Talking the Talk at Telepictures

May 28, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Hilary Estey McLoughlin, president of Telepictures Productions, is no stranger to the Daytime Emmys. In her tenure at the company she has helped develop and has produced some hugely successful first-run talk shows, including “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Tyra Banks Show.”
Telepictures’ talk shows have dominated the Daytime Emmys since 1998, first with “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” winning five years in a row, until the star chose to end her chatfest, and now with “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” going for its fourth straight talk show Emmy. This year “Ellen” goes up against another Telepictures breakout hit, “The Tyra Banks Show,” in the top category.
“We’ve aligned ourselves with extraordinary talent,” Ms. McLoughlin said when asked about her company’s Midas touch. “The key to success is finding the right personality to drive the show. But then on top of that, you have to create true organic extensions of the talent, because that’s what makes the show succeed. I think the talent has to connect, and some of that is intangible and some of it is tangible, but the extension of that talent into the show would be something that would make the show work or not work.
Ms. DeGeneres represents a star who fits all of Ms. McLoughlin’s criteria. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is up for 15 Emmys this year, including host and talk show. Ms. McLoughlin says, “A large part of the success is Ellen. Ellen connects with people on a very emotional level. She’s not only funny, incredibly funny actually, but she’s also so likable and entertaining, and she makes you feel really good every time you watch her show.”
The Daytime Emmys have been especially generous with Ms. DeGeneres, which means the blue-ribbon committees that judge the tapes like what she’s doing.
In many ways, “Ellen” was the presumptive choice for viewers who loved “Rosie.” Ms. McLoughlin, who has worked on both shows, says, “Rosie was so compelling and such a great producer with a great vision for the show, you couldn’t ignore her. She drew you in not only because she’s funny but relatable, and in a lot of ways honest about her vulnerabilities. And she’s very much the audience. She shops at Kmart and she goes to the sale rack. She is very ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.
“I feel very much the same way about Ellen. I see the same magic in what she’s able to accomplish, whatever material she has: She’s taking it to another level. The producing on the show is great. To deliver comedy five days a week, 60 minutes a day, that’s a very tough thing. Ellen delivers every single day.”
In just her second year on the air, Tyra Banks also has broken through with her Telepictures talk show.
“Tyra’s come into her own this year. She’s very much a student and focuses her attention on improving herself all the time as well as making the show better. People really love her and root for her to succeed,” said Ms. McLoughlin. “She’s really grown into her role, and it’s been a very natural progression of her talent, especially for someone who’s never done a talk show before. Most start out very green.
“We’re now being acknowledged for the show. I’m hearing that people are watching the show and loving it. It’s fun, it’s got a great range of material, it’s got good information. She has an infectious quality that’s really likable. It’s working on a lot of different levels.”
Looking to the Daytime Emmys, Ms. McLoughlin is cautiously optimistic.
“I’m pulling for both of our shows that have been nominated and I hope we win,” she said. “Both shows deserve to win. It’s really great to be acknowledged by our peers. But I don’t like to predict. It’s a jinx. I have no idea.”


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