And we have the first major syndicated talk show contender for fall 2014. Former The View, Today and departing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host Meredith Vieira is set to do a pilot for a daytime syndicated talk show at NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution, which is targeted for a launch in fall 2014. Vieira entered talks with NBCU for the project shortly after she announced in January that she was leaving syndicated game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire after 11 years. In headlining a syndicated daytime talk show, Vieira will follow in the footsteps of her Today predecessors Jane Pauley and Katie Couric. But I hear that Vieira’s talk show would be lighter and more entertaining, something her 11-year Millionaire stint certainly had prepared her for. Such a show could go well with The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Steve Harvey on the NBC stations. The NBC station group has not committed to a new show for next fall to succeed freshman Jeff Probst, which is not getting renewed. It is quite possible that the stations will keep the 2 PM slot warm with temporary programming (NBCU’s Access Hollywood spinoff, Access Hollywood Live, has been rumored as a possibility), until the Meredith Vieira show arrives in fall 2014. It would create a cohesive entertaining talk show block from 2-5 PM with Vieira, Harvey, who also hosts a syndicated game show, Family Feud, and Ellen. Ellen has already been renewed through 2016-17; Steve Harvey is in the process of securing clearances through 2015-16. NBC declined comment, saying that “we do not comment on development.”
Vieira earlier this week defended her former Today co-host, Matt Lauer, criticizing NBC over the way Lauer had been portrayed in the dismissal of Vieira’s successor, Ann Curry, and telling New York Post that “what is happening to Matt is really wrong.” As for Couric, her freshman daytime talk show has a deal with the ABC stations though next season, so it is unclear yet whether it would be around in fall 2014 when Vieira’s show would premiere.