Title: Ricki, aka The Ricki Lake Show
Host: Ricki Lake
Executive producer: Ricki Lake
Production company: Monet Lane Productions, 20th Television
Format: One-hour daytime talk show
Broadcast Information: The Ricki Lake Show is broadcast in first-run syndication. Check your local listings for dates and times.
Taped at: Culver Studios, Culver City, Calif.
Premiere Date: September 10, 2012
The 2012 fall TV season is crammed with new daytime talk shows, all vying for the audience The Oprah Winfrey Show left behind. But unlike Katie, The Steve Harvey Show and The Jeff Probst Show, talk show host Rikki Lake is a known commodity. After all, the 40-something host headlined an extremely successful daytime talk show in the 1990s and early 2000s, Ricki Lake.
That show succeeded because Lake targeted her generation, Generation X, and themed shows that would appeal to that audience. Shows took on topics that might seem more relevant today, like same sex couples wanting to adopt or have children of their own. Lake took on relationship issues, family problems and social issues relevant to her younger audience: finding work in a down economy, pushing for social change and single parenting.
But as was popular at the time, Ricki Lake began to focus more on conflict than context. She showcased more tabloid-style stories that piqued the prurient interests of viewers. For Lake, that meant setting up guests for surprises, such as neglecting to tell a cheating boyfriend that both girlfriends were there to confront him. These surprises were always preceded by the sound of a doorbell, which become a signature part of the show for most of its run.
So the question is, will Lake's new show follow the same mold?
Reaching out to her 'X'er audience
Official show descriptions say that Ricki won't follow the mold of her original talk show by discussing issues relevant to young people.
Instead, it will "present topical conversation reflecting Ricki's own personal journey and recent life experiences. As her fans have grown up with Ricki, a combination of relevant themes personal to the host and her audience including family, marriage, parenting, divorce, weight loss and overall well-being are being explored for the program."
Which is exactly what it should be. By doing so, Lake creates an extension of her original show, carrying on her unstated mission of reaching out to her generation. The generation that wanted to know about issues important to young people in the late 90s is now in its 40s. And Gen Xers would like to discuss all the topics Lake puts forward, because that's what's relevant to them today.
In a way, Ricki is almost a sequel to Ricki Lake, taking up where the old show left off, just with less prurient interest.
And one way Lake is reaching that core audience is through digital marketing. Her official website makes use of daily feature articles focused on the topics most important to "Team Ricki," bucketed into sections like Beauty & Fashion, Body, Health, Lifestyle, Money and Parenting.
It also offers a chance to join the Friends of Ricki, which the site calls "the first social TV community of its kind." It allows "friends" to "engage in casual conversation about the topics that are most important to (them) and fellow viewers." Lake and her production team also frequent the group.