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Annino Named Rachael Ray Executive Producer

King World has named 18-year Entertainment Tonight veteran Janet Annino as executive producer of Rachael Ray's new fall 2006 syndicated talk show.

Terry Wood, president of creative affairs and development for King World and Paramount Domestic Television, calls Annino, the "right person for the job."

Annino, the co-executive producer of ET and the producer of Ray's segments for it, "really understands Rachael's existing relationship with the audience" and knows how to build on it, Wood says.

Wood wanted someone with experience in syndication and sought to borrow a page from Paramount's successful Dr. Phil playbook. That show opted for an executive producer, Carla Pennington, without talk experience but who meshed with the host and understood his personality.

"Janet has keen insight into who Rachael is," Wood says.

Pre-production has already begun on Ray's New York-based talk show, which counts Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions among those involved in the series, now cleared in more than 85% of the U.S.

Ray will cut her Food Network schedule from four to two shows and will have completed taping on them by the time production on the daily talk show begins in July, according to Wood.

For competitive reasons, Wood wouldn't discuss the format, but said it won't be a typical sit-on-the-couch celebrity interview-style show.

Annino joined ET in 1988 as assistant director, moving to supervising producer in 1994, senior producer in 2000, and her current post last year. She also created pilots for Paramount's weekly movie review show, HotTicket, and for a potential talk show with ET's fashion maven, Steven Cojocaru, which was sidelined due to his health problems. She has also produced a pair of ET network specials for CBS.