When Oprah Winfrey leaves Chicago (and her show ends) in September of 2011--what will fill her coveted television spot?
While some predicted another syndicated talk show, WLS-Channel 7 President Emily Barr told Vocalo.org columnist Robert Feder that the station has more "invigorating" plans in store. The top-rated ABC-owned station has been airing "The Oprah Winfrey Show" at 9 a.m. for 25 years, but the station does not plan to "re-invent Oprah Winfrey."
Based on a three-minute demo tape using the working title of "Morning Rush" and featuring quick cuts of people and places in and around Chicago, Barr won approval from her ABC bosses to develop the show. "We literally threw it all in there, not knowing exactly what we were going to do, but knowing that we had to show what we're capable of doing," she said of the tape. "Nothing has been decided yet in terms of the show's hosts or set or look or name -- except to say that we intend to make it live and local and fun." One more thing: It's also expected to feature a studio audience each day.
The local morning show will be filmed in WLS-Channel 7's studios at 190 N. State St., and Barr told Feder they were hoping to find the perfect host:
"It would be great to get someone who's done live TV and who has experience with something like this," Barr said. "To do a five-day-a-week show live every day is a tall order. You want someone who has the experience, creativity and stamina to crank something like that out. They're not easy shows to do."
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" was originally a Chicago-based local program which (obviously) went national, but Barr said that is not her intention. Instead, the station hopes to reach local women between the ages of 25 and 54.
Read more of Feder's interview with Barr here.