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Megyn Kelly’s Move to Daytime Could Shake Up Syndication Market

Variety logo Variety 1/16/2017 Cynthia Littleton
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Will Megyn Kelly go up against Kelly Ripa? Ellen DeGeneres? Dr. Phil? Or take on the ladies of “The View” and “The Talk”? Kelly’s shift from Fox News to an NBC News-produced daytime show promises to shake up the competitive landscape later this year.

NBC News has yet to disclose the time slot for Kelly’s daily program. The show will be a network hour provided to NBC affiliates, not a syndicated series. The specifics of format have also remained unclear since Kelly surprised the industry on Jan. 3 by announcing her segue from primetime to daytime. Plans for Kelly’s next chapter are being closely watched by rivals of NBC affiliate stations as they make scheduling decisions for the 2017-18 season.

Speculation has centered on Kelly’s show taking over the third (9 a.m.) or fourth (10 a.m.) hours of NBC’s “Today” block. But there’s also been talk of her sliding into 11 a.m. or 2 p.m., slot where some NBC stations O&Os carry “Access Hollywood Live.”

Beyond the Kelly factor, the volume of new first-run shows on deck for fall 2017 is up notably compared to the past few years. At least four freshman strips are angling for national rollouts later this year, compared to just two shows last year.

Here’s a look at new syndication hopefuls and an update on how 2016’s newcomers have fared to date.

NEW FOR 2017

Page Six TV” (Endemol Shine North America, Twentieth Television)

The fast-paced half-hour devoted to news, gossip and pop culture buzz is modeled after the New York Post’s popular Page Six news section. “Page Six TV” had a three-week test run last summer on a handful of Fox O&Os that performed well enough to encourage Fox’s syndication arm to try for a national rollout. Twentieth TV is hoping the half-hour strip will find homes on stations that carry “TMZ,” “The Insider” and other syndie newsmagazine shows.

Exec producers: Kay O’Connell, Matt Strauss, Jesse Angelo, Rob Smith and Michael Weinberg

Hosts: Mario Cantone, Bevy Smith, Carlos Greer and Variety’s own Elizabeth Wagmeister

Steve Harvey” (NBCUniversal Domestic TV, IMG)

NBCUniversal and IMG have yet to release the details of Harvey’s new talk show, but the hope is the new-model Harvey talker can move seamlessly onto the show’s existing stations. Harvey has been one of the few daytime success stories of the past decade with the topical yakker that premiered in 2012. But strains between the host and “Steve Harvey Show” producer Endemol contributed to Harvey’s decision not to renew his contract. Instead, the new series will be produced through IMG, the sibling unit of WME, the talent agency that reps Harvey. The new arrangement gives Harvey greater ownership in the show and control over the production, which will relocate to Los Angeles from Chicago. NBCUniversal remains Harvey and IMG’s distribution partner on the show, another factor that should ease the transition.

Exec producers: TBD

Host: Steve Harvey

“Couples Court” (Orion Television)

Married judges Dana and Keith Cutler preside over the latest entrant into the crowded court show arena. “Couples Court” will focus on sorting out relationship struggles and other battles among couples. The show hails from MGM’s Orion Television and the creator of MGM’s “Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court.” “Couples Court” was unveiled late in the traditional syndication sales cycle, but MGM has secured clearances on stations covering 73% of U.S. TV households including 18 of the top 20 markets. Groups on board include CBS, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune and Cox.

Exec producer: David Armour

Judges: Dana Cutler, Keith Cutler

“BOLD” (Tegna Media, MGM)

“BOLD,” which stands for Broadcast Online Live Daily, is an ambitious effort to capitalize on second-screen viewing activity with a program focusing on the day’s news and online trending topics. The plan is to produce updated editions of the half-hour strip for each time zone. The show will promote interactive elements encouraging viewers to submit video and content ideas for the show, share their thoughts on the highlighted stories and vote in polls.

Exec producers: TBD

Hosts: TBD

CLASS OF 2016

“Harry” (NBCUniversal Domestic Television)

Harry Connick Jr. delivered what he promised in “Harry,” a talk-variety series that accentuates the positive, with a swinging soundtrack from his live band. Connick has obvious charm as a host, whether talking to celebrity guests or engaging in playful stunts in and outside the studio. The ratings to date haven’t been great but they haven’t been awful. “Harry” in the November sweep averaged about 1.6 million viewers. Being new and in daytime, the New York-based show has had a hard time landing big-name guests. The question for “Harry” seems to be whether NBCU will have patience with the show as is, or maybe try to find another role for Connick in the Peacock’s TV plume.

“T.D. Jakes” (Tegna Media, 44 Blue Productions, TDJ Enterprises, EnLight Productions)

“Educate, empower, entertain” is the tagline of the talk show hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder of the Dallas-based mega church The Potter’s House. Jakes has taken a secular approach to discussing issues and offering aspirational and self-help advice. The show got a boost when it was picked up for daily airings by OWN. But “T.D. Jakes” has yet to land local station clearances in New York, Los Angeles and other top markets. Production on the first season wrapped in December, with enough episodes banked to run through May. Distributor Tegna Media is mounting a push to fill the holes in the show’s major market station lineup in order to make a second season viable in syndication.

(Pictured: Megyn Kelly)

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