Monday, February 20, 2012

'Anderson' ~ "Struggling in Daytime"

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.

Please click here to read the full article. This was an AP story picked up by several news outlets.

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
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.”

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Anonymous said...

The fact that the door is open if Oprah wants to come back is really telling. There's just something about Oprah, Ellen and earlier Donahue that people seemed to connect with. Could it be because they were/are being genuine and did their homework before booking a show and did not need to rely on another network for story ideas. Maybe if Anderson stopped listening to his staff and looked outside of Jazz at Lincoln Center at what is going on in the world he would be more viewer friendly. I know he doesn't know sports, but try to get someone, say Jeremy Lin on there and have them talk about what it feels like to have fame thrust upon them and still have people "hate" you. Talk to real people, not T&T moms who live in an alternative universe. Or how about sitting down with some of the people who were nominated for CNN Hero awards, but didn't win the top prize.

But things like that are just not sensational enough for his 20/30 something staff.

Anonymous said...

The part about "Anderson" in bold from the New York Times article is revealing. Restart in September? That's implying the show is not working now and if it's not working now why watch?

It's also interesting that someone on the show thinks the multi-topic episodes work better than the one-topic ones. If they are going to continue to do that, can they at least make the topics a little bit related?

@Anon 1:55 pm - love your suggestion about Jeremy Lin. And I'm not even a basketball fan.


Anonymous said...

If I want companionship, as is daytime TV's purpose, I will get a dog.
The one thing wrong with Anderson, is Anderson.
When he finally realizes he's not a talk host and is not like his friend Andy Cohen, than he'll pack it in.
Until then, he will continue to struggle. This year, next year and the year following, if there is one.
It is not the producer, it is the host. Period.

Anonymous said...

Ellen has an ease with the audience that Anderson lacks.
Ellen is a performer. Anderson is a journalist and the difference is
Someone told him he's funny.
Someone tells everyone they're funny at certain times in their lives.
That doesn't mean we can all be talk show hosts.
It takes a certain "something," and that "something," cannot be bought or sold and Anderson doesn't have it.
Sorry, but that's the way it goes.
Once HE confronts this, he will get his "biss back."
Ellen could never be a field reporter or report from Haiti.
And Anderson can never engage a live audience the way Ellen does or Billy Crystal.
Time to get real, Anderson.
You can't have it all, not even YOU.

Anonymous said...

If Anderson is surrounding himself with a staff of 20/30 somethings, he is leaving out a good portion of those who watch daytime tv.
Let's just say, those who are retired or who are raising grandkids or those who are unemployed.
Whatever, the case, HE is not reaching them or engaging them with interesting content. He is not talking to them but at them and filling air time.
Perhaps Anderson needs to rethink his priorites and actually decide to speak to those who want to listen.

Anonymous said...

I realize this seems to be somewhat "off limits" with ATA, actually with Anderson himself and you are respecting that....but many others elude somehow to having a social life, ie with a partner. I understand Anderson wanting to keep that aspect of his life private, but he acts as though he has never dated and he asks people about their dating or love lives yet discussion of his is off limits. I think people are noticing this and feel a disconnect with him. He can get away with this on 360 but on daytime tv people expect some opening up.

Anonymous said...

Anderson simply will not open up about even the most minor of things, so I don't know how he expects people to relate to him.

A perfect example of this was last week when he did the show on blended families. He began by saying he grew up with just his mother and brother (we all know Anderson's dad died when he was 10) and that he watched the Brady Bunch and thought their family looked like fun and he really liked the housekeeper Alice.

Well, perhaps, if Anderson would have said he was part of a blended family, he does have two step-brothers, and spoken about that part of his life, it would make people relate to him a bit more. It's not like his step-brothers are a secret. Wyatt wrote about them in his book Families, Gloria has written about them in several of her books and there are photos of all four boys with Gloria and Wyatt. There was a cute story in Families about how Anderson looked up to one of his older step-brothers.

If he cannot open up about something as simple as this, especially with it being well documented, then it's rather sad and pathetic. How he expects guests to open up to him and audiences (live and at home) to relate to the scripted for daytime Anderson that he reads off the teleprompter is beyond me.

IMO the shows new format under Terence is worse than the one theme/one guest shows. And don't get me started on the endless promotion for TLC shows. He's had 100 episodes and 5 have been on Toddlers and Tiara. I'm sure if you counted up all the endless TLC show promotion, you'd be amazed.

When Anderson spoke of the talk show this past summer, he talked about a smarter program and that he wasn't having celebrities on to promote their latest project. I can't name one celebrity on the show that wasn't their to promote their latest project. Jerry Seinfeld came close, but Jessica promoted her cookbooks.

I'm sure the 'Anderson' team has seen the ratings and realize the changes Terence brought haven't helped. Perhaps it's time for another change now instead of waiting until Fall?

And I'm sorry, but 100 episodes is not really a milestone in daytime talk. Rachel Ray celebrated her 1,000 episode today, that's an accomplishment. 100 episodes means your show lasted 5 months.

