King World has named 18-year Entertainment Tonight veteran Janet Annino executive producer of Rachael Ray's fall 2006 syndicated talk show.
Terry Wood, president of creative affairs and development for King World and Paramount Domestic Television, calls Annino the “right person for the job.” The co-executive producer of ET and producer of Ray's segments for it, “really understands Rachael's existing relationship with the audience” and knows how to build on it, Wood says.
Wood wanted someone with experience in syndication and sought to borrow a page from Paramount's successful Dr. Phil playbook. That show opted for an executive producer, Carla Pennington, who had no talk experience but meshed with the host and understood his personality.
“Janet has keen insight into who Rachael is,” Wood says. “She's a strong leader with the highest production values, and she has an exceptional ability to connect with the core female viewer.”
Pre-production has already begun on Ray's New York-based talk show, which counts Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Prods. among those involved in the series. It is now cleared in more than 85% of the U.S.