‘The Talk’ Turns Trendy, Lures Younger Viewers

Score one for stability. After five seasons of looking up at the show that inspired it, insurgent CBS daytime chatfest “The Talk” is enjoying the view from the top.

Though “The Talk” doesn’t compete head-to-head with ABC’s “The View,” it earned ratings bragging rights by outdrawing its 18-year-old counterpart in total viewers for the first time (2.55 million vs. 2.52 million) in the second quarter, according to Nielsen estimates. As recently as a year ago, the CBS show had trailed by nearly 500,000 viewers.

While “The View” has had more than its share of on-air talent turnover in recent years, Julie Chen, Sara Gilbert and Sharon Osbourne have been seated around “The Talk” coffee table since day one, and the two other current panelists, Aisha Tyler and Sheryl Underwood, came onboard in 2011.

This summer, the show has continued to trend upward, with “The Talk” drawing more viewers than “The View” in five of the first six weeks of the third quarter.

“I think we had a strong vision out of the gate, but you also have to test the waters and see what works and what doesn’t,” said John Redmann, who co-exec produces “The Talk” with Gilbert. “Evolving the show every season to engage viewers, combined with the authenticity and chemistry of our hosts, has proven to be a great recipe for success.”

It wasn’t until about a year ago that “The Talk” first won a week in the key demos of women 18-49 and 25-54, and the show has triumphed on occasion since. But this spring, it finally became the top-rated show for a single quarter in the key demos, outdrawing “The View” in both women 18-49 (413,000 vs. 396,000) and women 25-54 (549,000 vs. 505,000).

“The Talk” premiered in the fall of 2010, taking the timeslot of canceled soap opera “As the World Turns,” which exited the CBS airwaves that summer after a 54-year run.

The ratings returns weren’t great out of the gate — the show did reasonably well in some bigger cities while lagging behind the soap’s numbers overall — but the chatshow gradually built an audience and brought some new, younger viewers to the daypart.

Flash-forward to 2015, and “The Talk” is among the rare programs in this time-shifting/cord-cutting era of TV to defy ratings gravity, and skew younger this year than last. In the second quarter, overall viewership was up 1% — but tune-in among 12- to 34-year-olds rose by 13%.

Redmann says an increased focus on pop culture and trending topics has encouraged more viewer participation on social media. “Their comments and videos can instantly be shared and seen live on the show,” he says. “I think that instant gratification has really resonated with our audience.”

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