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The Buzz! (Vol. 1, No. 3)

By

In this issue::

  • Many greetings and a warm welcome to the “real” first issue of The Buzz.
  • A sneak peek at this season’s new talk shows.

Is this what Ray Davies was thinking about?:

Since going live as the new About Talk Shows guide some two weeks ago, I’ve noticed that there’ve been a few kinks (hence the Ray Davies pun) to work out in my day to day schedule. One such kink has been the timely writing of this particular column, The Talk Show Buzz or, more affectionately, The Buzz.

Once everything is clicking on all cylinders, our tight-knit Yada Nation can expect a few weekly staples from your affable guide, including The Buzz, delving a bit deeper than the daily blog into all things talk show; Look Who's Talking!, a short treatise on guests, schedules and generally themes for week coming up; and Who's On?, guest schedules accessible via category and through links in Look Who's Talking!.

Every week will bring a new story (or two or three), many of which will be slotted into regular features, such as the soon-to-be debuts of Tales from the Guest, a feature spotlighting the experiences of a talk show guest on some of our favorite talk shows, and I'm Dating Maury Povich – But I’m in Love with Montel Williams!, a quiz in which you must guess which talk show episode title is the real talk show episode title.

Top that off with some of the most rounded coverage of TV talk shows on the air – backround, reviews, biographies and so forth – and your satisfaction is almost guaranteed.

No doubt there’ll be a bump or two as this little car chugs up to speed, but already I’m amazed at the response I’ve received from readers far and wide. Please, feel free to drop me a line any time you’d like. I’ll do my very best to respond. And suggestions are always welcome.

We’ve been without Spike Feresten for far too long:

The new TV season is looming just behind our cathode ray tubes (what, you’re TV doesn’t use a cathode ray tube?). With it comes a handful of new talk shows. Wanna take a peek and see what the airwaves have to offer?

First up, The Rachael Ray Show, starring that incredibly perky and (my wife is gonna kill me for saying this) incredibly cute star of all things Food Network. Ray’s show “celebrates the can-do spirit in every person and gives viewers the essentials for whole-hearted living.”

Ray is well-known for her kitchen skills, and creative cooking will be a cornerstone of the new program. But the show will stray into semi-new territory with celebrity guests, interview segments, and other standards. Ray has interviewed celebrity guests before, most notably on her FN program Inside Dish with Rachael Ray. As long as all the dominos line up, I trust Ray will be around for awhile.

Next up, The Megan Mullaly Show. Mullaly's Karen Walker on Will & Grace was a drug-induced, 40-something, ne'er-do-well, with s-x on the brain and booze in the gut. Mullaly, of course, is the extreme opposite; unbelievably talented, blisteringly funny, with a beautiful singing voice and charm to spare. She intends to bring much of that to her new program, debuting September 18 and produced by NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution (producer of Maury).

Mullaly plans to integrate the very best of the hosts that have come before here, namely talk show legends Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas. Along with celebrity and non-celebrity guests, Mullaly will sprinkle her show with comedy and music, in the traditional vein. One thing she won’t have: a desk.

Mullaly is shunning the usual set in favor of something totally different. I picture a sectional couch – a stylish one – with a great coffee table.

I’m looking forward to The Greg Behrendt Show. Behrendt, comedian and best-selling author of He's Just Not That Into You and It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken, is hosting a one-hour talk show that - and this is saying it without seeing it - seems to be a cross between The Man Show and Dr. Phil.

Produced by Sony Pictures Television and premiering the week of September 12, the show will tackle everyday issues from romantic relationships to parental relationships and everything in between. If Behrendt doesn't have an answer, he'll go looking for one (something that might work really well - kind of bringing the host down to the viewer's level).

This could be a fresh approach to a familiar format, one that won’t go stale on the shelf. I question whether someone who would appeal to the Comedy Central set can pull off a daytime talk show (will his guests be women or men or both? I’m not sure). But then, Behrendt has fantastic cross-over appeal. Plus, my wife thinks he's hot (thus cancelling out my Rachael Ray comment. There, we]'re even!).

Finally, there's Spike Feresten. I know. I said the same thing when I found out. Spike who?

Well, turns out Feresten is a the writing genius behind the uber-memorable Seinfeld episode “Soup Nazi,” as well as former writer for David Letterman, The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live. His Talk Show with Spike Feresten debuts Saturdays at midnight on FOX in September.

Lest you think there's no way a no-name comedy writer can break into the cut throat world of late-night talk shows, consider the parallels between Feresten and another no-name writer with a similar pedigree (namely SNL and The Simpson): Conan O’Brien.

By throwing out convention and bringing something different to the tube, Spike can follow Conan's carefully plotted path of cult-status to talk-show genius.

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