Labor Goes Into ‘The Talk’s Million Dollar Baby Shower

Gathering a million dollars worth of baby products to give away isn’t easy. But the effort helps drive one of the highest-rated episodes of The Talk on CBS.

The Talk’s Annual Million Dollar Baby Shower airs Friday, and cribs, high chairs, diaper bags, sound and video monitors and even $150 worth of lingerie are among the gifts received by both the 300 expectant mothers who were in the audience and by viewers watching at home.

“We’ve done the baby shower show since we launched season one, and it’s just a way of doing something special for the expectant moms who watch our show,” says Angelica McDaniel, senior VP, Daytime for CBS Entertainment.

CBS packs the audience with women in their third trimester. Each woman carries off about $4,000 to $5,000 worth of baby products.

“Every year we wonder if this is going to be the year we get a live birth” in the studio, McDaniel says.

This year, one woman went into labor the night before the show was taped and sent an email to the show’s audience department. The email said “I’m in labor. I’m not coming today. The first thought through my mind is I’m so excited my baby’s coming. Then I thought, oh my God, I’m so scared my baby’s coming. Then I thought, oh no, I’m missing The Talk Baby Shower,” according to McDaniel.

The Talk has been doing its Baby Shower show since it launched four years ago. Viewership has increased each year, from 1.97 million in 2011 to 2.33 million in 2013. Demographic ratings among women 18 to 49 slipped by a tenth of a point least year to a 0.7 with a 4 share.

Because the Baby Shower has become an annual event, gathering the million dollars worth of merchandise is a year-round effort.

“It’s not like it’s two weeks and we see what we can get together,” McDaniel said. “We have a great department. They’re making the contacts, they’re putting the feelers out and getting brands excited.” The group includes two members of the shows products team, plus a producer, and a member of the audience department.

While the products come as part of trade-out deals and some come from advertisers, the show aims to give away products that are either the hottest or the highest rated in their categories.

“Every year, they put together a whole conference room baby shower and we all see all the things they have suggested. So you’ll see multiple baby blankets, multiple body care products,” McDaniel said. “We all go through the showroom and then vote.” The items with the most votes in each category get on TV.

“It’s such great exposure for the brands because not only do they get the on-air exposure the show, but they get their ideal consumer, who is going out there in daycares, in baby groups and talking to her friends about ‘this is the greatest stroller, you have to have this,’ or ‘this high-rated car seat is the hottest thing. You have to have one of these too.’ So it’s a great investment for the brands. It gives them big returns as well,” McDaniel said.

Each item given away to the studio audience is also awarded to a viewer via “That increases their exposure as well,” McDaniel adds.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.