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EXCLUSIVE: Ricki Lake Poised for a 2012 Comeback

Ricki Lake has been saying that she wanted to return to daytime since 2005 -- just one year after her original talk show went off the air -- but no distributors seemed to be biting. Until now.

During an appearance on Oprah in November, Lake said she was interested in returning to daytime talk. She reiterated that when she appeared on ABC's The View in February. Since then, things have progressed, with Twentieth, CBS and NBC all expressing interest in distributing such a show. Twentieth has even gone so far as to host at least one meeting between Lake and a potential broadcast client.

One factor that could be delaying a decision by NBC and CBS on Lake is whether or not Katie Couric is going to shop a talk show for 2012, with neither syndicator wanting to tie up resources before knowing what Couric's decision will be and with whom she will sign. Couric's contract with CBS News -- currently worth $15 million annually -- expires in early June.

The competition for daytime slots is expected to heat up in 2012, when Oprah will have been off the air for one year. That makes it good timing for Lake, who could work on either traditional affiliates (ABC, CBS, NBC) or on non-traditional stations (Tribune, Fox) depending on her approach and subject matter.

Lake hosted a popular talk show from 1993 to 2005, appealing to women in their 20s and 30s. Now Lake, 42, and the single mother of two children, is in the position to host a show focused on topics that might be more interesting to older women and moms.

Since leaving her talk show, Lake in 2006 hosted CBS' limited series, Gameshow Marathon, in which classic game shows were recreated with celebrity contestants. She also produced a documentary called The Business of Being Born, about home birth and midwifery, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008. The documentary featured footage from Lake's own home-birthing experience. In 2009, she replaced Sharon Osbourne on the third season of VH1's Charm School.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. 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.