When CBS unveiled “The Talk” — the afternoon chat show with Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, Holly Robinson Peete, and Leah Remini — it was met with a collective eyeroll.
The general reaction was: “we already have one of these. It’s called ‘The View.'”
And it’s true that — seven months after its launch — “The Talk” doesn’t have a ton of distinctions from Barbara Walters‘ long-running morning program.
Filtering the news through a mother’s specific perspective was supposed to be the hook that set “The Talk” apart.
But that element has become less of a trademark than, say, Remini’s bawdy shtick or Osbourne’s perpetually bare feet.
And the elimination of Marissa Janet Winokur‘s twice-weekly “mum in the Street” segments helped push the mummy stuff further out of focus.
Still, “The Talk” must be doing something right.
CBS just announced that they delivered a 40 per cent sweeps rating increase over the network’s same programming last year (which, by the way, was the soap opera “As The World Turns”).
That’s pretty impressive just from a numbers standpoint. Factor in the tailored-to-mums vibe, and you’ve got a solid ad-sales pitch.
What remains to be seen is where “The Talk” will ultimately fit in the cultural landscape. That discussion is where the differences between “The Talk” and “The View” become clear.
“The Talk” tapes three hours before it airs, and “The View” usually airs live. Unlike “The View,” “The Talk” doesn’t seem to be after scoops or soundbites.
It’s not that “The Talk” has less energy — it’s that it just has a more relaxed energy. The CBS ladies are sort of just hanging out.
And if that’s enough to keep their ratings rising, they’re not likely to do anything but hang out anytime soon.
Still, if they’re going to tinker with anything — maybe more shoes-on time for Osbourne.
Even just some slippers would be fantastic.