The 2023-24 television season started without several of the most prominent daytime talk shows: the syndicated The Drew Barrymore Show, The Jennifer Hudson Show and The Kelly Clarkson Show and CBS’ The Talk. They are now expected to return for new seasons by the second week of October.
The Kelly Clarkson Show‘s delay was attributed to the program moving from Los Angeles to New York, which required the building of a new set. Meanwhile, The Drew Barrymore Show, The Jennifer Hudson Show and The Talk postponed their September 18 season premieres amid backlash and picketing by the WGA as the three programs, along with The Kelly Clarkson Show, are guild signatories. (They each employ a couple of WGA writers, making them struck productions during a strike even after the shows said that they would return without writers.)
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With the writers and the studios reaching a tentative agreement tonight, the delayed daytime talkers are expected to return when the new contract is ratified by the WGA membership, which is expected within two weeks. (That is if the membership vote “yes,” which historically has been overwhelmingly the case.)
It is possible for the shows to go back to production even sooner. In tonight’s announcement, the WGA told members that they could be able to return to work during the ratification vote, before the new contract has been ratified. Picketing has been suspended effective immediately.
I hear that it would take about a week for the talk shows to be up and running after cleared to go back to production. Given the sensitivity of the issue and the wave of criticism earlier this month, the shows likely would wait for writers to return to work before they start gearing up to go back. That could be as early as this coming week (likely later in the week, Thursday or Friday). It is unclear if any already filmed episodes of some of the talk shows would air.
The Kelly Clarkson Show is said to be in the final stages of pre-production and on a similar timeline for a Season 5 return.
While the WGA strike is coming to an end, SAG-AFTRA will remain on strike until that guild reaches a new agreement with the AMPTP. While that will impact the kind of guests the talk shows can have — no actors unless they represent indie productions with interim agreements — production will not be affected.
As Deadline has reported extensively, daytime talk shows are covered by a different SAG-AFTRA deal, not the the film and TV agreement which expired June 30, launching the current strike. Working under the SAG-AFTRA Network Code agreement, daytime hosts are not in violation of strike rules and are required to go to work.
The new seasons of The Drew Barrymore Show, The Jennifer Hudson Show and The Kelly Clarkson Show are launching amid a challenging time for the syndicated daytime talk show business. These programs are far from being moneymakers for the studios the genre was at the time Oprah Winfrey ruled daytime. First-run syndication as a whole has diminished to a point that all major companies have folded the units into other areas, including news and reality. Daytime talk shows have some of the worst financial prospects, making it harder to break even or turn a profit.
As a result, the number of daytime syndicated talk shows is smaller than ever, with no major new entrants this year and a slew of long-running stalwarts ending over the last couple of years, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dr. Phil, Maury, Racheal Ray and Dr. Oz. There are studios that are out of that business altogether; Sony got out if after two high-profile shows that lost money, The Queen Latifah Show and The Mel Robbins Show.
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