CNN's Anderson Cooper eyes daytime talk show
By James Hibberd
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is close to a deal for a syndicated daytime talk show that would kick off next fall.
The "Anderson Cooper 360" host is deep in talks with Telepictures Productions and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution for a program that would 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 likely 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.
The talk show deal is complex because its being coordinated among Cooper, and Time Warner siblings Warner Bros. and CNN, which has an exclusive contract with the newsman. The deal, which has been in talks for more than a month and may close by the end of the week, calls for Cooper to continue hosting "360." With a lot of moving parts at play, however, sources caution the deal is not yet a sure thing.
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 opposite 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.
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 to replace 79-year-old 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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