As vet yakkers Rosie O’Donnell and Sally Jessy Raphael go silent this month, a handful of newcomers to the genre, including Tony Danza and Kirstie Alley, are looking to crank up the volume on their own efforts.
Also chatting themselves up as future talkshow hosts are Janine Turner (“Northern Exposure”), Fran Drescher (“The Nanny”) and Josie Bissett (“Melrose Place”).
Details are sketchy as to what formats they’ll pursue. Word is that Alley is hoping to tape hers from home.
None of the above have snagged official deals, but studios in the hunt include NBC Enterprises, Paramount Domestic Television and Columbia TriStar Domestic Television.
Celebs get pitched for daytime vehicles all the time, but the departures of O’Donnell and Raphael (and, down the road, Oprah Winfrey, who’s looking to exit after the 2005-06 season) have fueled a renewed sense of urgency to start looking for the next big thing.
Come fall 2002, auds will greet Warner Bros.’ “The Caroline Rhea Show,” Buena Vista’s “The Wayne Brady Show” and King World/Paramount’s “Dr. Phil.”
Joan Cusack and Ellen DeGeneres have shows in the works for fall 2003, and Sarah Ferguson is said to have something in development at Universal.
Still, while syndie execs say there are some interesting gaps to fill, finding viable replacements isn’t easy.
“We’re combing the circuit here, but so far we haven’t come up with anyone who has really knocked our socks off,” one studio chief admits.
The William Morris Agency’s Mark Itkin, who packaged “The Ricki Lake Show,” takes a longer view.
“It always helps to have a brand name for sales purposes,” he says. “But television makes stars, and we cannot forget that we can nurture less well-known names.
“Look what happened with Oprah, Phil (Donahue) and Sally.”