The Inevitable Demise of The Bonnie Hunt Show
JOSSIP REPORTS — Testing out a new talk show is an expensive pursuit. A production company has to convince hundreds of local TV networks to carry the show, they've got to book a studio,
cast invite audience members, and then sign a host to a contract that might include paying her even if the show gets canceled halfway through the season. And it's a risky bet, because more often than not, the show is going to bomb when viewers fail to show up. Need we mention: Megan Mullally, Jane Pauley, Sharon Osbourne, Tony Danza.
But then there's the upside, which we could describe, or just say: Ellen. When a daytime talk show hits, it hits big. That's what Lifetime is hoping by giving Carson Kressley his own talker. And Oprah, the queen of daytime, knows the formula well. Having already gone through grooming head doc Phil McGraw for his own show, she's now getting medic Dr. Oz one for himself.
This year, Warner Bros. took a bet on Bonnie Hunt, the actress who had nothing better going on. And like the middle aged white ladies and Tiny Dancer before her, it's probably going to end in flames.
There's no one problem with The Bonnie Hunt Show. It premiered Sept. 8, with guest Robin Williams, and was bleh. It's been bleh ever since. The show is bland, does not stand out, and in our limited viewing of it, we've seen what amounts to a terrible recycling of the daytime talker format. And Hunt meets every criteria we looked at last year when it comes to can sink a daytime host.
And it shows. "Her average rating the last three weeks is 0.8—that is not a misprint," says a source (who relieved us from having to look up the Nielsen numbers ourselves). And in Los Angeles, the second largest TV market outside New York Metro and where the show is taped, Bonnie Hunt's rating is a 0.1. So embarrassed by the ratings, Warner Bros. wouldn't even release them, sending them back for "reprocessing" to delay the inevitable bad news. When they got the numbers back, then sent them for reprocessing a second time.
On set, nobody is pretending the sun is shining. "Everyone at the Bonnie Hunt Show knows it is doomed to fail," says a witness. "Ask the make-up people, the camera guys, the junior producers who are already sending out their resumes. It drives me crazy that these Warner Brothers execs (and other TV execs for that matter) think that the only people who are at home during daytime are willing to accept these dumb, emptyheaded shows. Well, the daytime audience is simply turning off the tv and going to the Internet. When was the last time these Warner Brothers guys had a big hit? And I don't count Ellen. More people watch Bill O'Reilly on cable every day than watch Ellen. And that's sad."
Hah! Our own source doesn't even consider Ellen a success. Lord! What about The Tyra Banks Show? That's a Warner Bros. vehicle that's doing decent, no?
Meanwhile, Dr. Oz's show is on the way, and radio host Wendy Williams' trial run on daytime exceeded expectations, and she's going national.
So we stand by our thesis: Daytime talk shows are for black women and the gays. Straight white women? Stick to running for vice president.