How 'The Talk' will be different than 'The View'

CBS' new daytime talk show premieres Oct. 18

When CBS daytime show "The Talk" premieres Oct. 18, don't expect any of the guests to be promoting their books, movies or their own TV shows. And if they can't open up to the show's six co-hosts and express real, personal thoughts about their own lives and topics of the day, they're not coming on.

Executive producer Brad Bessey, who spent 15 years at "Entertainment Tonight," most recently as co-executive producer, said he already has rejected some well-known guests (he declined to name names) because he didn't think they could be "real."

"I want this show to empower women," Bessey said. "I want this to be a host-driven show, where guests and the audience can have open and honest conversations with the show's co-hosts."

"The Talk" is the brainchild of Sara Gilbert, the actress and relatively new mother who brought the idea to CBS and will be one of the co-hosts along with Julie Chen, Holly Robinson Peete, Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini and Marissa Jaret Winokur.

Gilbert also is an executive producer, along with John Redman. However, it's been Bessey who's been primarily charged for the past two months with trying to bring Gilbert's vision to life.

"I want to shape television around these women; I don't want to have television shape them," he said. "We're going to have 200 live audience members each day, and the set is very close to the audience. We're going to talk to both the studio audience and to viewers at home via Twitter, Facebook and the Internet. We want to have interaction and live feedback."

Bessey said guests will come from all walks of life, and both female and male perspectives will be explored. However, the core audience target is mothers; all of the show's co-hosts have children, ranging in age from infant to adult.

"The Talk" will air live from Los Angeles at 11 a.m. weekdays and fill the live East Coast 2 p.m. time period previously occupied by canceled soap opera "As the World Turns." It will be televised via tape at 2 p.m. in the other time zones.

While Bessey would not reveal all the details of the show, he said there will be a couch and kitchen area where segments and interviews will take place. Winokur will work outside the studio conducting interviews with women on the street about topics related to family and children.

Although no one has seen a pilot, most media buyers seem intrigued.

"It certainly has a better chance than a game show," said Jackie Kulesza, senior vp and broadcast-activation director at Starcom. "And even with the success of 'The View,' there is room for another show of this kind. CBS' target of reaching out to mothers is interesting because there are lots of products out there that want to reach that audience. ... I see it as a good opportunity for our clients."

Brent Poer, senior vp and managing director at MediaVest, said daytime broadcast has been in need of reinvention, and "The Talk" could help if it feels unique from "The View."

"It can't be the same type show," he said.

Billie Gold, vp and director of programming research at Carat, said that though she believes the show will be "a good synergistic environment for women's product advertisers," she is not sure the show's ratings will come close to the levels of "The View," which draws about 3 million viewers daily.

Bessey counters that "The View" has been on the air for 13 years, and "The Talk" will need some time to find its audience.

He said the show will evolve as the co-hosts spend more time together and their relationships take form.

"I'm not looking to copy other talk shows," Bessey said. "I'm looking at this show to be our own piece of clay and to shape it as we go along."