More Soap Scum From WikiLeaks' Sony Hack: NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert Reportedly Wanted to Replace Days of Our Lives With a Talk Show

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Deidre Hall

Deidre Hall

Is Chelsea Handler's ex-boyfriend poised to be the guy who puts the final nail in Days of Our Lives' coffin? WikiLeaks' searchable database of Sony's hacked emails has an exchange between Jeffrey Frost, Sony's business affairs veep, and Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, which indicates NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert is gunning to replace the soap with a talk show.

Re: Hulu

Agree. Let me know. Thanks Jeff. 

Sent on the run  

On Dec 23, 2013, at 11:39 PM, "Frost, Jeffrey"

<Jeffrey_Frost@spe.sony.com> wrote: I finally heard back from Cheeks this evening. The big obstacle has been Ted Harbert who really wants to move to low cost info/talk shows instead of DOOL after next season. Despite this (and Harbert’s objection), NBC will agree to two more years of DOOL at $775K next season and $750K the following season, provided we go up from our current proposal of $4.25m to settle the Community issue to $4.50m. How do you feel about $4.50m? Given Harbert’s strong push for alternative programming after the next season, I think we’re better off locking in 2 years of DOOL now and paying the additional $250K.    

The correspondence took place ahead of DAYS' most recent renewal and showed just how hard Sony execs had to fight to keep the soap opera on the air through its 50th anniversary. 

Considering CBS found success in replacing Guiding Light and As The World Turns with a lower cost game show (Let's Make a Deal) and talk show (The Talk) respectively, Harbert's alleged stance doesn't come as much of a shock. TV executives are all about vertical integration and maximizing profit.

Hopefully someone at Sony and/or The Peacock pointed out to Harbert that ABC has had a much more difficult time transitioning away from a soap-heavy lineup. One Life to Live replacement, The Revolution, bombed. Good Afternoon America, developed as a potential replacement for General Hospital, also failed. All My Children's follow-up, The Chew, finally managed to stabilize and start growing following a very rocky start. 

  Harbert became chairman of NBC Broadcasting in January 2011. He previously helmed Comcast's Entertainment Group, which included the E! Network, then home of Chelsea Lately

Harbert and Handler's romance was fodder for tabloid gossip. The late Joan Rivers accused Handler of getting a career by having sex with the executive, which led to a feud between the two comediennes.