NATPE 2018: Scripps Renews ‘Pickler & Ben’ for Season 2

The E. W. Scripps Company is bringing back talk show Pickler & Ben, starring Kellie Pickler and Ben Aaron, for a second season, the company said Tuesday at NATPE in Miami.

“Kellie and Ben are a breath of fresh air in the daytime space, and audiences have loved watching them bring this fun, dynamic show to life,” said Cater Lee, vice president of programming for Scripps, in a statement. “The creators’ vision that a show originating from Middle America would appeal to viewers everywhere was spot on, and we are seeing that in just a few months it is already outperforming many long-established talk shows in key demos and on social media. I am delighted that we are recommitting for a second season.”

Pickler & Ben, which is distributed by Disney-ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution, premiered on Sept. 18, 2017. It’s cleared in about 70% of the country and also airs on Viacom’s CMT cable network. Season to date, the show is averaging a 0.3 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Kellie Pickler is a country music star who got her start on Fox's American Idol, while Ben Aaron is a New York media personality who's appeared on WNBC's New York Live and NBCUniversal's short-lived syndie Crazy Talk, which was a talk show about conflict talkers and reality television.

The show is shot on a farmhouse set in Nashville, Tenn., in front of a live studio audience. So far in its first season, celebrity guests including Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Molly Sims, Christian Siriano, Cat Cora and Reba McEntire have visited the show.

Pickler & Ben is produced by Grammy Award-winning country music singer Faith Hill; co-founder of Happy Street Entertainment Lisa Erspamer; and president and CEO of Sandbox Entertainment Jason Owen; in partnership with Scripps. Joe Terry, longtime director of The Oprah Winfrey Show, directs.

Thus far leading into and at NATPE, Debmar-Mercury's Caught in Providence and Investigation Discovery's True Crime Files have been sold into national syndication, while Pickler &Ben joins CBS Television Distribution's DailyMailTV in being renewed. Entertainment Studios also said it plans to keep producing its rookie show, Funny You Should Ask, for at least two more seasons.

Paige Albiniak

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.