Will The Joy Behar Show Be Successful?
New Behar Show Set For September 29th
Joy Behar, the long-time co-host of ABC's "The View," is getting her own cable talk show. The Joy Behar Show will launch on September 29, 2009, at 9 P.M. Eastern. HLN, the sister station of CNN, will be running Joy's new show. Bette Midler will be her first guest for the premiere. Behar has substantial television and radio hosting experience. She came up as a stand-up comedian and eventually made her way to television.
The following is just a personal opinion, but I have doubts that this show will be successful for any substantial period of time. I wish Joy Behar the best of luck, but I am not optimistic about her prospects as a stand-alone television host. This is just a preliminary analysis and opinion, and I will be watching intently and am willing to change my opinion if Joy proves herself.
First, look at her role on "The View." Joy got her start in entertainment as a comedian. I understand that people have different opinions, but I don't think I have ever seen her say anything funny on that show. Does Joy even have the delivery of a comedian or the charisma to host her own show? I am not convinced that Joy is anything but a sidekick on "The View." I know this sounds harsh, but I view her as a diversion from the real stars.
Now, I am not just making this up. I have run some Google search results, and this is what I found were the amount of searches for co-hosts of "The View", which Google states as the Global Monthly Search Volume:
Whoopi Goldberg: 301,000
Joy Behar: 60,500
Barbara Walters: 246,000
Sherri Shepherd: 40,500
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: 330,000 (name frequently misspelled as "Elizabeth")
As you can see, only Sherri Shepherd has less searches than Joy Behar. This is not a full-proof way of gauging popularity but probably the only thing we have to go on.
However, to be fair, a cultural talk show like The Joy Behar Show must have a host with good interviewing skills. Joy's personality and manner of speaking are well suited to be an interviewer, so she has the basic skills necessary to keep the program flowing at a natural pace. This is key, and her performances on "The View" suggest that this is her biggest strength.
It may also be helpful to look at the search results for others who have solo talk show gigs on cable:
Nancy Grace: 550,000
Larry King: 673,000
Bill O'Reilly: 1,201,000 (apostrophe often not entered by searchers)
Sean Hannity: 368,000
Greta Van Susteren: 74,000
Larry King's show is probably most similar to the type of show that Joy Behar will be hosting. However, one would expect Joy's search numbers to increase as the show gains exposure. Right now, she is just a co-host, but she is going solo now and will receive more stand-alone airtime. So it is not totally fair to compare her yet to solo hosts.
Now, let's look at why these other hosts are successful at what they do and how Behar can maximize her chances of having a successful show. Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity are conservatives on Fox News. They have a tailor-made audience of conservatives that will always buy into their programs as long as they have a reasonable amount of charisma. While I don't personally like either of them, lots of people will easily buy into their constant supposed outrage. In effect, they play off of patriotism and being a "protector of the people," and they play that part well.
Nancy Grace has the same "protect the people" kind of show. I think that show is poorly produced, but it does show her passion, and that plays well with her viewers. I can't stand Nancy, but her fans love her. And that's good enough to run a successful show.
As I said above, Joy's show will most likely be most similar to Larry's show. Larry King does not have the same kind of show as the others I mentioned. He mixes news topics, legal and crime topics, celebrity dirt, and other entertainment topics. Larry is not a smooth interviewer in my opinion, but he picks his topics for ratings, and, combined with selecting lots of good guests that will attract viewers, he manages to have a successful show.
The Joy Behar Show can be successful if it follows the same kinds of techniques that Larry uses to keep his show on the air. Joy needs to pick popular, engaging guests who will bring the ratings to her instead of trying to shoulder the burden with just her own personality. As I said above, I think Joy has been something of a sidekick up to this point in her television career instead of the star element. But success often depends more on following a successful formula than who is hosting a show.
So, there are good signs and bad signs relative to Joy Behar's chances of success. She may not be the most engaging personality or the most popular figure for Internet searchers, but the show can be successful if it picks the right topics and guests. I will be anxiously awaiting the premiere of The Joy Behar Show on September 29th and wish her the best of luck.
The Joy Behar Show Ratings Updates:
It is hard to get cable TV ratings, but tvbythenumbers.com releases some cable ratings. According to them, The Joy Behar Show premiere on September 29, 2009, finished 4th out of 5 among its cable news competitors. The show had 559,000 total viewers. This is a bad start when considering that CNBC is not a viable competitor, as it consistently runs in last place among the main cable news channels. Virtually any show short of a complete train wreck that is run on HLN is going to beat out CNBC.
Just to give you an idea of how the other shows did in viewers, I am posting those numbers, as well:
FNC's Hannity: 2,200,000 viewers
CNN's Larry King Live: 815,000 viewers
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show: 661,000 viewers
CNBC had about 99,000 viewers.
Ratings Update for Thursday, October 1, 2009:
Joy's show has maintained about the same number of viewers as its premiere (at a little over 500,000), but the three other main shows increased on this Thursday over the Tuesday numbers. Larry King increased to about 1.2 million, Rachel Maddow increased to one million, and Hannity increased to about 2.4 million.
The Joy Behar Show only beat out the New Age of Wal-Mart documentary on CNBC.
Once again, though, note that this is not a total disaster. If the show can maintain this level, it might turn out to be an eventual success.