And Trisha Makes Five

NBCUniversal's Trisha Goddard will join fellow syndicated talk show rookies Katie Couric, Steve Harvey, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst for a fall 2012 launch.

In what was a hectic and early selling season, Trisha Goddard actually was one of the first shows to secure a clearance on the Sinclair Broadcast Group, giving it approximately 40% of the country. But when Fox picked up Warner Bros.’ Anderson in New York and Tribune’s WPIX opted to add Twentieth’s Ricki Lake next fall, it looked like there were no time slots left for Trisha.

NBCUniversal quietly kept at its sales efforts, and the new conflict talk show is now cleared in more than 80% of the country. Reaching that benchmark means that Goddard— who, like Debmar-Mercury host Jeremy Kyle, formerly hosted her own hit talk show in the U.K.—will premiere her program this fall.

While its future is still being determined in some markets, Trisha has been sold in 27 of the top 30 to stations including Sunbeam’s WLVI Boston, Fox’s WDCA/WTTG Washington, D.C., and Cox’s KTVU/KICU San Francisco. The show also is cleared on the Sinclair, Weigel, Hearst, CBS, LIN, Capitol and Belo station groups.

“We were looking for the next big talk show host when we came across Trisha,” says Paul Faulhaber, who will executive produce Trisha as well as NBCU’s Maury. “We had her come on Maury a couple of times as a guest expert and right off the bat, she stood out. She jumped off the screen. So we decided to let her guest-host an hour of Maury. When we did that, not only did the Maury audience tune in but each time we’ve let her host, the quarter-hour [ratings] have built. Right off the bat, not only were they curious about her, but they liked what they saw.”

Trisha will focus on families and relationships, subject areas in which Goddard has plenty of experience. When her show launches in the U.S. this fall, it will mark the third continent on which she has hosted a TV show. Her TV career started in Australia, where she was a news reporter and host for a decade. In 1998, she and her family moved to Britain, where she has hosted several talk shows and other series. In 2010, she started making guest appearances on Maury.

While Goddard is going to have to fight for viewers in a crowded talk field, her show has a few advantages, the biggest of which is its association with Maury.

After more than two decades on the air, Maury remains a strong daytime performer. In the past 36 weeks, Maury has been the talk leader among young female viewers—beating even CBS Television Distribution’s current talk leader, Dr. Phil.

On most stations, Trisha will run in blocks alongside Maury and NBCU’s other conflict talkers, Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos. Wilkos also was spun out of one of NBCU’s conflict talkers, launching out of Springer in 2007. Wilkos is the least successful of NBCU’s three shows. In the week ended Feb. 12, the show averaged a 1.4 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, beating only Sony’s Nate Berkus and Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams. But Wilkos’ performance is good enough that it has been renewed through 2014.

Trisha also will be produced alongside the other three shows at NBCU’s production facility in Stamford, Conn., allowing the distributor to keep its production costs low.

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Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997 - September 2002.