NBC-owned stations add Steve Harvey to fall ’12 lineup

The competition for syndicated daytime clearances for next fall has gotten hotter with the addition of Steve Harvey to the mix as NBC Universal Television Distribution cleared his new, one-hour talk show strip on NBC’s ten owned-and-operated stations, including WMAQ-TV here in Chicago.

Harvey is competing with Disney-ABC’s Katie Couric and Twentieth Television’s Ricki Lake for talk show clearances for September 2012. Couric has already cleared the ABC O&Os, including WLS-TV here.

Steve Harvey – whose syndicated morning radio show airs locally on Urban AC outlet WVAZ-FM (V103) – is currently host of Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud game show strip. Harvey is credited with boosting the show’s ratings among women 18-49 and women 25-54 demos last season. It is not known if Harvey will continue in this role, as syndicators generally frown on their talent working for the competition. For example, when The Price Is Right returned to television in 1972 as a CBS daytime strip and a weekly syndicated nighttime show, Bob Barker was named as host of the CBS version, but substituted Dennis James for the syndicated version instead because Barker was also hosting the syndicated Truth or Consequences at the time (when Consequences ended its run, Barker was released from his contract and replaced James as host of the syndicated Price.)

If Harvey departs Feud, Debmar-Mercury and Fremantle (Feud’s producer) would again have to find another host. Harvey is the series’ sixth host, taking over in September 2010 from John O’Hurley.

Unlike NBC Universal’s current stable of conflict-flavored talkers, Harvey’s show will take a more subtle approach: the format plans to be based on his line of best-selling relationship advice books, including Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man.

This latest gig adds to Steve Harvey’s resume, who appeared in The Original Kings Of Comedy movie and headlined two primetime sitcoms (ABC’s Me and the Boys and WB’s The Steve Harvey Show). In Chicago, he’s had two stints at Urban Contemporary as WGCI-FM as morning personality – one in 1996; the other from 2007-09, when his syndicated morning show displaced Howard McGee’s highly-rated morning show in one of the most boneheaded radio moves at the time (which was finally topped by Merlin Media launching its new all-news format on 101.1 FM before it was ready.) To better match the show with the 25-54 demo, Harvey shifted to sister station V103 in March 2009 (both V103 and WGCI are owned by Clear Channel, as Harvey’s morning show is syndicated by Clear-Channel owned Premiere Radio Networks.

Harvey’s arrival could mean curtains for Sony’s The Nate Berkus Show, which has been a ratings underperformer for the past year and is cleared on the NBC O&Os. No decision on Berkus has yet to be made.

NBC Universal is producing the series with Endemol USA. The last time the two worked together on a syndicated project was the daytime version of former NBC primetime game show Deal or No Deal, which ran from 2008-10.