EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures TV‘s The Queen Latifah Show is now a go for a fall 2013 launch. I’ve learned that, in a competitive situation, the daily syndicated talk show, executive produced by Latifah, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, has gone to the CBS TV Stations in a premium deal that will have the strip on the 16 CBS Owned & Operated stations.
The Queen Latifah Show will feature celebrity interviews, human interest stories, comedy, pop culture and musical performances. It is expected to showcase Queen Latifah’s talents, blending comedy and music into her hosting duties.
Shortly after the dust settled on this fall’s syndicated daytime talk show launches that failed to produce a breakout hit, Sony TV began conversations with station groups about the Queen Latifah talker, garnering interest from multiples places. I hear negotiations went down to the wire with the CBS and NBC station groups. The sale comes exactly a year after Sony TV, Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere’s Flavor Unit and Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment closed a deal to develop a daytime talk show for the Oscar-nominated actress to host. In May, Corin Nelson was tapped as executive producer.
This is a rare major syndicated talk show acquisition for the CBS TV Station group that involves the flagship CBS stations. (The group includes duopoly stations in a number of major markets that are independent, the CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates). What is even more rare is the group going for a show not produced/distributed by its sister company CBS TV Distribution. In the three hours of daytime dedicated to syndicated product, most of the CBS O&Os carry the top daytime syndicated show, Judge Judy; the top daytime talk show, Dr. Phil; as well as a mix of The Doctors (New York, Los Angeles), Racheal Ray (San Francisco) and struggling freshman The Jeff Probst Show (Chicago) in the third hour. All those shows hail from CBS TV Distribution. Judge Judy and Dr. Phil have been staples on the stations and are both locked into long-term deals, leaving most stations with the option to play with their third available hour. (There are a selected few stations that don’t carry Dr. Phil or Judge Judy, making a commitment by the CBS station group to put The Queen Latifah Show on all of its CBS stations even more significant.) Both Rachael Ray and The Doctors have been renewed through 2014, but CBS TV Stations group’s numerous duopolies could help it juggle them and the Queen Latifah-hosted newcomer in markets where the CBS stations carry both Dr. Phil and Judge Judy.
With The Queen Latifah Show, the CBS stations are adding an entertainment syndicated daytime talk show with celebrity guests to its lineup, something all other major network-affiliated station groups have: ABC (Live With Kelly & Michael, Katie), NBC (Ellen, Steve Harvey) and Fox (The Wendy Williams Show).
The Queen Latifah Show is shaping up to be the highest-profile new daytime syndication entry next fall. It will likely be joined by Warner Bros’ Bethenny, which is slated for a 2013 nationwide launch on the Fox stations, probably in the fall, after a successful trial run last summer, likely in the fall. Elsewhere, CBS TV Distribution has been developing a talker hosted by Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis and executive produced by Shane Farley, said to be in the vein of Live With Regis & Kelly and air live. Twentieth Television is finalizing a deal with Kris Jenner to host her own daytime talk show, though that project is eying a summer tryout on the Fox stations in lieu of a traditional fall 2013 rollout. Of this fall’s freshman class, Katie has a two-year deal with the ABC stations, and Steve Harvey, which has exceeded expectations with a solid demo performance, will probably come back. Odds are long for Jeff Probst or Ricki Lake.
The Queen Latifah Show is executive produced by Flavor Unit’s Queen Latifah and Compere; Overbrook’s Miguel Melendez, Lassiter, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith as well as Nelson. At Sony TV, it joins the company’s daytime talker Dr. Oz. Queen Latifah first hosted a syndicated daytime talk show a decade ago: The Telepictures-produced Queen Latifah Show launched in 1999 and ran for two seasons.