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If fall 2012 is all about Katie Couric, this fall is about another newser-turned-talk show host, Anderson Cooper, who premieres his program Sept. 12. Early looks at Cooper’s new show, Anderson, reveal a production that reflects Cooper’s sophisticated image. His studio, in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center, is all windows and city views.
“We’re going to tell stories that will showcase the different sides of Anderson that most people don’t know,” says Lisa Morin, an Oprah Winfrey vet who is executive producing the show along with Good Morning America alum Jim Murphy.
A look at Anderson’s first week of episodes gives an idea of the program’s planned range: On day one, Cooper will exclusively interview the parents and boyfriend of the late British chanteuse Amy Winehouse. On day two, he’ll hang out with Jersey Shore’s Snooki, his New Year’s Eve cohost Kathy Griffin and “Harry Potter” himself, Daniel Radcliffe, to talk about what they did over the summer.
Day three brings a more serious topic, with Cooper talking to two 24-year-olds who were abandoned at birth but grew up to be resilient adults. And then back to pop culture on days four and five, with Sarah Jessica Parker and the cast of the new film I Don’t Know How She Does It appearing on Thursday, and the cast of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, sans newly widowed Taylor Armstrong, on Friday, to talk about Russell Armstrong’s suicide and the “reality of reality TV.”
While Warner Bros.’ revs up for its big Anderson launch, Debmar-Mercury hopes that its British import, Jeremy Kyle, will steal the scene.
“Our hope is that [Kyle] breaks out like Judge Judy did 15 years ago,” says Mort Marcus, who, with Ira Bernstein, is copresident of Debmar-Mercury. “He’s very confrontational, but he’s very charismatic. He’s done 1,400 shows in the U.K., and he’s really the director on stage. He has the ability to take the conversation wherever he wants it to go.”
“People’s problems transcend geography,” says Kyle, whose show will air on Fox stations in many big markets. “This is a conflict talk show with resolution, so we can be really near the bone. We can be emotional, angry, funny, sad.”
The Jeremy Kyle Show has hired psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor to head the talker’s guest support services to counsel and care for people after they appear.
“People often ask me what it says about a society if people have to come on a television show to actually get help,” says Kyle. “In an ideal world, most of us have a family member to turn to, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Instead, we just try to offer our guests a way to look forward instead of backwards, that’s why we provide our guest services.”
While Warner Bros. and Debmar focus on two different brands of talk, CBS Television Distribution is hoping to spark back up the defunct dating genre with Excused, produced by Renegade 83 and hosted by Iliza Shlesinger, a stand-up comic and winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing.
Excused starts with two women (or men) sitting in a house with a security camera and a gaggle of the opposite sex at the door. The two women are allowed to see the group on camera and then select four men to allow inside. The rest will be excused— often sarcastically—by Shlesinger.
Once inside, the two women get acquainted with all four men, excuse two more and then go on dates with the two left standing. After those dates, the women will whittle it down to one, who then finally wins the power to choose his date.
“Now the shoe is on the other foot, and the girls have to impress him,” says Renegade 83’s David Garfinkle. “It’s been interesting to see how it plays out. If the girls have been demanding of him, he’s going to be more demanding of them.”
The real key to Excused, however, is Shlesinger, says Renegade 83’s Jay Renfro: “She’s a huge part of the show. She can be very brutal—just like online dating.”
This year’s slate also includes several other entries, including two from Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios: We the People With Gloria Allred and Who Wants to Date a Comedian. Trifecta Entertainment also has its own court entry, Last Shot With Judge Gunn.
Some local station groups are taking their fates into their own hands and producing daytime talkers. America Now, starring Leeza Gibbons and Bill Rancic, will premiere on Raycom-owned and a few other stations; the show is produced by ITV Studios America and distributed by Debmar-Mercury. Raycom also is working with Cox and Scripps on daily magazine show RightThisMinute.
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