Lifetime, Kressley ready to talk it up

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In a rare move for a cable network, Lifetime is looking to launch a daytime talk show, handing out a pilot order for a talker hosted by Carson Kressley.

It is part of an effort by the female-centered cable network to add original programming during the day, when it airs mostly off-net sitcoms.

Kressley is expected to mention the new talk show project today at the Television Critics Assn.'s summer press tour, where he will promote Season 2 of the Lifetime reality series "How to Look Good Naked," which he hosts.

The untitled talker, intended to air Monday-Friday, will feature the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" alum in both a studio and the field interviewing real people and offering viewers insight into fashion and other topics.

Serving as executive producer will be daytime veteran Ray Giuliani ("The Greg Behrendt Show").

Lifetime airs several sitcoms throughout the day, including "The Nanny" and "The Golden Girls." Both of those shows are moving off the schedule next year: "Nanny" is leaving at the end of January for MTV Networks, and "Golden Girls" is moving to Hallmark Channel and WE tv in March.

"We've always run sitcoms in the daytime, and some of those are starting to run out," Lifetime senior vp reality programming Jessica Samet said. "We thought it would be a nice idea to try to replace those with reality programming."

In another move to offset the drying-off pipeline of off-network sitcoms, Lifetime recently entered the multicamera comedy arena in a partnership with MRC, looking to put sitcoms on an accelerated production schedule to quickly amass enough episodes to start running Monday-Friday.

Daytime talk shows in cable are very rare, with Oxygen's two-hour "Pure Oxygen" as a notable example. Samet admitted that Lifetime likely would not be looking to a talk show were it not for Kressley.

"We don't know that we would do it without him," she said. "He is so articulate and funny, and he is totally accessible. To dive into the talk show world, which is a difficult thing to launch in cable, you need a personality attached that is known. He is perfect for our demo."

The pilot is scheduled to shoot in September. Kressley is repped by ICM and Untitled. (partialdiff)
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