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Debmar-Mercury Co-Prez Mort Marcus: "Ratings are Harder to Come by"

Sherri Shepherd, Wendy Williams, The Wendy Williams Show

With The Ellen DeGeneres Show airing its final episode last week, networks are looking forward to the next big talk shows. But that also involves trying to identify and overcome unique challenges in the daytime TV space. Execs spoke to IndieWire about some of those challenges.

Mort Marcus, co-president of Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury (producer-distributor of The Wendy Williams Show and the upcoming chatfest Sherri), said

It’s not so simple out there. Ratings are harder to come by.

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IndieWire included season-to-date rankings for syndicated daytime talk shows among women 25-54; at the top is Live! with Kelly and Ryan at 0.7.

CPMs (cost per thousand viewers, paid by advertisers) are going up, too, because advertisers need to score ratings points. So what are some ways to succeed? Marcus added:

You do the best you can in the broadcast world, you get a diginet (like ‘Wendy Williams’ did with a simulcast on Bounce TV) to compliment it. Exploit the show on YouTube and Facebook and other social media platforms, and you try to add all of that together to try to come up with something that is a profitable business.

The key is multiple revenue streams: stations paying a cash fee to air the talk shows and TV ad revenue splits, video clips going viral and garnering ad revenue on social media, and working to keep down production and talent costs. But ultimately, the programs are all still working to become must-see TV. Marcus explained:

Our hope with Sherri is that she hits a chord and somehow becomes a show that you feel like you’ve gotta watch. This is all hard to do but with Sherri we feel like we have the right talent to do it.