Father Alberto Cutie to Host Daily TV Talk Show About Life Issues
The tone of the talk show biz, and of NATPE itself, shifted Tuesday when a priest decided to take the plunge into the rough-and-tumble first-run syndie fray.
Father Alberto Cutie, a bestselling author of self-help books and radio talk show host as well as a former Roman Catholic priest, will join the ranks of gabbers and host a daily syndie strip devoted to life matters.
"It'll be everything from sex to salvation," Father Alberto told The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday in Miami during the NATPE TV trade show.
Hopefully it'll invite "greater dialog" with the audience, he added. Sorta Oprah meets Dr. Phil meets Bishop Sheen, the only other religious personnage who ever fronted a national TV show. (And that was in the 1950s!)
The show is being licensed by Debmar-Mercury and the first station group to step up for a launch test is Fox.
The show will preview on a number of as yet unspecified Fox stations this summer. The Fox test markets will include N.Y. and L.A., the country's top two markets. Other non-Fox outlets may be invited to join the test as well.
Jack Abernethy, CEO of the Fox TV station group, said there has been a crying need for an inspirational show for stations for many years. "Something not dogmatic or rigid but uplifting and helpful to viewers. Such things are big business in other media like book publishing and the radio but not on television,"
he pointed out.
Debmar-Mercury toppers Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus said that Father Alberto's "wide cross-over appeal, incredible story, encouraging advice and charismatic personality" make him a natural fit for daytime. Marcus said he was looking for such a personality long before Oprah announced her exit from daytime.
The syndicator is considering shooting the daily strip in dual English and Spanish formats because of Father Alberto's vast following in Latin America.
Father Alberto left the Roman Catholic Church two years ago over ideological differences and to marry the woman he loved. Cutie is now an Episcopal minister.