Roarke to help ‘Mars’ talker to get in orbit

Mondale to host popular book's TV adaptation

Having already conquered the bookshelves, Mars and Venus are out to invade television.

After months of development, Columbia TriStar TV Distribution execs have added Michael Roarke as exec producer to upcoming talker “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus,” as the studio prepares to pitch the show to station groups over the next few weeks for a spot in the fall 2000 lineup.

The talkshow strip will be based on John Gray’s bestselling book series of the same name with Eleanor Mondale hosting. The show will be jointly produced by Columbia TriStar and Merv Griffin Entertainment with Griffin serving as the other exec producer. Roarke previously served as producer of NBC News “Weekend Today” and “First Person” with Maria Shriver.

“This is going to be totally different from anything that’s on in the afternoons,” said Barry Thurston, prexy of CTTD. “We’re confident that the format of the show, along with the brand name, will be exactly what’s needed to break through the clutter.”

“Mars” will be sold as a one-hour strip incorporating celebrities, field pieces, Internet polls and one-on-one interviews centering on the male and female viewpoints of the book.

“We had an opportunity to get involved with the most important brand to come along in a decade,” said Russ Krasnoff, exec VP of programming at CTTD. ” It’s a rare opportunity to try to package a television show that lets us voice those differences between the genders including actors, musicians, athletes, journalists, politicians, professors, etc. Eleanor is the perfect host because she’s unique in relating to all those fields.”