In the 1990s, when daytime TV was awash with talk shows that paraded the hideous personal problems of seemingly average people, actress Ricki Lake (Hairspray, Mrs. Winterbourne) launched what turned out to be one of the genre’s longer-lived franchises. Ricki Lake ended just last year, after 11 years in syndication. But while Sally Jessy Raphael, Jenny Jones and others from that era seem to have tossed in the TV microphone for good, Lake is gearing up to get back in the game.
Negotiations are underway for the development of a new Lake project that could be on the air by next fall.
ICM has been shopping the idea around Hollywood for the past few weeks, according to a source familiar with the project, and three studios have expressed interest in pursuing it.
But aspiring talk-show guests who’ve been depressed by contraction in the business shouldn’t dust off their tales of slutty man-stealing sisters and good-for-nothing thieving boyfriends just yet. The new Lake show, which was originally pitched with a format similar to ABC’s multi-voiced and more decorous The View, has since been recast as a solo effort—but one that would still be aimed at a female demo a bit older than the younger audience courted by Lake’s previous show. After all, when she launched Ricki Lake in 1993, the host was in her mid-20s. Now Lake’s a 37-year-old divorced, single mother. (And still acting: She recently completed work on an indie film, Park, directed by Kurt Voelker.)
Lake would have a significant ownership interest in the show, which complicates the deal-making process. But negotiations are moving ahead. “I would be very surprised,” says our source, “if there was not a coming-to-terms on this by the end of the month.”