Tischies should stand out to succeed in TV

Tegan Joseph Mosugu

NYU Tisch students who dream of being the next Oprah or Dr. Phil might just be in luck. As more and more TV talk shows are getting cancelled, executives and producers are looking for the next big thing. Ever since Oprah ended her 25-year run, more and more talk shows have been struggling to retain viewers.

Various big names including celebrities such as Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper and Queen Latifah have attempted trial runs of talk shows, but their efforts haven’t gotten off the ground. The Kardashian-Jenner clan debuted a celebrity-themed show “Kris,” but not even their fame could save it from flopping.

On the other hand, the likes of Steve Harvey and Wendy Williams are showing some staying powers thanks to their mass appeal.

The question then becomes why do some of these shows fail, even in the midst of big-name guests and huge production support. Students in NYU Tisch, many of whom have their sights set on being talk show hosts down the line, would do well to crack the code of what makes a successful host.

The problem lies in the fact that these daytime television programs lack innovation. There comes a time when it becomes a bit monotonous for these shows to talk about love or celebrity gossip for multiple seasons with little diversity of content. The only option left to them in that case is to be innovative in their delivery.

Take, for example, former supermodel Tyra Banks, who recently debuted a new lifestyle show titled “FabLife,” which has had a steady decline in ratings since its debut. The show features various segments including do-it-yourself projects, fashion, business and interior design projects. Despite Banks’ appeal to viewers, the show still failed because lifestyle shows rely on the assumption that people are willing to tune in to content focused on bettering their lives. Sometimes, this just isn’t sustainable.

At this stage, the question becomes discovering what works and what doesn’t in TV and radio. Viewers like to be educated but they also like to be taken away from their daily lives. These shows succeed because they provide viewers with something they don’t already have, or get elsewhere.

Those who want to see their name in lights have their work cut out for them, but being here is a good start. NYU Tisch is a huge name in the entertainment industry, and the number one destination for anyone who wants to pursue a career in acting or film and TV production. Whether you want to be a producer or host your own TV show, an NYU education can be a big stepping stone. But first, you must find out what sets you apart from the pack, and discover why people would need your content.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the October 19 print edition. Email Tegan Joseph Mosugu at [email protected]

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