Ricki Lake Gets Personal

The once and future talk-show host has been airing live production meetings on Facebook and UStream

Ricki Lake is going beyond Facebook
and Twitter—both of which
the talk-show host makes plentiful
use of—to build an audience before her new
daytime show even launches this fall.

“We have to engage our viewers in a very
meaningful way well in advance of the show,”
Stephen Brown, senior VP of programming
and development for Twentieth Television,
says about preparing to launch The Ricki Lake
. “We have to create this groundswell,
these ‘friends of Ricki,’ so that by the time we
launch, we’ve built an army that’s already invested
in the brand.”

Twentieth, the show’s producer and distributor,
has plenty of plans in mind. For starters, it is
broadcasting a live Ricki production meeting
each month on Facebook and UStream. During
the broadcasts, viewers can ask questions
and make comments in real time via The Ricki
Lake Show
’s Facebook page, the UStream stream
or Twitter. The next meeting is scheduled for
April 26 at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET.

“People always want to see behind the
scenes,” says Lisa Kridos, The Ricki Lake Show’s
executive producer. “This is not like airing
the show and then asking people afterwards
what they thought. Every show says they use
social media, but we not only say it, we actually
do it and are listening to what people
have to say.”

After the first production meeting broadcast
in March, “likes” on the show’s Facebook
page skyrocketed from 10,000 to more than
70,000. Kridos and her production team
already are gleaning ideas from the socialmedia
interactions. For example, one woman
asked if Lake would be talking about blended
families, noting that like herself, the show
host is newly remarried and forming her own
blended family.

“I immediately responded to her on Facebook
and said, ‘Yes, tell me your story and your
point of view,’” Kridos says.

Kridos expects Ricki Lake not only to gather
ideas via its social media efforts, but also to
occasionally cast guests that it discovers via
Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

In addition to the production meeting broadcasts,
Ricki Lake is launching a digital magazine
that will be available as an app for iPhones,
iPads and Android devices, Brown says.

“It’s so exciting because it’s an adjunct to the
show, and will include articles and information
that aren’t on the show,” Kridos says. “It
stands alone and gives our viewers and fans
completely new information.”

The first issue of the magazine will be available
soon, Brown says; content will include
a welcome article by Lake, an interview with
actress Kellie Martin on parenting and an article
on body image.

“It’s not like before, when you just put on a
show and hoped people would watch,” Brown
says. “Online engagement is a 24/7 thing. It
fulfi lls the promise of a 360-degree experience
and of a 360-degree brand. It fulfi lls the
promise that you are engaging in something
that is bigger than you are.”

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