×

Syndie concerns grow as daytime yakkers stack up

NATPE 2012

Katie Couric. Steve Harvey. Ricki Lake. Jeff Probst.

All four are headed to syndication next fall to host their own talk shows in what’s already considered a crowded field.

Oprah Winfrey wrapped her run last season and Regis Philbin exited “Live!” in November, but daytime remains a chatty place. Dr. Phil McGraw, Kelly Ripa, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Ellen DeGeneres continue to hold forth each day, and this year they were joined by Anderson Cooper, Jeremy Kyle and Dr. Drew Pinsky.

The networks have been getting into the act, too, with CBS adding “The Talk” in fall 2010 and ABC launching “The Chew” last fall and “The Revolution” this month.

For consumers of TV talk, all this choice must be like having lunch every day at the Country Buffet. TV stations like it too, because for the first time in years, they have some leverage over distributors and some decisions to make about what they want to put on their air.

For distributors, however, it’s a different story.

“All of these talkshows are good for the industry,” says Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz Television Group. “In the simplest of terms, the more opportunities, the more chances you have to succeed.

“It’s also a good sign for broadcast television that we’re not only doing the third and fourth runs of court shows, but we’re actually doing new and reasonably high-profile programs. At a time when there are a lot of questions about daytime in broadcast, this is a good sign.”

Agrees one station executive: “Strategically, we are going to be able to do some fun things next year. The more stuff the merrier.”

Distributors, however, are less sanguine. No one expected four new talkshows to get cleared for next fall, but that was made possible in November when Fox agreed to take Warner Bros.’ “Anderson” off Tribune’s hands in New York, where it’s not turning in a strong performance on WPIX at 4 p.m.

That move allowed Tribune to pick up Twentieth’s “Ricki Lake,” which had been looking for a station launch group for months.

Renewing “Anderson” and picking up “Ricki” seemed to force NBC’s hand, leading to the acquisition of CBS Television Distribution’s “Jeff Probst,” assuring its launch as well and adding a fourth newbie talkshow to the mix. Disney-ABC’s “Katie” and NBCU’s “Steve Harvey” already had found launch groups in ABC and NBC, respectively, and were well on their way to securing national distribution.

Once that dust settled, syndicators quickly went from joy that they had successfully sold their shows to concern when they realized how tough it was going to be to clear these new shows in the smaller markets where there are fewer stations and thus fewer time periods. Syndicators need to clear their shows across the entire country to get the best exposure for national advertisers.

“There are too many talkshows in the market, both from a ratings and a competition perspective, but that is good for consumers,” says Mort Marcus, president of Debmar-Mercury Television, which distributes shows including “Jeremy Kyle,” “Wendy Williams” and “South Park.”

Says another syndicator: “I would prefer there not to be so many competitors out there running around with a TV show right now. There are two too many shows out there.”

Still, getting and keeping a talk show on the air remains a good business to be in, and that’s why so many syndicators are making the effort.

“Not all of these shows are going to survive,” says Stephen Brown, senior VP of programming and development at Twentieth Television, “but the cream always rises to the top.”

NATPE 2012
Congloms chase big footprint | Syndie concerns grow as daytime yakkers stack up | Distribs, stations guard firstrun syndie shows from web | Worthy successors | What’s coming to market | Comedies hit syndie paydirt — for now |

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Judith Light'Transparent' TV show Musical Finale,

    'Transparent' Team Talks 'Transformative Energy' of Trans Community

    As Amazon Prime Video prepares to send off “Transparent” with a musical finale movie on Sept. 27, the cast and creative team behind the show are hoping the impact of a character such as Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) will not be overshadowed by the controversy that the actor who portrayed Maura caused. “I believe that [...]

  • Cherry Jones

    Cherry Jones Wins 2019 Guest Drama Actress Emmy

    Cherry Jones won the 2019 guest drama actress Emmy for her work as the titular character’s mother, Holly Osborne, in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” This was Jones’ second consecutive nomination for the role but first win. Interestingly, both noms were for her work in the second season of the dystopian streaming series. After a few [...]

  • Jane Lynch, Cyndi Lauper Developing 'Golden

    Jane Lynch, Cyndi Lauper Developing 'Golden Girls'-Style Comedy for Netflix

    Jane Lynch and Cyndi Lauper just wanna have fun. The comedian and the 1980s music icon have joined forces to star in a new comedy project that may be heading to Netflix. Lynch let it slip backstage at the Creative Arts Emmys that she and Lauper will co-star in a comedy that she described as [...]

  • Luke Kirby71st Annual Primetime Creative Arts

    Luke Kirby Wins 2019 Guest Comedy Actor Emmy

    Luke Kirby has been crowned the winner of the 2019 guest comedy actor Emmy for his role as the real-life comic Lenny Bruce on Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” This was Kirby’s first-ever Emmy attention. He was nominated against a slew of “Saturday Night Live” players (Robert De Niro, John Mulaney and Adam [...]

  • Bradley Whitford photographed at the PMC

    Bradley Whitford Wins 2019 Guest Drama Actor Emmy

    Bradley Whitford won the 2019 guest drama actor Emmy for his role of Commander Joseph Lawrence on Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Whitford joined the cast of the streaming dystopian series at the end of its second season, in episodes that were released after the close of the 2018 Emmy eligibility window. The Television Academy agreed [...]

  • TV Review: 'Transparent' Series Finale

    TV Review: 'Transparent' Series Finale

    Amazon’s “Transparent” will have a chapter, or a section of one, in some to-be-written history of television, in part thanks to how brazen and how daring its ideas were for its moment. Some of those were ideas that came to seem simply logical in retrospect: The show was a pathbreaker for trans representation onscreen, casting [...]

  • Jane Lynch NBC Relatively Happy

    Jane Lynch Wins 2019 Guest Comedy Actress Emmy

    Jane Lynch has been crowned the winner of the 2019 guest comedy actress Emmy for her role of comic Sophie Lennon on Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” This was Lynch’s second consecutive nomination for the role but first win. However, it is her fifth Emmy overall, after winning a short form statue in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content