainment news in recent years, especially for the television industry. In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, AMC dropped a trailer for the 10th season of “The Walking Dead” and FX released a first look at “Mayans MC” Season 2. FIRST LOOKS AMC debuted the trailer for Season [...]

  • ARCHER: 1999 -- "Cubert" -- Season

    'Archer' Renewed for Season 11 at FXX

    “Archer” has been picked up for an eleventh season. The announcement was made Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. The news comes less than a week ahead of the Season 10 finale. Season 11 is slated to debut on FXX in 2020. While the show initially focused on the agents and support staff of a covert [...]

  • Carnival Row

    Amazon Debuts New 'Carnival Row' Footage at Comic-Con (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con attendees got an extended look at the upcoming Amazon drama “Carnival Row” during the show’s panel at the annual fanfest on Friday. Two new featurettes (see above and below) offer in-depth looks at the backstories of the two main characters — Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevigne) and Rycroft Philostrate (Orlando Bloom). Delevigne plays [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content