Jennifer Hudson and Sherri Shepherd take part in daytime TV revamp

By LYNN ELBER
AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ask veteran television executive Frank Cicha to recall the last time the daytime television program saw such turnover, and he has a straightforward answer: Never.

“Never,” he repeated. “There were some sort of tumultuous times,” including Oprah Winfrey ending her 25-year career in 2011. But the “mass” release of shows and the relatively few replacing them is unprecedented, a- he declared.

What Cicha calls the day’s “re-rack” created openings for “The Jennifer Hudson Show” and “Sherri,” featuring Sherri Shepherd, both debuting on Monday, and “Karamo” featuring Karamo Brown of “Queer” fame. Eye”, from September 19. .

They join a daytime lineup that includes ongoing variety series “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and “The Drew Barrymore Show”; “Tamron Hall” and ratings leaders “The View,” “Dr. Phil” and “Living with Kelly and Ryan”.

The long-running shows directed by Ellen DeGeneres, Wendy Williams and Maury Povich have disappeared from the picture. Others that turned off the stage lights include “The Nick Cannon Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and “The Real One.”

Success with daytime female audiences isn’t guaranteed, regardless of a contestant’s resume or fame, as the short-lived series of hosts such as Queen Latifah, Megan Mullally and Harry Connick Jr illustrate.

“Talented people have tried to grace the day, but if they don’t have appeal to everyone and they don’t interview people well,” they wash it off, said marketing analyst Stacey Lynn Schulman, Founder and CEO of Human Insight.

The producers behind the Shepherd and Hudson shows express confidence that their respective hosts have the right touch.

Hudson, the “American Idol” alum who has enjoyed award-winning success on screen, stage and music, is “funny, genuine and authentic,” says executive producer Mary Connelly, who served in the role with the DeGeneres show.

“What we’ve learned in our short time together is how much the public loves Jennifer and how much she loves the public,” Connelly said. “We’re going to have all the conventions of a talk show, but one of the things that will make the show stand out is its interactions with the audience.”

David Perler, executive producer and showrunner of “Sherri,” said the depth of Hudson’s experience in talk shows, including her tenure as co-host of “The View” and her replacement for Williams, who has health problems, is a big advantage.

“It’s so easy to work with someone who’s been doing this for many years and in different incarnations,” Perler said. The new show is built around his desire to “make you feel better when you leave at the end of the hour than before”.

“Basically, which is exactly who Sherri is, there’s always going to be the comedic element. She’s funny. She loves to laugh, and she’s always going out and doing stand-up,” Perler said.

Brown, whose entry is from the production team behind “Maury” and “The Steve Wilkos Show,” said he wants to “connect with people from all walks of life” and plans to discuss issues such as the infidelity, race and parenthood.

The new hosts, who are all black, expand the lagging diversity of daytime television. But veteran TV reporter Hall dismisses the idea that they can be lumped together.

“We have the respect to recognize what each of us brings to the table and how each of us is different. And I think that’s really important right now when we’re seeing a number of shows hosted by people who happen to be black,” she said. “We are not all the same, and making us all the same is unfair.”

There is an inevitable hodgepodge of programming in syndicated television because nationally broadcast shows can have varying airtimes and stations. One way to arrive at an advantage is to inherit the house of an established show – the case of Shepherd, whose distribution includes the slots of Williams’ Fox-owned station.

DeGeneres’ NBC-owned station territory goes mostly to Clarkson. That upgrade, coupled with the “America’s sweetheart genre” appeal she has shown on her show, could give her an edge in the revamped landscape, Schulman suggested.

Clarkson’s show is changing the format to give her more time to connect with guests, said Alex Duda, the show’s executive producer and showrunner. It will open its fourth season on Monday with a fan-focused celebration of the 20th anniversary of the “American Idol” singer’s win.

“We thought we were bringing music to the masses, so we had this big box that’s like a recording studio on wheels,” Duda said, and kicked off a New York road trip where “anyone could walk in. and do a virtual duet with Kelly.

Hudson’s show will join Shepherd’s on Fox-owned stations, a chance for the two to complement rather than compete in those markets.

“I love the idea of ​​total freshness and novelty in syndication in our blocks,” said Cicha, executive vice president of programming for Fox Television Stations. “Some shows stuck around for years because they could, not necessarily because they should.”

___

Writer Gary Gerard Hamilton in New York contributed to this report.