A New Spin on Talk TV

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A startup programmer has begun to put a new spin on the talk-show format with a weekly primetime series that debuted on CN8: The Comcast Network.

Showcasing a segment approach that puts its hosts on location, the half-hour TalkShow.TV bowed on Jan. 14 at 8: 30 p.m. CN8, which is available to 6.4 million homes from Maine to Maryland, initially plans to run 17 installments of the linear show as part of its entertainment-themed Friday night lineup.

Featuring three or four segments running from five to eight minutes apiece, the show will rotate such topics as style, sports, music and nightlife, focusing on issues, personalities and events shaping the lifestyles of the 18-to-34 set accustomed to today’s multitasking media world.

Along those lines, TalkShow.TV founder and CEO Chad Shusman said the show is being produced in modular form, with the various segments subsequently available on Comcast Corp.’s on-demand platform, as well on its Web site (www.talkshow.tv).

“TalkShow.TV programming has been developed specifically for distribution on emerging platforms like video-on-demand and broadband, as well as traditional linear television,” said Shusman, who noted that the online version will feature a number of interactive elements.

Shusman emphasized that each segment will be highly energetic, while also offering information. He believes roving desks, situated at such locations as Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Boston’s Faneuil Hall, will also serve as a point of differentiation for the show.

“People like to see themselves or friends on television,” he said. “This is the latest step in the evolution in the talk formats from [Jack] Paar, [Johnny] Carson to [MTV’s] TRL and [HBO’s] Ali G.”

The first show featured host Megan Gunning (E! Entertainment Television’s Wild On!,) interviewing DJ/producer Josh Wickam on the night club scene in the City of Brotherly Love; poker champion Dutch Boyd discussing strategies to succeed at Texas Hold ’Em with host Gareth Reynolds (PBS’s Breaking The Mold) in Atlantic City; and host Angus Campbell (CBS’s Hack) talking up folks on Philadelphia’s South Street.

TalkShow.TV further strengthens CN8’s Friday primetime lineup featuring exclusive, entertainment programming relevant to our viewing audience,” said Jon Gorchow, CN8 vice president and general manager, in a prepared statement.

Shusman, who came to the programming world after selling the Web site earthwell.com to drugstore.com, said the company’s business model presently relies on splitting ad revenues with distributors. He said he’s the process of putting together another funding round.

Looking ahead, Shusman believes the format can play within distinct markets, like a TalkShow.TV, Philadelphia. “Relevant regional stories and hosts are the keys,” he said.

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