After it didn’t make the cut for a traditional fall 2012 launch, Warner Bros.’ Bethenny Frankel talk show is going for a non-traditional rollout. Fox TV Stations have picked up the show, Bethenny, for a six-week trial run in the summer on some Fox owned-and-operated stations including flagships WYNY New York and KTTV Los Angeles. It will likely follow the third season of Frankel’s Bravo reality series, which premieres in February. “Bethenny is a lightning rod, and from a marketing standpoint, we love the idea of her hit reality series dovetailing into this test,” said Fox TV Stations SVP Programming Frank Cicha. It’s been a very crowded marketplace for new syndicated talk shows, with a whopping 4 newbies — Twentieth’s The Ricki Lake Show, CBS’ Jeff Probst, ABC’s Katie and NBCU’s Steve Harvey — cleared for a September launch. The competition for station slots, made more fierce by the renewal of Warner Bros’ rookie Anderson, squeezed Bethenny out of contention for next fall, though Warner Bros and Fox continued discussions about an alternative way to get the show on the air.
Doing summer talk show tests has become a Fox Stations specialty, as the company now does it virtually every year following the success of The Wendy Williams Show, which also started with a trial summer run. Recent tryouts have included a Craig Kilborn talker in 2010 and Dish Nation this past summer. (The former didn’t go beyond the initial run; the latter was recently picked up.) Bethenny, a daily one-hour entertainment talk show starring entrepreneur, reality star and Ellen regular Frankel, is produced by Telepictures Prods and executive produced by Frankel and Ellen DeGeneres. Frankel, who first garnered attention when she finished second on NBC’s The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, is best known as a star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives Of New York and her own spinoff series.