With NBC’s announcement that Jay Leno will host a five-nights-a-week talk show in prime time once he steps down to be replaced by Conan O’Brien in 2009, economists are predicting that talk shows will be the next growth industry. “Talk shows are the least expensive programs for a network to produce,” said Milt E. Uncal, industry analyst. “Except for anything hosted by Rosie O’Donnell.”
“Any monkey with a bad haircut can host a talk show,” said David Letterman. “I’ve proven that.” Letterman was speaking at a press conference announcing that CBS is expanding his duties to include hosting a daily prime time business news and comedy show called “Will It Float A Loan?” “Dave is always ahead of business trends,” said CBS spokesperson Phil O’Farnsworth. “A year ago he did the “Top Ten Signs GM Isn’t Worth A Buck” and “Top Ten Worst Excuses For Giving Yourself A $50 Million Bonus.”
The surge in talk show opportunities does not necessarily mean that competition will lead to quality. ABC is dangling the hour after “Desperate Housewives” to anyone who used to be on “Saturday Night Live,” including the black, Hispanic and female performers no one remembers. “I’m thinking “Show In Someone’s Basement,”” said Allen Steves, a young mailroom clerk recently promoted to head of development at ABC who just started watching SNL this season.
Soap operas are also in danger of being priced out of the market by cheap daytime talk shows. Barbara Walters is considering breaking up “The View” into five separate shows called “The White View,” “The Black View,” “The Gay View,” “The Washed-Up Comedian’s View” and “The Sarah Palin Show.” Regis Philbin, already owning the record ofr the most hours on television, is working with the producers of “Dancing With The Stars” to find washed-up stars he can co-host with. Shows being considered are “Live With Regis & Jennie Garth,” “Live With Regis & Some Volleyball Player” and “Barely Live With Regis & Cloris Leachman.”