As long speculated, NBCUniversal Television Distribution announced Tuesday it has officially signed Meredith Vieira to host a syndicated talk show for the fall of 2014.
And while not a done deal, TV NewsCheck is reporting a deal is close with the ten NBC-owned stations, including NBC-owned WMAQ-TV here.
Vieira shot a pilot of her new show two months ago, and its being used to pitch stations groups around the country. Vieira’s show is expected to be lighter in tone – meaning lots of celebrity guests and some gossip – not to mention those daytime talk show staples of fashion and cooking segments. Vieira’s show plans to tape in Manhattan with a set similar to her home (in an ironic twist, potential foe Kris Jenner also plans to decorate her talk show set in a style similar to her home.)
Vieira brings to the table an expansive resume – a correspondent on 60 Minutes, a co-panelist on The View, a Today show co-host, and host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, which she exited in May after eleven seasons.
As for a possible NBC O&O deal, Meredith would take the spot vacated by CBS Television Distribution’s The Jeff Probst Show, which went out of production earlier this year. In Chicago however, WMAQ passed on Probst to keep its noon newscast, which has done decently in the ratings (Probst wound up at WBBM-TV instead.) If Meredith clears WMAQ, it could mean curtains for the noon news show. On the other hand, NBC Universal has not committed to Access Hollywood Live past 2014, which still has not rolled out nationally and airs on only a few NBC-owned and Fox-owned stations. If NBCU cancels Access Live (a 50/50 chance), Meredith could step in to take its place at 11 a.m.
As for other daytime shows on the NBC O&Os – Ellen and freshman hit Steve Harvey are safe – both have been recently renewed in multi-year deals and are not going anywhere.