Warner Bros.' new talker, Anderson Cooper, has been sold in four top markets. Tribune's WPIX New York as well as Fox's KTTV Los Angeles, WFLD Chicago and WFXT Boston each have acquired the show for a fall 2011 debut.
The one-hour talk show will air in double runs, with stations retaining 11 minutes of local advertising time to sell and the syndicator keeping four minutes of national time.
"We're thrilled that we were able to navigate pretty early in the game to get these clearances. There's an also an enormous amount of interest from affiliates from other broadcast groups," says Ken Werner, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
Anderson Cooper has made his name reporting and anchoring stories for his eponymous program on CNN, Anderson Cooper 360. Cooper also has been a frequent guest-host of Disney-ABC's Live! with Regis and Kelly, and he occasionally reports stories for CBS' 60 Minutes. Cooper is being pitched as a much-lighter, less news-heavy host for daytime, although he still will be willing to take on tough topics.
"Nobody is doing the non-Ellen portion of Oprah and that's an interesting place to be," says Werner. Warner Bros.' light-hearted Ellen is full of fun, wit and dancing, while CBS Television Distribution's Oprah, which ends its storied run after this season, runs the gamut from fashion segments and celebrity chats to emotional interviews with crime victims and intellectual discussions with authors.
"It depends on how they craft the show," says Bill Carroll, vice president, programming at Katz Television Programming Group. Ultimately, if he ends up just doing social issues, no one will watch."
That won't be the case, assures Hilary Estey McLoughlin, president of Telepictures, the first-run production arm of Warner Bros. Television Group.
"Anderson loves doing Regis and the daytime television world in general," says McLoughlin, who thought Cooper would make a good daytime TV host and pursued him. "He loves pop
culture and celebrity. He wants to walk in other
people's shoes and he has shown the ability to wear his heart on the sleeve. His ability to emote and connect to people is what we're going to tap in to. He has
a lot of dimension to him."
Cooper's new daytime show is expected to pair well with Sony's Dr. Oz as an afternoon news lead-in. Fox airs Oz in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, although Fox is losing the show in Los Angeles next fall when it moves to ABC-owned KABC.
Thus far, two new first-run talkers look to be ready to launch next fall: Cooper and Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle, which has been cleared in more than 70% of the U.S.