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‘Ricki’ matures format

Talker will change to reflect host's evolving interests

Ricki Lake is all grown up, and her syndicated show will be, too, when its 10th season kicks off this fall.

In an effort to mature “Ricki Lake” along with the show’s host — now in her early 30s — new senior staff has been added to the show, and the content will be changing to better reflect Lake’s evolving interests.

Among the staff changes, Michelle Mazur, who will continue to serve as co-exec producer of “Judge Hatchett,” is joining “Ricki” as co-executive producer. (“Ricki” exec producer Michael Rourke already does double-duty on the sibling Columbia TriStar Domestic TV series.)

In addition, former “Rosie O’Donnell Show” supervising producer Mimi Pizzi will join “Ricki” as supervising senior producer, and former “Rosie” senior producer Liza Persky has been named entertainment producer for “Ricki,” where she will add celeb and entertainment elements to individual episodes.

“We’re looking to make some major changes,” Rourke told Daily Variety. “We’re refocusing a lot on Ricki herself. She’s going to become more involved out in the field, doing interviews and covering topics that are based on her interests and curiosity.”

While “Ricki” will continue in the single-issue talk format, starting this fall it will feature topics that are not as conflict-driven as they’ve been in the past.

“We want the show to be a place in the afternoon or late morning where women can let down their hair, kick up their heels and talk about topics that are important to them, from relationships to sex, to women overcoming odds, while keep the surprising elements that have been the signature of ‘Ricki,'” Rourke said.

“Ricki,” whose 10th season premieres Sept. 16, became a hit in its early days by offering a youth-oriented take on the already successful single-issue talk genre in syndication.

Skein will continue to be taped at Gotham’s Chelsea Studios, where the set and the graphics are in for an update as well.

Among the new format elements to be introduced is the recurrence of “Exposed” episodes, during which “Ricki” delves into taboo issues. One “Exposed” edition aired in May with a discussion of nudist colonies.

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