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Sony Talker Joins Field of Newbies

Sep 8, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Sony Pictures Television plans to launch a youth-targeted daytime syndicated talk show for the fall 2004-“Life & Style,” similar in vein to ABC’s “The View.”

E! Network’s Jules Asner is the most prominent of the four women who will host the show. The lineup also includes Cynthia Garrett, former host of NBC’s “Later,” Food Network’s Lynne Koplitz and Kimora Lee Simmons, the CEO of Baby Phat, a urban clothing line.

Sony describes the one-hour strip as a guide to the newest trends in pop culture, relationships, fashion and celebrity news that will include how-to segments and videotaped pieces.

“This appears to be an attempt to go younger than `The View,”’ said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz Television Group, a national station representative based in New York. “While `The View’ would appear to be aimed at housewives, this would appear to aim at a younger audience of working women or college-age women.”

Sony already has been successful at putting a young spin on a proven format with talk show “Ricki Lake,” which is going into its 11th season. Now Sony feels new talk shows need more diversity and more voices.

“Looking at our own experience and our competitors’ doing single-topic/single-host, I don’t think one person can do it all by themselves or that one subject can sustain itself [for an hour],” says Melanie Chilek, senior VP of development and syndicated programming for Sony Pictures Television.

Additionally, Ms. Chilek said, Sony wanted hosts to be more opinionated-and versatile. One of the key components will be having one or more of the hosts do field production pieces.

“There have been some great successes in cable-even though their audiences are different and smaller,” she said. “If you look at TLC’s `Trading Spaces’ or shows on the Food Network, there are a lot of what we call service shows. We were looking at presenting information in a different form.”

Programming analysts said Sony could be starting up “Life & Style” in anticipation of rumors that “Ricki” may soon end its run. Ms. Lake has been considering more feature film acting roles, and has bought a house in California. A Sony spokeswoman would only say Ms. Lake is expected to return for a 12th season.

The Sony show is the second talker announced for the fall 2004 season. NBC Enterprises has already announced “The Jane Pauley Show.”

For the upcoming season, five new talkers will do battle: Twentieth Television’s “Ryan Seacrest”; Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s two shows, “Sharon Osbourne” and “Ellen DeGeneres,” Buena Vista Television’s “Wayne Brady Show” (which will have a full national rollout); and King World Productions’ “Living It Up! With Ali & Jack.”