Where Will Oprah's Viewers Go?
The departure of Oprah Winfrey from daytime network television will likely see the networks scrambling to attract her more than 6.5 million viewers, the Wall Street Journal observed today (Monday), noting that the networks are abandoning shows and personalities that appeal principally to older baby-boomers -- soap operas and Regis Philbin, for example -- and mounting game shows and talk shows that skew younger and cost less to produce. The executives appear certain that talk shows featuring the likes of Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper will prove popular with female daytime audiences. For one thing, Hilary Estey McLoughlin, president of Telepictures Productions, told the Journal , they don't require viewing every day to make sense. "The frequency of viewing has gone down," McLoughlin was quoted as saying. "Women used to watch a daytime show 3-4 times a week but now watch 1-2 times a week." Cooper commented "I've been a viewer of daytime TV for as long as I can remember and it's a great way to tell stories that you can't really talk about on an evening newscast_whether it's exploring a social phenomenon like bullying or just silly things, like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. " (Actually Cooper has devoted a considerable amount of time on his CNN show to the question of bullying and has repeatedly indicated that Real Housewives represents one of his "guilty pleasures."