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Can a psychic connect in daytime?

It may be hard to describe a talk show on which a medium seriously attempts to conjure up the thoughts of dead family members for relatives. But that's the point, says Crossing Over With John Edward
Executive Producer Paul Shavelson. "This isn't derivative of anything we've seen" in daytime.

The talk arena does seem ripe for something new like Sci Channel's Crossing Over
, which debuts in syndication today. For the week ended Aug. 12, many talk series' Nielsen household ratings were down by double digits from last year: Oprah
at 5.6, was off 10%; Maury
3.3, down 13%; Ricki
2.4, down 11%; Jenny Jones
2.2, down 19%; Sally
2.2, down 29%; and Rosie
2.1, down 13%.

Sci Fi viewers may buy into the premise, but will daytime folks?

Yes, says Studios USA domestic syndication chief Steve Rosenberg, opining that you don't have to believe in the supernatural to believe in the show. It's not necessarily about the psychic elements, he says, "It's about the emotional connection" Edward provides in his readings "that everybody can understand and relate to."

To increase that connection, Crossing Over
is doing more updates on guests, revealing what happened after Edward disclosed his news to them.

In addition, the core audience for Crossing Over
on Sci Fi is women 25-54, the biggest demographic group in daytime syndication.

As for comparisons with infomercial psychic Miss Cleo, against whom fraud charges have been filed, Shavelson says, "John is a best-selling author" of such books as One Last Time: A Psychic Medium Speaks to Those We Have Loved and Lost
. "John is different from a 1-900 phone line."

To further distinguish Edward, Studios USA has encouraged stations not to place any psychic-oriented advertising within the show and is not buying such spots for the show on a national basis.