WFLD picks up new “Ricki Lake” show

Ricki Lake on "Dancing With The Stars"

Jeremy Kyle renewed for a second season; Katie and Steve Harvey hit clearance highs

Fox-owned WFLD has picked up Ricki Lake’s new talk show strip from Twentieth Television for next fall, finally notching a Chicago clearence days after the first deals were made as The Great Talk Show Rush of 2012 steam rolls on.

Ricki Lake previously hosted a syndicated daytime talk show for eleven years from 1993 to 2004 for Sony/Columbia. Early in its run, the series was known lumped in the “Trash TV” genre, which also included shows from Jenny Jones, Jerry Springer, Geraldo Rivera, and Charles Perez. The show was carried locally by WPWR-TV for its entire run (WPWR is a sister station to WFLD, as both are now owned by Fox.)

In addition, Fox agreed to carry Lake in Los Angeles (KTTV) and Boston (WFXT), which ensures the series as a firm go. Earlier, Lake was sold to eight Tribune stations, including WPIX in New York and KDAF in Dallas. Other Tribune clearences include Seattle, Hartford, Indianapolis, and Grand Rapids.

Twentieth also sold the show to KPRC in Houston, and to stations in the Local TV and Sinclair chains.

As for the Fox O&O clearances, WFLD, KTTV, and WFXT are likely to pair Lake with Anderson, which was picked up for a second season on those same three stations.

Ms. Lake’s show won’t bear resemblance to the youth-oriented conflict talker of the 1990’s, which did gangbusters among young female demos.  Instead, her new series focuses on serious issues and lighter fare, similar to The Oprah Winfrey Show. Currently, Ricki Lake is a finalist on Dancing With The Stars, with the winner being crowned this Tuesday night.

Lake’s would-be competitors in The Great Talk Show Rush of 2012 also gained ground on the clearance front: Disney-ABC’s Katie has hit 80 percent; NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey reached 70 percent as both series has been declared firm gos; and CBS’ Jeff Probst is on his way there with 55 percent, but no Chicago station has yet to picked up the show.

Meanwhile, Debmar-Mercury renewed The Jeremy Kyle Show for a second season Thursday despite averaging a 0.5 household live-plus-same-day rating. Fox and Sinclair – two of the worst station groups in the industry -picked up the lackluster show anyway.

To put the renewal in perspective, the management behind Kyle is taking the same approach Merlin Media is taking with its new all-news radio station here in Chicago: taking time to develop the product and declaring its too early to tell to come to any conclusion about ratings.

But much like the infamous WWWN (“winning” radio… LOL), the British talk show host is unlistenable – or make that unwatchable, as yours truly recently viewed an episode. For a “conflict” talker, it was surprisingly boring and Kyle comes off as condescending. You wonder if Randy “Court Jester” Michaels is behind this abomination of a talk show (as he is behind anything else.)

If a 0.5 rating is declared the bar for a syndicated talk show to survive, it sends a rather dangerous message that the syndicators and the stations don’t care anymore. Certainly, this just proves anyone can get a show and be “successful” at it. It’s just that easy. It’s also an indication that daytime television on broadcast is at its deathbed as soaps and game shows are becoming extinct and more viewers are fleeing the exits to cable or their DVRs. And if a no-talent hack like Jeremy Kyle can get a talk show, so could anyone else – reminds yours truly of a joke David Letterman told in a 1994 Top Ten List on “Rejected Forrest Gump Sayings”: Mama always told me, ‘Just about anyone can get himself a talk show.’

And so you’ll like see this in the future: The Whitney Cummings Show coming in 2013 from Merlin Media and executive producers Randy Michaels and Walter Sabo. You heard it here first.

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