Daytime TV is the home of soap operas you’ve watched with your memaw, local news anchors whose hair hasn’t changed since Barack Obama’s first term, and talk shows that have racked up more seasons than people don’t. have fingers.
Noon to 4 p.m. slots are like comfort food. Familiarity — not something new — is what brings audiences back for seconds, or in the case of ABC’s gabfest, “The View,” 26ths.
That’s why the 2022-23 season looks fresh for the first time in years.
Three new speakers — “Karamo,” “Sherri” and “The Jennifer Hudson Show” — debuted in September, marking an unprecedented turnover in channel lineups after several loyal programs bowed out last season. The host trio looks like a sharp turn for a genre that relies heavily on consistency to retain viewers. But veterans behind the camera say this current run of daytime talk shows is, in fact, a throwback.
“I know there’s a new era of television that everyone is talking about,” said Kerry Shannon, who serves as executive producer of “Karamo,” along with Karamo Brown of “Queer Eye.” But the longtime producer, who got her start on “Jerry Springer” during the talk show peak of the 1990s, recognizes what’s happening now as a return to the genre’s roots.
“We’re back to storytelling,” Shannon said. “That’s how all these shows started: the guests were just talking about issues that affect everyone at home. “Oh, someone on TV says they don’t get along with either their mother !” “
Alexandra Jewett, executive vice president of programming at Debmar-Mercury — which produces “Sherri,” hosted by Sherri Shepherd — began her talk show career on “The Phil Donahue Show” in 1989. Back then, the day was about community.
“It was a place where viewers could feel like they weren’t alone” whether they were battling drug addiction, fighting with their best friends or having problems in their marriage, she said. .
“It was a way to connect with other people,” Jewett added. “You couldn’t go to Google, ‘What if I was married to an alcoholic?’ “
Then the landscape changed with shows like “Jenny Jones”, “Ricki Lake” and “Jerry Springer”. Voyeurism has taken over. The time was no longer for sharing and solving problems but for pointing fingers at pain as entertainment. Last month’s premieres, she said, represent another right turn.
“It’s such a historic time in television,” said Jawn Murray, executive producer of “Sherri.” He first noticed the change at the Promax Station Summit in Las Vegas this summer when the three shows were announced to the industry.
“Seeing each other and the excitement” was a defining moment, Murray said. “Three color shows all launch at the same time, around this time. There’s something special about the energy that surrounds it all.
Andy Lassner, executive producer of “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” said it was “fascinating to see how the daytime television landscape has changed.”
Her new look comes partly on the heels of the cancellation. Last season saw the end of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show“, “Maury”, “The Wendy Williams Show”, “Dr. Oz” and “The Real”. This season’s debutants join second- and third-year productions such as “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” “The Drew Barrymore Show,” and “Tamron Hall Show.”
The competition, Lassner said, is different these days. The hosts are battling to earn not just their own time slot, but also the fractured attention of viewers across all platforms, including streaming programs, video games and social media. This means the talk show must be a brand in itself, attracting viewers because of its specific point of view – a strategy that is clear in the new programming.
While the host stardom formula is hardly groundbreaking – ever since Rosie O’Donnell, A-listers have tried and failed to launch shows based on their Q scores (hello, Tony Danza, Kris Jenner and Queen Latifah) – branding is now important. Everyone must have something. Sherri, Jennifer and Karamo aren’t actors trying to pass themselves off as talk show hosts; being yourself is the key. EGOT winner Hudson sings. Comedian Shepherd cracks jokes. Resident life coach Brown offers advice.
“I intend to change gender. That’s my only focus,” Brown said. “I want this genre to be full of compassion, love and support.”
And the “real world” alum knows the power and influence his hour can wield.
The former reality TV star and social worker grew up poor in Houston. “We would often be kicked out,” he said. Brown was in elementary school the first time he and his family had to pack up and move in the middle of the night. He spent two days away from school at a Holiday Inn while the adults tried to figure things out. In the meantime, he escaped with daytime television.
“There was a story about addiction and homelessness and I just remember thinking, ‘We’re not the only ones going through this. Hearing this person on TV set my little 9-year-old brain on fire,” Brown recalled, as he began to connect his father’s addictions to the family’s financial troubles. “But the problem was in this show, they fought and nothing was resolved.”
Thinking back to his own show, Brown remembers himself as a 9-year-old.
“What little boy is out there watching this right now who says, ‘Oh my God, it’s me, but I can actually be better’? That’s the intention I go out for every spectacle.
With that goal in mind, viewers might be surprised that the two executive producers of “Karamo” both come from “Maury” and “Jerry Springer” — shows that Brown is actively trying to distance himself from. But when the TV personality met with Shannon and co-executive producer Gloria Harrison-Hall, he said their visions aligned.
“They were both like, ‘I want it to be better.’ These two women wanted to elevate the conflict “above just a little drama,” said Brown, who does not allow his guests to take the stage “screaming and screaming.”
For “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” the host’s “heart” is an integral part of the show, Lassner said.
“Through all aspects of the show, we want our viewers to be able to connect with Jennifer’s story of authenticity and perseverance. Jennifer carries on no matter what life throws at her,” Lassner said of the former “The Voice” judge, who despite great turmoil in her personal life — including the murder of her mother, son brother and nephew – continues to focus on Bonheur. “At its core, our show is all about Jennifer using her own light to shine on others and their accomplishments while making us feel real emotions,” he added.
Friendship is the “DNA” of “Sherri,” said producer Murray, who is the host’s best friend on and off camera. Another good friend, “American Idol” Season 2 runner-up Trenyce Cobbins, sings the show’s theme song, “Good Time.”
“Sherri aims to go out and be the girl next door every day,” Murray said. When the two best friends pray before each show, they only ask for one thing: “that the viewers at home and in the audience feel better than they came after spending an hour with us.”
“We don’t want the ‘Sherri’ show to be something toxic,” Murray said.
Like her fellow new hosts, “Sherri” is produced by the team responsible for her predecessor’s show: She has Debmar-Mercury on deck, the production company that created “The Wendy Williams Show.” “Karamo” is produced by the team behind “Maury”, which he hosted last season. Hudson’s show is run by “Ellen” alumni. But while the sets are instantly recognizable – Ellen’s famous sliding glass doors, Maury’s muted colors, Wendy’s intimate sofa – the people on stage stand out.
Before appearing in front of her studio audience for the first time, comedian Shepherd had an hour-long chat with Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey, of course, is “the oracle,” as Shepherd called her on-air, for all daytime programming; for 25 seasons, she ruled the roost, transforming a local Chicago morning show into nationally broadcast date TV. The veteran television mogul gave the new host a mission.
“You are responsible for the energy you give the audience every day,” Winfrey told Shepherd. “It’s a ministry job and you have to be responsible for that energy.”
This directive seems to apply to all programs that have been created this season – a liability for energy. Brown, who said he pushes himself to represent his community responsibly, arrives on set looking and sounding like a trusted therapist. His guests are real people with real problems. Hudson gives a Broadway diva who seems as thrilled with her new role as her audience. Shepherd delves into his own life for a laugh as the perfect date for brunch.
“We’re coming out of two years of a pandemic and everyone is feeling extremely isolated and fearful,” Jewett said. But daytime television is getting its booster shot. “There has been a shift to a more happy, positive and feeling good daytime vibe.”