Ex-Chicagoan Jason Matheson goes national with talk show

Or… close to it. Matheson part of four-week test in select markets, including Chicago

Chicago native and Minneapolis radio personality Jason Matheson is getting a second shot at national stardom – with another four-week test – this time, including his hometown.

The Jason Show, produced by Fox-owned KMSP in Minneapolis is getting tested in several markets for the next four weeks, including Chicago, where the program is airing on Fox-owned CW affiliate WPWR-TV at 11 a.m. each weekday. The program is also being tested on Fox O&Os in Orlando, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. The program was tested last year in a handful of markets.

Jason airs weekdays at 10 a.m. on KMSP with a repeat My Network TV affiliate WFTC at 2 p.m. WFTC is also owned by Fox.

The program features notable items in pop culture overnight (Tuesday’s show featured a segment on The Bachelorette featuring a guy named Whataboom… yes, Whataboom), crossovers from other syndicated Twentieth shows (Porsha Williams from Dish Nation made an appearance) and had Minnesota native Louie Anderson as a guest. A former host of Family Feud, Anderson recently won an Emmy for his role on FX’s Baskets. A woman from the Mall Of America (in nearby Bloomington) also showed the audience the latest fashions.

In an interview with the Star-Tribune’s C.J., Matheson said he is more relaxed with this test than he was with the first: I am much more calm. As is, I think, the rest of our crew. Having done a national test last year, we know a lot more about the process already. Plus, I think the show as a whole is a better one. I’m also so very grateful. Last year’s test went pretty well for us and the network, so to be given another chance is just wonderful.

In addition to his television duties, Matheson also has a radio gig: he is co-host of a morning show with Alexis Thompson on Hubbard Broadcasting’s KTMY-FM (myTalk 107.1FM), an all-talk station with a format similar to WGN-AM, but targeted to a younger and more female audience.

The Midwest has been a breeding ground for talkers who went on to achieve national stardom. Phil Donahue started at WLWD-TV (now WDTN) in Dayton 50 years ago before moving to WGN-TV in 1974 and launched nationally. Sally Jessy Raphael began at St. Louis’ KSDK in 1983 before relocating to New Haven, Conn., then to New York. Jerry Springer launched his talk show in 1991 at Cincinnati’s WLWT while he was still news anchor before moving to Chicago’s WMAQ-TV in 1992 with a national launch (and we all know what happened afterward.) The most famous example of course, is Oprah Winfrey who took over WLS-TV’s A.M. Chicago in 1984, became The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the rest is history. Matheson hopes to join the people on this exclusive list.

As yours truly noted last year, Fox is testing several concepts during the summer months on its stations in order in order to find the next syndicated hit, which up until now excluded Chicago. Several syndicated shows such as The Wendy Williams Show and The Real were tested this way and were eventually rolled out in national syndication – but some ideas were better than others (remember Father Albert? Kris Jenner? The Preachers? SoMe?)

This fall, two shows who were tested in 2016 are rolling out in syndication: Page Six and Top 30, both syndicated by Twentieth Television.

In addition to The Jason Show, several other projects are being rolled out this summer, including a talk show featuring Quincy Harris of Fox’s WTXF in Philadelphia. Simply named Q, the half-hour talk show is being tested in several Fox O&O markets including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Detroit.

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