It doesn't happen often in the giant lotto game that is syndication, but King World is hoping it can launch a hit two years in a row. King World comes to NATPE with Dr. Phil to brag about and with its new daytime variety/talk show—Living it Up! With Ali and Jack—already cleared in 65% of the country.
"Stations have been asking for this kind of show in so many words," says Roger King, CEO of CBS Enterprises and King World Productions. "This by far is the hottest show for next year. We are excited at King World to be so far down the road on 2003 when everyone else still is looking at 2002."
Besides most of CBS's owned-and-operated stations, the series has been cleared on stations of Hearst-Argyle, Scripps, Post-Newsweek, New York Times, Gannett, Belo and Jefferson Pilot.
Living It Up!
will feature hosts Jack Ford and Alexandra Wentworth doing typical daytime things, like talking to celebrities, interviewing special guests and looking at fitness, beauty and home trends. Along those lines, the show will work closely with Hearst Publications, which publishes magazines such as Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful
The show sounds like a clone of Buena Vista's Live With Regis & Kelly, but it's not, King says. "You should never try to copy someone else because you won't do well.
"Regis [Philbin] is a tremendous talent and Oprah does Oprah better than anyone. You have to be yourself."
"It's different because the show takes on the personality of the people," Ford says. "Ali and I are different and have a different approach to things."
Ford has years of experience in broadcasting, most recently working at ABC as an occasional replacement for Charlie Gibson on Good Morning America
and doing pieces for 20/20.
Ford also hosts a show on ESPN called The Sports Reporters 2
that he will continue to do.
"One of the nice things I'm discovering about it not being a news division show is that you don't have the structure that can often be restricting," Ford says.
Ford also says he and Wentworth, who comes from an acting and comedy background, have great on-air chemistry. "She's just this great combination of smart, funny, quick and nice. I think people are just going to love that combination in a host when they see it."