The NBC Universal Television Stations group is developing a daytime talk show for its stations that could be a candidate to follow the third hour of Today.
A group spokesperson confirms that the show is in development, saying, "It is a project we are excited about" but declining to discuss details.
Though in the early stages of development, the show is designed to take place live in front of a studio audience. No decisions have been made on talent, but a pilot shot last year at Universal Studios Theme Park in Orlando, Fla., was hosted by Access Hollywood weekend co-anchor Tony Potts.
A source with knowledge of the project says the show may have a two-host format and could be ready around the end of this year or early next. It is expected to have a local component as well; the station group is said to have been considering taking one of its local programming formats national.
The group's strongest models are WCAU Philadelphia's 10! and WTVJ Miami-Ft. Lauderdale's South Florida Today, weekday talk shows with topics including recipes, fashion and homemaking tips.
The new show would also have an interactive component.
The 10 a.m. time slot could be a good target for the show. KNBC Los Angeles has Recipe TV and a second run of Access Hollywood, WCAU and WTVJ have local talk/entertainment shows, and several other major-market stations, including KNTV San Francisco and WRC Washington, air 10 a.m. newscasts. Current 10 a.m. obstacles include The Ellen DeGeneres Show on WNBC New York and Martha on WMAQ Chicago.
Localizing the show would seem to mirror the opinion outlined by the group's President Jay Ireland last week at a Kagan Research conference. Stations, he said, need to play up their localism and rely less on syndicators. "We need to focus on local-content creation," he said. "Stations have at least 50% of their broadcast time where they schedule their own programming. We need to create, not buy, programming."
Ireland said local programming is crucial to differentiate a station. "When you air a locally oriented program, you compete only with TV stations in your market. If you use syndicated programming which isn't local, you are no longer differentiated, and you are suddenly competing with the 100-plus channels your viewers receive through cable or satellite."