Granada talking up import

Company has high hopes for Blighty's Goddard

Granada Entertainment USA is hoping Blighty can be mighty in the syndie biz.

Stateside unit of the Brit production powerhouse is looking to import U.K. gab diva Trisha Goddard to host her own syndie talk strip. Granada execs, led by U.S. alternative programming VP Curt Northrup and U.K. formal sales controller Malcolm Allsop, will begin shopping the project to potential production and distribution partners later this month.

Goddard’s weekday ITV gabfest is a major U.K. hit, drawing a 32 share on a regular basis. Host is a sort of black female Dr. Phil who serves up straight talk based on her training as a psychotherapist and her own battles with depression.

Because she comes from outside the U.S., Northrup believes Goddard will be able to reach U.S. auds in a unique way.

“She doesn’t have the restraints someone who’s from the U.S. might have,” Northrup said. “She can tell it like it is without being so politically correct.”

In addition, Goddard has a leg up over most newbie talkshow hosts: experience. She’s been hosting her U.K. skein for five years and before that spent 13 years as a TV reporter in Australia.

Granada isn’t the first company to try to launch a talker fronted by a non-American. Warner Bros. this fall launches a gab skein hosted by Sharon Osbourne, while Aussie Gordon Elliott had his own skein in the 1990s and fellow Brit Ainsley Harriott hosted his own cooking/talkshow in 2000.

Northrup said WMA-repped Granada, which has already established a primetime presence with “I’m a Celebrity! Get Me Out of Here!” and NBC’s upcoming “American Princess,” believes syndication is a natural market for the company to exploit.

“We’re already playing in that space with several types of shows we have in the U.K.,” he said. “And the (syndication business) is a victim of doing a lot of the same things. What we want to do is use our strength with U.K. formats (and) talent to get deeper into the syndication business.”

Goddard’s own personal life could make her a perfect guest for a talkshow.

Her first, brief marriage was to a man who turned out to be gay and HIV positive. Her sister Linda suffered from schizophrenia until she committed suicide, while her second daughter nearly died from a respiratory disease. Her second marriage ended in divorce when Goddard discovered her husband was having an affair. A nervous breakdown soon followed.