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UPDATED: Exclu: CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is launching a syndicated daytime talk show.
The “Anderson Cooper 360” host has made a deal with Telepictures Productions and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution for a program that will be pitched to stations in the next couple of weeks targeted to launch in fall 2011.
The as-yet-untitled project will not have a hard-news focus, though given Cooper’s background, he’ll bring a more journalistic approach to handling popular topics compared to most daytime fare.
The show is billed as a topical format that will cover everything from celebrities and pop culture to social issues and wide-interest news stories. Using his well-established interview skills, Cooper’s show will welcome a broad range of guests and tackle debate-provoking subjects. Segments will include hidden-camera experiments and town-hall meetings, with a focus aimed at appealing to female viewers.
“Over the course of the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of daytime programs,” said Anderson Cooper. “It’s fun and interesting to work in daytime television. The format is unique and you can really go in-depth on a wide range of fascinating and compelling stories. With this new program I hope to relay important information and relate to people and the audience in a completely different way. It’s an exciting opportunity to show another side of myself and create something worthwhile and special in daytime.”
Cooper will also serve as an executive producer.
The talk show deal was complex as it was coordinated between Warner Bros., Cooper and Cooper’s employers at CNN — who have an exclusive contract with the newsman. As part of the deal, Cooper renewed his agreement with the cable news network for a multi-year contract. The deal calls for Cooper to continue hosting “360.”
“I am pleased that Anderson Cooper has extended his relationship with CNN and will be with us for years to come,” said CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton in a statement Thursday morning. “I am also pleased to congratulate Anderson on his new relationship with Telepictures. We think it will be good for Anderson, good for CNN and good for Time Warner.”
Warner Bros. hopes to launch Cooper’s show next fall, coming into the marketplace just as talk queen Oprah Winfrey exits to launch her cable network OWN. The vacancy has spurred a surge of talk contenders whose projects are in various stages of deployment (including Dr. Oz, Nancy Grace and Jenny McCarthy).
Cooper’s show would air in early fringe in a cash-plus-barter deal, counter-programming more celebrity-oriented programs such as “Access Hollywood.” It’s not yet clear which station group Warners will line up as its first carriage partner to help galvanize further clearances.
“There is a great opportunity in the marketplace for this type of show,” said Ken Werner, President, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. “Fall ’11 begins a transition period when long established franchises are leaving the air and making way for a new generation of shows. Anderson Cooper is one of the most distinctive voices of the next generation of television. His popularity and skills uniquely position him to be the next big syndication franchise.”
Cooper has flirted with becoming a talk show host before. He recently experimented with a talk-style format during his “360” tapings. Last year Cooper was rumored to be under consideration for replacing Regis Philbin on “Live! With Regis and Kelly,” a show he’s guest hosted several times.
The arrival of Cooper on the syndie scene would represent the rare crossover of a TV personality from serious primetime news into the daytime space. Cooper could draw comparisons to silver-haired daytime legend Phil Donahue, though Donahue originally only hosted morning news and radio programs. “The View” co-hosts Barbara Walters and Meredith Vieira, however, both have extensive news experience.
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