King World intends to give Live With Regis and Kelly, Good Day Live
and other first-run daytime shows a run for their money with a new strip called Living It Up! With Ali & Jack, targeted for fall 2003 launch.
The show stars comedian Alexandra Wentworth (wife of ABC News'This Week
moderator George Stephanopoulos) and Jack Ford, the former-prosecutor-turned-TV-newsie. Ford is currently with ABC News but has been given permission to explore other opportunities. Before joining ABC, Ford was chief legal correspondent for NBC News and co-anchor of the Saturday edition of Today.
The thirtysomething Wentworth got her big break a dozen years ago as a member of the comedy troupe on the Fox series In Living Color. Her film credits include Jerry Maguire. She has also made numerous appearances on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, including a bit as a scantily clad, cigar-smoking White House intern back when her hubby's former boss was still in office. (Check out her fan page, via Yahoo.)
Wentworth is pregnant with her first child; in the just-completed pilot, she snaps her fingers, and dad-to-be Stephanopoulos appears in a brief walk-on.
King World Senior Vice President, Programming, Steven Nalevansky says he tested dozens of personalities for the roles and, after three days of focus testing at the Viacom program research facility in Las Vegas, Ford and Wentworth stood out as the most compatible and appealing co-host combo.
No word yet on deals, but several big ones are expected soon, according to King World Chairman Roger King.