In a deal before the fall season begins, NBCUniversal Television Distribution has struck a deal with the NBC-owned stations to carry Kelly Clarkson’s new daytime talk show scheduled to debut exactly a year from now.
The Grammy Award and first American Idol winner shot a talk show pilot last month in Los Angeles, and quickly generated buzz in the industry. It’s one of a few names that’s popped up regarding fall 2019 talk shows, including Tamron Hall and RuPaul.
Clarkson’s show has cleared sister NBC-owned stations in eleven markets as a lead-in to Ellen DeGeneres’ show including NBC 5 (WMAQ) here in Chicago, replacing NBCU’s Steve in the role. Locally, Steve has aired at 2 p.m. since 2012 when it was known as Steve Harvey.
Other stations acquiring Kelly include WNBC in New York; KNBC in Los Angeles; WCAU in Philadelphia; KXAS in Dallas-Fort Worth; KNTV in the Bay Area/San Francisco; WRC in Washington, D.C. WTVJ in Miami; KNSD in San Diego and WVIT in Hartford. All of these stations currently air Steve at 2 p.m. Also acquiring the show is NBC’s WBTS in Boston, who does not air Steve.
Clarkson is continuing in her position as judge and mentor on NBC’s The Voice.
The move was a result of a restructuring by NBCUniversal of their first-run syndication division two years ago by hiring Paul Tegady, who previously was the head of alternative series at NBC where he was instrumental in hiring Clarkson as a judge for The Voice. Tegady is now making his mark at NBCUniversal Television Distribution with Clarkson’s recruitment and the cancellation of Jerry Springer with its reruns to The CW.
Clarkson gave us a glimpse on what to expect on her show via this statement: “I love connecting with people, playing games, music and finding ways to help or give back to communities/organizations. Having my own talk show where I get to do all of these things is pretty much a dream job!”
“We are very excited to have Kelly Clarkson on our air next fall,” said NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations President Valari Staab. “She’s genuine, warm, fun and interacts with her fans in a meaningful way. Throughout her career people of all ages and backgrounds have related to her openness, honesty and curiosity. She will be the perfect companion to Ellen, providing an afternoon of great television.”
The talk show deal for the Fort Worth, Texas native is the latest triumph for a person who once worked for promotions at Red Bull. Since successfully auditioning and winning the first season of American Idol, Clarkson has had a tremendous music career, with eight studio albums selling more than 25 million units worldwide and winning three Grammy Awards, three Video Music Awards, and four American Music Awards. She listed the late Aretha Franklin as one of her influences.
Whether Clarkson would be a strong name to attract an audience to daytime remains to be seen as NBCUniversal has had little success with other celebrities in the recent past with Meredith Vieira and Harry Connick Jr. flaming out after two seasons each as stations became wary of paying for big-budget talk shows that didn’t deliver.
As for Steve, the future of his talk show – which has been questionable since his move to Los Angeles – is in question. According to Deadline, NBCUniversal is letting producer IMG shop the show around for another syndicator when its contract expires in 2019, but it’s unlikely the show would be back on NBC’s owned stations. Ratings for Steve have been respectable, but the series’ production costs has ballooned since the show’s move from Chicago’s NBC Tower to Universal Studios in the Universal City section of L.A. As you recall, Harvey’s departure left a bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouth, especially among his former Chicago co-workers as one of them released a controversial memo on how Harvey treated his staff. NBCU’s move to dump Steve could indeed be the ultimate sense of satisfaction for those in Chicago’s production community.
If IMG continues with the show – even if it has to syndicate the program itself (keep in mind Discovery is doing exactly that with True Crime Files), Steve would likely wind up with a weaker station lineup and likely weaker ratings.