CBS's new daytime show: It's not 'The View,' it's 'The Talk'
After grilling CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler as to why her network did not get rid of its executives with greater regularity, like the other networks, TV critics wanted to know why the wife of the CEO of CBS is starring in not one, not two, but three of the network's shows. This has to be some kind of record.
Julie Chen added another show to her CBS empire last week when the network announced she would be one of the chicks on its new daytime "The View" knockoff. Chen also hosts "Big Brother," and anchors "The Early Show."
The gag at CBS is that this new talk show is not a "The View" knockoff because:
a) It was the idea of actress Sara Gilbert when she became a mom, and Gilbert is executive producing.
b) All the chicks sitting around the kitchen table on the new show are "moms" which makes it totally different than "The View."
To drive home the point exactly how different this show is than "The View," CBS has decided to call the new program "The Talk."
"Did you guys talk about that at all when you considered picking up the show? What do you say to [us] who say that there's certainly somebody else besides the wife of the CEO" who's qualified to star in one of these shows,' one critic asked Tassler, adding "you know - three shows?!"
It was at this moment, Tassler began to try to run out the clock. It was awesome:
We bought it in August of last year ..... Sara Gilbert, who I happen to have represented as an actress 25 years ago ..... she pitched the show ..... I don't think there is a place you can go in this country right now where you don't see an article about a new mother and a child, a parent and a child, a parenting relationship or so on, so certainly we think it's in the zeitgeist ..... It started as a $25,000 Internet presentation. I said, 'Sara, I'm going to come to your house and I'll film you.' It literally started like that ..... And then it picked up momentum and we started talking about topics and subject matter and so on.
Finally, Tassler got around to trying out the "it was Sara's idea" story:
"Julie has a terrific reputation. And the bottom line is the executive producer of the show, Sara Gilbert, said, 'What about Julie? Do you think she would be interested?' And we followed her lead. And truth is I was involved. I made the decision. I don't think Leslie's unhappy with the decision, but we're thrilled to have her."
It was a calculated gamble on Tassler's part that any group of people who would ask her why CBS didn't fire people more often would buy this story about casting the CEO's wife.
Instincts like that are worth millions in Hollywood.
"You know, if I was an executive producer and I was developing a show that was competing against at least two other shows [for the timeslot], I would try to get the wife of the CEO on it," one critic responded - a bit snippily, we think.
"Really? You know what? The show screened great and it tested the best of all the pilots we shot this season," Tassler responded sweetly.
It stopped most, but not all, snarking in the room. "So, a scientologist, the wife of the CBS CEO, and a lesbian walk into a bar..." one reporter mumbled quietly. No -- not us.
(Chen's co-stars on the show include Gilbert, who will play executive producer/Lesbian Mom; Leah Remini, formerly of CBS's "King of Queens," who will play the Sassy Scientologist Who Lets Her Kids Eat Sugar Mom; Holly Robinson Peete, who is married to former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and will play Football Wife Mom; Sharon Osbourne, the mother of Ozzy Osbourne's children, who will play They Don't Come Much Crazier Old Mom; and Broadway actress Marissa Jaret Winokur, playing Had Baby Via Surrogate Mom.)
Chen says they're still working out what will be her role on "The Early Show" going forward - most likely she'll be a "consultant" doing taped pieces for the show, because three full-time gigs would be "too much, even for the ChenBot," Chen joked, adding, in robot mode:
Lisa de Moraes
July 28, 2010; 5:43 PM ET
Categories: Summer TV Press Tour 2010
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