One last complaint - the constant names and titles/what's coming up next/and what's on shows later in the week - flashing across the bottom of my screen while I'm watching an interview is just distracting. It this the "hook" they talked about adding? All the time promoting what the next segment is about could be better spent on actual program content.

As much as I enjoyed Anderson guest co-hosting for Regis and looked forward to the show he described last summer - I am sorely disappointed in what 'Anderson' has turned into.

It's clear that the staff doesn't have a clue about intelligent programming and apparently Anderson doesn't care. I think he needs to take a long look in the mirror and see if he can't find that field reporter/respected journalist looking back at him and realize that he's just not cut out to be a daytime talk show host.

It's okay to try new things, but you have to accept your failures, lick your wounds and move on. Come on, Mr. Cooper, you are so much better than the topics discussed on your talk show, and the scripted/teleprompter host you play. Either up the quality/topics/discussion and share a bit of yourself or pull the plug before it gets pulled for you.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:07 AM - I have to correct one thing in your post: Anderson has two half-brothers, not step-brothers. Gloria Vanderbilt had two sons from her second marriage, I think their names are Stan and Chris. Wyatt Cooper didn't have any children before marrying Gloira but he was Stan and Chris' step-father.

Totally agree it's stunning Anderson didn't mention growing up in a blended family during the blended family episode. It's not that big of a secret, is it?

Also agree that the content of "Anderson" needs to be better. Anderson is failing his own goal of an elevated intelligent talk show; the one prime example of this that will always stick in my mind is the "Is My House Making Me Fat" episode, unbelievably corny.


Anonymous said...

Folks, am I the only one who gets the feeling that Anderson really doesn't care what the content of either of his shows are about and actually likes deligating responsibility to others, rather than accepting responsibility?
This way he can always say it wasn't his fault the shows failed when he looks in the mirror.
There are many people who really like not being the boss, and letting others do their job.
Looks to me like Anderson is one of them, unfortunately.

Dorothy said...

Cracks me up as usual. So much talk about Anderson opening up and needing to show some some private side of him because people just cannot connect and then almost everyone that has posted on this site posts as Anonymous! Maybe that is why I just don't connect here.

Anonymous said...

I wish Anderson would just focus more on his journalism. It would be nice to see him end his talk show and AC360º and develop a new show on CNN. Fresh starts are great. Because he is on daytime now, it seems he would have been a PERFECT fit to co host with Kelly Ripa. I wish that opportunity came up for him. It would let him travel for CNN if necessary. He hasn't traveled out out of the country for Breaking News since his daytime show began.

Anonymous said...


I understand you would like people to sign names vs. Anonymous. I guess it doesn't bother me as names left on a blog are pretty much aliases. It's not like people leave their real name, address and telephone number. I used to sign my posts as Jenn, but then quit somewhere along the real reason why.

My question for you, is that when you come here and leave a comment it usually is to complain about the posters that are not happy with 'Anderson' yet I have yet to see you state your feelings of why you like it or what you would like for it to be. Maybe if you shared your feelings about the talk show - likes/dislikes, you could help us understand...

Dorothy said...

@annonymous or Jenn....let me try and explain. First, I rarely come here anymore because it is quite negative. The reason I started coming here in the first place was because I was a fan of Andersons. I actually like his news show, talk show and his TV persona. I don't believe that being a fan means loving everything he does, but enough gets to be enough with constant negativity. I really believe this board has lost many posters for that reason.

First of all, I like people that go out and try different things in life and try to give them the thumbs up for not going out and shining, but for trying. I admire Anderson for doing that and try and give the show a chance to gain strength. No matter what he trys to do here it seems wrong, be it the news or talk show. I don't happen to believe that all of the shows are stupid and trash. I think that there are real people out there with the problems and the things that he covers. Where most here think the subjects are stupid and a waste of time, I hope that maybe one person who suffers some of these problems is helped by watching. I think it is interesting to look at these things with open minds and not judge until you have walked in their shoes. People have real problems that don't always fall under "stupid or wasting time".

So because of this I admire these traits in Anderson or anyone that gives things a try and I enjoy the talk show because it gives me a different perspective on life and people in general. I don't have to like the subject, but I do learn something new all the time. If I didn't, I would have the choice to turn the show off and not watch it. Kind of like not coming here much anymore and reading the posts. I just catch up on the latest news and updates without going into comments. There is enough crap in real life and when I'm reading something for enjoyment purposes, it just starts not to work here.

When someone posts as annonymous it is hard to get a feel for the person posting. Just like you were able to address my posts as complaining about my dislike of annonymous posts, you were able to recognize me and address me. I can't do that when I can't identify the person or get a feel for who they are. I feel like I'm posting to the wind or talking to someone I don't know when I don't have a name or am able to recognize the posters trend in posting.

Hope that makes sense and helps you understand where I'm coming from.