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Yak, yak, yak: talk shows proliferate.

Yak, Yak, Yak Talk Shows Proliferate

At this year's NATPE, the main trend seems to be talk shows. Bowing at the convention are The Maury Povich Show from Paramount, The Chuck Woolery Show from Orion and Jenny Jones from Warner Bros. Add these to the already established talkathons starring Oprah Winfrey (King World), Phil Donahue (Multimedia), Sally Jessy Raphael (Multimedia), Joan Rivers (Tribune), Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford (Buena Vista), Geraldo Rivera (Tribune) and that's a lot of talk!

Of the "new kids on the block," the Povich vehicle seems to be the leading candidate for success. It's reported to have already been sold in close to 70 per cent of the country. The one-hour, Monday-Friday, multi-segment talk show will be taped in front of a studio audience and features interviews with celebs and real people as well as a focus on current events and lifestyle segments.

The Woolery gabfest, produced by Eric Leiber, who also helmed the star's game show, The Love Connection, is a daily one-hour light entertainment show aimed at women offering celebs, cooking, animal segments and musical guests. It's meant to counterbalance talk shows that put the emphasis on heavier social issues.

Similarly, comedienne Jenny Jones is starring in a one-hour Monday-Friday talk show strip described as a "fresh alternative to current exploitive issue-oriented programs." Utilizing her unique comic viewpoint, Jones will examine subjects important to today's daytime audience.

Of the talk shows already in place, Oprah, Donahue, and Regis & Kathie Lee have made impressive gains, becoming entrenched in their morning time periods, industry experts agree. Oprah and Donahue are still in early fringe while Regis & Kathie Lee have pretty much taken over the morning time.

Experts feel it's questionable whether Joan Rivers will return for the '91-92 season. Tribune, which produces and syndicates the show, believes there's still a market for Rivers, however, so they hope to keep the show alive.

Some industryites may toss Jesse Jackson's show into the gab arena but purists consider his Sunday show (aimed at early morning and afternoon slots) a public affairs vehicle rather than a talk show. They don't feel it's part of this competitive talk-show race.

But is there room for all this palaver on the airwaves? "No," one industry observer said succinctly. "The problem is, not many of these talk shows are showing signs of weakness - so where are you going to put the new ones? There are not that many choice spots available."

"A lot of those talk shows are going in on barter," another observer pointed out. "There's probably going to be an overload of barter this year. That's going to be the big topic at NATPE this year - the amount of barter that's out there and how stations are really going to deal with it."

Observers also note a small side trend possibly developing at NATPE: the "getting even" show. Warner Bros. is offering a half-hour strip called Getting Even, an investigative news magazine dedicated to solving real-life problems. The series Every Day will focus on people who've been victimized by unscrupulous individuals, consumer ripoffs and bureaucratic blundering. The idea of the show is to use "the positive power of TV to solve problems, not just exploit them." In a rowdier vein, Genesis' Grudge Match, a weekly one-hour will showcase "sticky confrontations that are settled with outrageous, messy solutions." Participants with grievances will be hurling such photogenic, not to mention, gooey items as chocolate pudding at those they feel have "done |em wrong."

The latter show could be the hit of the convention. Less talk, more chocolate pudding!
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Video Age International
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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