CBS Unveils THE TALK: Here's Where They Went Wrong - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CBS Unveils THE TALK: Here’s Where They Went Wrong

August 10, 2010 by  

CBS made waves in the daytime TV arena recently, announcing the fall debut of their own all-female panel show. Though THE TALK will not directly compete with THE VIEW, opting for the 2:00pm time slot to replace AS THE WORLD TURNS, the CBS brass is targeting viewers who invite Whoopi Goldberg & Elisabeth Hasselbeck into their homes each morning.

Casting is the most critical piece of constructing a successful daytime franchise. With TV audiences segmented more than ever before, CBS executives had to make a big splash in order to attract a wide audience for THE TALK. A combination of personalities who would take viewers away from soap operas, cooking shows, and Law & Order reruns simultaneously.

Who will greet us when THE TALK premieres this fall? Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, Leah Remini, Holly Robinson Peete, and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

Uh oh…

That sound you did NOT just hear? It was your interest being piqued.

With all due respect to the CBS Six, I cannot imagine remotes across America clicking over to hear Sharon Osbourne’s views on the mid-term elections or Julie Chen’s charismatic takes on balancing work & family. Do these women lack opinions or talent? Of course not!

It is a problem of packaging.  Daytime viewers need fireworks and charisma, not polite discourse. The lineup presented by the Tiffany Network seems like a pleasant bunch to share brunch with, but I am unconvinced their star power and points of view will captivate the public each day.  Stories about Ozzy passing out on the couch were once charming, back before we saw him do that on MTV in 2002.

Today, I put my armchair programming hat on to present a lineup which would immediately attract viewers, and more effectively maintain an audience than CBS’ choices.

Kate Gosselin:  I know, I know…  In the eyes of millions, Kate Gosselin is a horrible example of how to become a public figure.  Love her or hate her, America’s most infamous breeder attracts huge audiences to her television projects, including her recent stint on DANCING WITH THE STARS.  The former Mrs. Ed Hardy has been attached to numerous talk show concepts since TLC made her a household name, and this is an ideal vehicle.  Extract maximum publicity from her name, show pictures of her gaggle of children, but mask her inexperience with an ensemble of experienced on-air personalities.

Teresa Strasser: Every panel show needs a moderator who is impeccably prepared and quick on his/her feet. Teresa Strasser is the glue that would keep this version of THE TALK together. A known quantity to daytime channel surfers from her days on TLC’s WHILE YOU WERE OUT, Strasser has spent the past few years softening the edges of Adam Carolla’s acerbic commentary on morning radio and their wildly successful podcast. An Emmy Award winning writer, Teresa’s book on pregnancy & parenting, Exploiting My Baby, will be released in January 2011. “T,” as her fans know her, is an engaging storyteller, lightning fast with comedic asides, and the consummate professional.

Sara Gilbert: The creative force behind bringing THE TALK to CBS in the first place, Sara Gilbert is a keeper. As the rarest of Hollywood quantities, a successful child actor who eschewed the TMZ transformation of celebrity, Gilbert may be the secret weapon in this equation. As a new mother along with her lesbian partner, Ms. Gilbert brings a distinctive voice to the show’s efforts to highlight the different shapes and sizes of America’s families.

Jen Kirkman:  A familiar face to fans of CHELSEA LATELY, Kirkman’s popularity is reaching new heights thanks to her Twitter feed.  Unafraid to challenge the anonymous barbs of the Twitterverse, Jen’s success as a stand-up comedian have reduced many naysayers to wave the white flag.  Kirkman wields a vast knowledge of issues relating to politics, pop culture, and entertainment.  The star of Funny or Die’s DRUNK HISTORY, Kirkman will bring immediate credibility to the panel with her candor.  Jen is one of my favorite all around performers, and she deserves to be appreciated by a wider audience.

Amy Holmes: The original lineup for THE TALK was free of known conservatives, an oversight that would dilute the show’s appeal for Republican viewers.  Amy Holmes, a CNN political contributor and frequent guest on REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER, would offer a credible voice for GOP households.  Ms. Holmes is eager to engage in vigorous debates, but lacks the self-righteous streak that makes so many pundits unwatchable.  As a bright, accomplished, and upbeat advocate for Republican values, Holmes will ensure that all viewpoints are represented on the show.

There are plenty of other talented women who would thrive in this environment. Consider this my two cents, and a jumping off point to a larger discussion of CBS’ new franchise.

What do you think of the CBS lineup? Are you planning to tune in? Who would you add or subtract from THE TALK’s roster of voices? If you were in charge of a network, would you hire Kate Gosselin? I’m interested in your feedback, so let’s get the conversation going!

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5 Responses to “CBS Unveils THE TALK: Here’s Where They Went Wrong”

  1. seels (Sarah) on August 10th, 2010 6:39 pm

    Great article! I was overwhelmed…just by the picture! It’s like during NFL season, when there are half a dozen or so ‘experts’ at that tiny desk, all competing for airtime or the ability to say something witty. That just makes me…nervous, I guess. And I don’t know how i feel about the title “The Talk”. Like our little back and forth joking the other day on FB about possible Fox high-school pick ups for the fall (I still love your 4-H Club best! Ha!), this title just feels weird. I don’t know.

    Having said all of that, I like all of your recommendations, Erik, with the possible exception of KG. I get what you are saying about her being a name that draws a crowd, but I have got to believe that there is another name and face that can draw a crowd for (perhaps, IMO) more of the right reasons. Stephanie Abrams, maybe.

  2. Rob on August 10th, 2010 6:55 pm

    Teresa Strasser is a huge talent, the networks sure are missing the boat by not putting her on a big show! Or perhaps being quick, funny and cute doesn’t matter?

  3. Marisa on August 10th, 2010 7:27 pm

    Love the way you’re thinking Erik. The panel really needs someone who will draw me in every day, and i’m not sure any of the women here have that…something.

    I totally get where you’re coming from re: Kate G., but I know for me personally, that would be a way to ensure I *don’t* tune in. Maybe they did research and found something similar. I don’t know if the backlash for her is as bad as it once was, but I’m over her and her drama.

    I do like Sharon. Hope her insanity will be fun and not overbearing. And as cool as the Chenbot seemed at the TCA panel, how honest do we think she’s actually going to be– as far as her family life goes– on the show? Yeah, she might complain once in a while, but I can’t imagine it will be spur of the moment outbursts. Her husband is not only her spouse, but he’s also her boss. Awkward…

  4. Matt on October 12th, 2010 12:59 pm

    Jen Kirkman is NOT the star of Drunk History. Do your research. She appeared in one of the five segments. They have a different person every time.

    I think Kate Gosselin would overshadow the show. Not bad choices otherwise.

  5. MARIE on May 26th, 2011 6:10 pm

    the only good thing about the talk is sharon osborne because she is smart talented and great person to give advice. The worst part about the talk is Leah
    l feel she is talks very loud and l really can’t believe none of the other hosts say anything.I feel that it will never be as good as the view but l feel that Leah and Elizabeth have a lot in common with each other thier loud and annoying