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Scripps to Launch Kellie Pickler-Ben Aaron Talker This Fall

E.W. Scripps this fall will launch its new talk show starring Ben Aaron and Kellie Pickler in 20 out of 24 of its markets and make it available in national syndication with Disney-ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution handling sales.

The show, which remains untitled, will be produced by Scripps in partnership with Faith Hill in Nashville, Tenn. Lisa Erspamer, former executive producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show and cofounder of Happy Street Entertainment also will executive produce along with Jason Owen, president and CEO of Sandbox Entertainment. Scripps first announced the project at NATPE in Miami in January.

“We will bring a little bit of southern charm and inspiration to our viewers, alongside insights from top tastemakers and experts in many areas,” said Hill in a statement. “Kellie is very much southern while Ben is everything New York—complete opposites but together their chemistry is magic and our viewers are going to love them.”

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The show will feature lifestyle content and will be shot in Nashville. Scripps also will include a shop-at-home feature that could help bolster its business model.

“Our vision for this show is to deliver the best of lifestyle content with two very talented and charismatic hosts,” said Erspamer, also in a statement. “We are excited about combining an entertaining show with a unique shop-ability factor – viewers will be able to buy items they see on set while watching the show.”

“We believe we have a winning combination for a new show unlike anything viewers have seen,” said Cater Lee, VP of programming for Scripps. “We have a talented group of producers and hosts with a fresh concept – a lifestyle show set in the heartland. We believe this is the right time for this kind of show, and it will resonate with our viewers across the country this fall.”

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Pickler first came to national notice as a contestant and top-10 finisher on the fifth season of American Idol in 2005. She won ABC’s Dancing With the Stars in 2013. Her CMT series, I Love Kellie Pickler, returns for season three this summer.

Aaron – who this May is teaming up with wife and GMA meteorologist Ginger Zee on another project for Scripps, DIY’s Renovation Realities: Ben and Ginger – has been a regular on WNBC New York and contributes to NBC’s Today and Warner Bros.’ Extra.

Like Scripps, Tegna announced a new show at NATPE, B.O.L.D. (Broadcast Online Live Daily) and tried to launch it in national syndication. Instead, Tegna this fall will launch the show, renamed Daily Blast Live, in 36 of its markets, also with the hopes of eventually being able to expand its coverage.

Both shows demonstrate a trend toward station groups producing their own fare, as well as the difficulty station groups have in getting other groups to sign on to those shows.

Also launching in syndication this fall is Twentieth’s Page Six TV, produced by Endemol Shine North America, and CBS Television Distribution’s DailyMailTV, produced by Stage 29 Productions. Entertainment Studios is in the market with game/sitcom hybrid Funny You Should Ask, as is MGM with Couples Court.

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.