It's tricky turf, the world of syndicated (non-network) TV. Good people (Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper) can fail; Jerry Springer can thrive. It's also a vast and varied turf -- as indicated by the two biggest new syndicated shows this fall, "FabLife" and "Crime Watch Daily." Here's the story I sent to papers:
By Mike Hughes
Let's say you want
to color-code this season's new, syndicated TV shows.
be yellow. That's the color of the stars' clothes (sometimes) and of
sunshine,” fashion-designer Joe Zee said of the logo. “To me, it
feels like the beginning of a morning. You wake up; it's like a great
And “Crime Watch
Daily”? It's color could be grey ... or black ... unless there's
spent much of the last few months in prisons and jails,” said host
Matt Doran. That included “one of the toughest interviews I've ever
done, with a woman who killed both her children.”
shows illustrate the immense range of syndicated TV – a field that
goes from Kelly and Michael to Springer and Povich.
Syndicators aim for
the non-network timeslots that stations control. In recent years,
they've kept trying individual talk-show hosts, with occasional
success and frequent failure; this year, however, the two largest
shows are group efforts:
-- “Fab Life”
surrounds Tyra Banks with another supermodel (Chrissy Teigen, billed
as a cooking expert), a do-it-yourselfer (Leah Ashley) and designers
of clothes (Zee) and homes (Lauren Makk).
-- “Crime Watch
Daily” has Doran – who hosted a crime series in Australia –
working with correspondents (Jason Mattera and Andrea Isom) and with
film from stations around the country. “It's a mash-up of all of
your favorite crime shows and all of your favorite things magazines
are doing in crime (but no one's) doing in daytime TV,” said
producer Lisa Dempsey.
It follows the
“Dateline” and “48 Hours” style, producer Jeremy Spiegel
said, with a difference: “They are focusing on hour-long mysteries
.... On our show, you get four to six stories in an hour.
“You will get the
murder mystery. You will get the con man. You will get the
caught-on-tape. You might even get a light story. Matt interviewed a
family whose dog saved them from two armed intruders.”
That dog might be
the only one Banks is interested in, especially after finishing her
previous talk show.
“My show was
conflict-oriented,” she said. “So I had to take that home a lot.”
On her new show,
nothing clashes ... including the colors. Zee recalled an early
get-together, when someone asked people what their favorite color is.
“Tyra and I ...
both say 'yellow' at the exact same time. I mean, who says 'yellow'?”
The “Fab” folks
did, rather sunnily, Zee said. “It was like a best dinner party you
can actually be invited to.”