First Oprah announced the implausible. The impossible. She’s going off the air. I always knew I would see it happen someday, but I never expected it would happen so soon.
So then, I naturally thought “who’s going to take OVER for talk shows?” I love The View, but clearly not quite the same with the ensemble of women (and let’s be honest, as brilliant of a career as Barbara Walters has had, she’s pretty much the weakest link on that show in terms of entertainment value. She’s BORING to watch.)
There’s the Ellen DeGeneres Show, but as knee-slappingly, can’t-breathe-because-I’m-laughing-so-hard funny as she is, she doesn’t offer the same kind of serious and in-depth journalism Oprah occasionally offered her viewers on her show. Nor does she unveil some of the most provocative and poignant books I’ve read in the last decade. Or offer a slew of incredibly useful info through carefully selected experts. I love Ellen, but let’s be honest - her show’s fluff.
Rachel Ray isn’t even on my radar because, as sweet as she is, I can’t STAND her voice. Not the accent, the tone of it. I find it grating.
Then there’s Tyra Banks with The Tyra Show who clearly strives to be just like Oprah, except interviews people like Tila Tequila and has already proven to the world, quite gleefully might I add, that she’s gone bonkers. I thought “Well I can’t stand her talk show, but she’ll probably try to fill Oprah’s shoes, right?” And then, about a month later SHE decides she’s retiring from talk shows to produce movies.
Not sure where the talk show landscape is going. Being in the industry, I know that talk shows are a wonderfully strippable format (meaning a solid format you can easily “fill in the blanks” with as a daily show) that networks are seeking out. But WHAT kind of talk show is going to resonate with viewers these days?
Similar to the way the Internet has become the domain for niches to flourish and find their audiences, talk shows seem to be moving in that direction. Sort of.
Look at the recent launch of The Dr.Oz show and his focus on health. Or Dr. Phil with his focus on relationships and metal health (please note I can’t stand this man either). Rachel Ray has her cooking niche deeply integrated into her talk show. And even Maury Povich serves to entertain the former Jerry Springer audience (that’s a niche too!).
Should the next talk shows that pop up be more general, topical and offer that journalistic angle Oprah did so well, along with her hefty dollop of compassion?
Perhaps the biggest question is, is there even a need for that kind of talk show anymore?