New Doctor in the House - Broadcasting & Cable

New Doctor in the House

Ablow seen as young Dr. Phil
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Warner Bros. is pitching its project with Dr. Keith Ablow as a younger-skewing answer to Dr. Phil, saying there is room for two doctors in daytime. According to a hard-copy presentation acquired by B&C, Warner Bros. is pitching Ablow’s show as “therapy-driven talk” with a pitch that says “We all face life’s challenges” and “We are all looking for answers.”

Comments a station insider who has seen the pilot being shown to potential takers, “The general consensus seems to be that the show has been a pleasant surprise.” Station sources say stations have been committing to the show, with Warner Bros.—which declined to comment for this story—believed to be in negotiations with Fox-owned stations. Multiple sources also say that, in New York, Warner Bros.’ The People’s Court will move from WCBS to Fox’s WNYW in the fall, presumably in afternoons.

The Ablow pilot episode being used as a sales piece is a “couples in crisis” show that begins with a pre-produced look into the lives and troubles of the subjects. After that, the subjects are on stage in front of a studio audience, and Ablow takes them through a therapy session.

The pitch presentation establishes that daytime TV is a primary source of information for many, citing an Insight Research poll which notes that, in daytime, women 25-45 who watch talk shows view self-help talkers the most often, as opposed to entertainment or single-issue talk shows. It then touts the success of Dr. Phil, calling it the biggest syndication hit of the past 10 seasons. It notes that Dr. Phil McGraw’s doctor status “has raised the bar of credibility required by a host.” The presentation also points out that 58% of women who watch Dr. Phil are over the age of 49 and notes “the need for a younger franchise in the genre.”

Warner Bros. points out the large number of court shows slated for next season (there may be as many as a dozen) to demonstrate the market for multiple shows within a single genre. “Where there’s success, there is opportunity for more success,” reads the pitch.

Ablow is a forensic psychiatrist who appears on Court TV and created a drama pilot for CBS. He has also been a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Today and is the author of several books, including Inside the Mind of Scott Peterson, which made The New York Times bestseller list.

—Additional reporting by Jim Benson

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