Anderson Cooper Struggles To Survive In Daytime
NEW YORK (AP) — To celebrate the 100th episode of Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show in an hour that airs Monday, a giant cup of frozen hot chocolate topped with whipped cream was wheeled onto the set after its star interviewed a svelte Janet Jackson.
Something sweet was undoubtedly welcomed. It's been a tough stretch for "Anderson," illustrating how difficult it can be to launch a successful television series from scratch.
In six months, the show has weathered a scandal involving a scheduled guest's serious injury, seen three top executives leave and a new one join midstream, and experimented with different formats to see what suits Cooper best.
His ratings rank him above Wendy Williams and Steve Wilkos in the talk-show pecking order, but behind rivals Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Ellen DeGeneres and Kelly Ripa. If not for a distribution deal that gives its syndicator, Telepictures Productions, what it considers more desirable network slots in cities like New York, Houston and Orlando, Fla., next season, some in the industry question whether "Anderson" would have survived.
Still, Cooper and his staff are fighting and believe they have turned a corner.
"Any show takes time organically to figure out what it is," Cooper said. "I think we've made a lot of progress in doing that and I'm really pleased in where the show is and where the show is headed."
Subject matter varies widely on "Anderson" in much the same way as it did on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Interviews with Jackson, Madonna and Angelina Jolie dominated recent hours. Topical segments ranged from extreme child discipline and the Penn State child sex scandal to advice on removing clutter and healthy cooking.
The show usually stuck to one topic per hour when it first began, but since the arrival of new executive producer Terence Noonan, usually features two or three shorter segments.
"They're facing the same issue that everyone does, which is trying to figure out what they should be doing," said Bill Carroll, an expert in the syndication market for Katz Media. "Finding their voice is the toughest thing for all of these shows. I think they're still finding it."
...."We definitely want to talk about issues that are capturing everyone's attention," McLoughlin said. "What's great about Anderson is he can elevate the material. It's smart, it's informational and at the same time he has the personality to make it entertaining. He has a great sense of humor and is able to bring a tremendous amount of range to the shows."
....While not great, the "Anderson" ratings are acceptable given the show's time slots, Carroll said. Next season, Katie Couric becomes part of the competition, and it will be time to step it up.
The following article from the New York Times, discusses the fall competition among talk shows, newcomers and current and explains a bit about how the market works. ~
Vying to Capture Oprah’s Mantle
By BRIAN STELTER
Published: February 19, 2012
It is only February, but those in the syndicated television industry care only about September. That is when a multitude of new daytime talk shows will come onto the market, the first real test for the genre since Oprah Winfrey signed off nine months ago.
There will be Jeff Probst, the “Survivor” host, whose talk show will be made by CBS, the same company that distributed “The Oprah Winfrey Show”; Ricki Lake, Steve Harvey and Trisha Goddard; and Katie Couric, whose talk show is, according to industry analysts, the most anticipated of them all.
None of the new hosts are making bold claims about reinventing the talk show genre; they merely want to keep it stable. That is not an easy task at a time when the overall broadcast television audience is shrinking.
But talk shows are reliable and relatively inexpensive to produce, and thus they remain alluring for local stations in a post-Oprah world. Come September, the new shows will join Dr. Phil McGraw and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the two Oprah protégés who rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively; Ellen DeGeneres; Maury Povich, the most popular host among viewers under the age of 50; and Kelly Ripa, whose show “Live” is seeking a successor for her co-host, Regis Philbin, who left in November.
“And then we’ll see which new shows survive,” said Bill Carroll, a vice president for the Katz Television Group, which advises stations on syndication.
In the meantime, the new shows are hiring staff members and preparing marketing campaigns, while some underperforming shows, like Anderson Cooper’s five-month-old “Anderson,” are looking at September as a restart of sorts.
In syndication, there is less money at stake than there used to be. Local television stations, hurt by the recession, are being more cautious about the commitments they make, and in some cases syndicators are accepting lower license fees — even for established shows.
Stations and syndicators are working more closely and collaboratively than in the past, said John Nogawski, the president of CBS Television Distribution. Of the shows starting in the fall, he said, “No one’s going to be making a fortune here, but everybody’s going to have a shot.”
Distributors and analysts say they have not seen this much daytime competition in a decade — in part because Ms. Winfrey, whose show was head and shoulders above the rest, has shifted to OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, on cable.
“We are still experiencing the effects of Oprah leaving daytime syndication,” said Ken Werner, the president of domestic television distribution at Warner Brothers. “The audience is looking for alternatives — distinctive voices to fill that void.”
In the summer, Warner Brothers, which has “Ellen” and “Anderson,” is running a six-week trial of a talk show by Bethenny Frankel, a former star of “The Real Housewives of New York City.” If received well, it will become a daily show in 2013. Also for 2013, Sony Television is preparing a show by Queen Latifah.
Almost all talk shows are made with women in mind; past attempts to tailor them for men have fallen flat.
“Daytime TV is about companionship,” Mr. Werner said.
Over all, the single most popular syndicated show in the United States is the game show “Wheel of Fortune,” with 11.2 million viewers on a typical day this season, about two million more than its game show companion “Jeopardy.” Both tend to be shown in the evenings, when the number of available viewers is higher. “Judge Judy” ranks between them, with 9.8 million viewers, on average.
Daytime talk shows like “Dr. Phil,” which has about four million viewers a day, are lower-rated, but fill up far more hours on stations’ schedules.
Along with the syndicated shows, there are a number of new network-owned chat fests in the same vein as “The View,” which has been running on ABC stations since 1997. NBC has “Access Hollywood Live,” CBS has “The Talk,” and ABC now has “The Chew” and “The Revolution,” both of which replaced soap operas this season.
“They’re going that way because the shows are economically viable,” Mr. Carroll of the Katz Television Group said. Or, put another way, they are inexpensive.
“And when the shows are successful,” he added, “Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, ‘Live’ with or without Regis, Dr. Phil, Ellen — they’re a franchise pretty much forever.”
This fact made Ms. Winfrey’s exit last spring all the more remarkable. CBS has made clear to her producers that she is welcome back to broadcast syndication anytime, but there are no indications she will return. Although it has had ratings difficulties, the OWN cable channel is slightly more than a year old, and Ms. Winfrey and others involved say they believe they can increase its audience in the next two years.
After Ms. Winfrey’s show ended in May, some of her viewers started watching “Dr. Phil,” “Dr. Oz,” “Judge Judy,” “Ellen” or local newscasts instead.
And some “just turned off the set,” Mr. Nogawski of CBS said, adding, “We always knew there was going to be some of that.”
Ms. Couric, formerly of NBC’s “Today” and the “CBS Evening News,” is being positioned as a “trusted friend” like Ms. Winfrey. Ms. Lake will also make a play for Ms. Winfrey’s former audience, although it remains to be seen whether she can shed her tabloid skin. Meanwhile, the show by Ms. Goddard, a British TV personality, will specialize in the kinds of conflicts Ms. Lake used to showcase.
Mr. Probst and Mr. Harvey, both of whom bring existing fan bases but no specific subject matter expertise, are being positioned as “everymen.”
“I’m only an expert at one thing: that’s the mind-set of a man,” Mr. Harvey said in an interview at a conference of program executives in Miami last month.
Rick Feldman, who is stepping down as president of the National Association of Television Program Executives, which held that event, says he suspects that a bigger shake-up of the syndication market could be looming, as contracts for “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” end in 2014 and the contract for “Judge Judy” ends in 2015. As Ms. Winfrey’s departure demonstrated, he said, “Things don’t last forever.”