Steve Harvey is throwing his name into the 2012 syndication mix, working with Endemol USA to develop and produce a new talk show aimed to launch next fall.
Endemol, which Wednesday announced it was launching a scripted division, has been talking to Harvey about doing a show for at least two years, said David Goldberg, chairman of Endemol North America. NBCUniversal Television Distribution, with whom Endemol did business with the Howie Mandel-starrer Deal or No Deal, will distribute the show to TV stations.
"We go after things that we think make good television and then figure out where they are going to be," says Goldberg. "It isn't like we've been going out and taking tons of meetings so we could go out and get into syndication. We saw Steve Harvey as a huge talent, and thought that was a logical way to get into this business."
Harvey recently has made a splash in daytime television, starring on Family Feud, which is distributed by Debmar-Mercury and produced by FremantleMedia North America. Harvey took over as the show's host from John O'Hurley last fall and since then the show has grown steadily in the ratings. Feud now regularly turns in a third-place performance among game shows, behind CBS Television Distribution's long-running Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!.Feud grew 55% last season among daytime's key women 25-54 audience, making Feud syndication's fastest growing program.
Harvey also hosts the country's top-rated nationally syndicated morning radio show, Steve Harvey Morning Show, and has written two best-selling books. One of those books, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, is slated to be released as an adapted feature film in 2012.
"This is one of my unconquered ventures. It's something I always wanted to give a shot at," said Harvey. "I always felt that it would fit into my forte. I've gained a lot of experiences over the years sitting on a lot of talk shows. My radio show has gone on at the national level for about seven years. With all of that experience and the success of the book and Family Feud, I think now is the right time."
The show will highlight Harvey's popular brand of comedy as he talks to real people about their relationships.
"I think it's an interesting angle to have a guy in daytime television who's actually built his platform around not only being funny but also being empowering and insightful for women," says Harvey. "I hope to offer women an interesting take on a lot of different things from the male perspective, and I also want to be empowering to people and give them great information. It's a triple threat combination."
"Most daytime talk shows today that have a comedic undertone are celebrity driven. This show will have a comedic sensibility with Steve as a host who will actually deal with, comment on and discuss topics and issues that people bring to the show. It will always aim to be comedic, as well as poignant and inspiring," says Goldberg.
The pilot, which is slated to be shot soon, will be executive produced by Harvey, his longtime business partner Rushion McDonald and an in-house team at Endemol. While a studio has not yet been selected, the show will be shot on the East Coast. Harvey tapes both his radio show and Feud from Atlanta.