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In Year 13, Montel Gets a Revamp

After 12 seasons on the air, Paramount is giving Montel a different look and feel. "We're going to a more comfortable, warm, bright environment that enhances Montel's talents," says Greg Meidel, president of programming for Paramount Domestic Television.

The biggest change on the show will be a new set featuring wood, comfortable chairs and neutral tones, replacing the blue bricks against which Montel and his guests now sit.

"Specifically, this is a much warmer, richer environment that really reflects the mood of the country right now," Meidel says. "Daytime television is about sharing experiences and trying to enhance viewers' lives. The set we've had has been there for many years, and, to me, it no longer reflected the mood of the country and the mood of daytime television."

Montel runs in the middle of the talk-show pack in terms of ratings but is getting stronger with daytime's key female demos. Season-to-date, the show averaged a 2.5 household rating, according to Nielsen. The year before, the show averaged a 2.6 household rating, a drop of 4%. In the female demos, the show is up 13% among women 18-34, 17% in women 18-49 and 11% in women 25-54. More than half the show's audience comprises women 18-49.

"The show is staying in some very strong time periods, and we've been seeing upgrades, which is uncharacteristic of a show in its 13th season," says John Nogawski, president of Paramount Domestic Television.

While Montel's producers long have focused the show on real-life issues, this next season viewers will get even more of that, Meidel says.

Along those lines, Montel will focus on shows that look at how women become victims of crime and how they can avoid it and will surprise families with reunions, examine medical miracles and follow women through six-month life journals. Host Montel Williams will travel more to meet viewers in their towns.