While the new talk show from NBCUniversal shares a studio and producer with the syndicator’s Maury, host Trisha Goddard describes her program as a conflict-resolution show that will try to help guests overcome problems or provide resources so they can do it on their own. She brings a well-traveled background as a journalist and mental health advocate to the talk show fray beginning in September.
Trisha may sound like it will be the next Maury. The upcoming NBCUniversal talk show will tape on the same Connecticut set as the veteran conflict talk show; Maury producer Paul Faulhaber will be behind the scenes; and Maury guest host Trisha Goddard will be out front.
But Faulhaber and Goddard say Trisha will have fewer episodes featuring the DNA tests and lie detector results that are the hallmark of Maury. Instead, it will focus more on topics that tap into Goddard’s background as a TV news anchor, health care activist, mother and breast cancer survivor.
“Everything we’re doing lends itself to Trisha’s mass appeal,” Faulhaber says. “She’s an everyday person. She has endured everything that life can throw at you and she has come out on top. She can relate to just about every person out there.”
Goddard describes Trisha as a conflict-resolution show, as opposed to a conflict talk show. She says she’ll help guests overcome problems or provide resources so they can do it on their own.
“The difference with my shows has always been that, given my journalistic background covering health and social welfare, there’s a beginning, middle and end,” says Goddard, who launched her career in the 1980s as a news anchor in Australia and since the late 1990s has hosted talk shows in the U.K.
“I’m working toward a conclusion. I’m helping people work through their issues. I don’t mess around. I’m not into hurting people. But I hold up a mirror to them so they take responsibility for their actions.”
Trisha will premiere on Sept. 17. It has been cleared on stations reaching more than 85% of U.S. TV homes. Among those stations are Fox duopoly KTTV-KCOP Los Angeles and Weigel’s independent WCIU Chicago. Other groups that have picked up the show include Belo, Capitol, CBS, Cox, Hearst, LIN, Sunbeam and Sinclair.
“Her experience subbing for Maury proved that there’s a level of experience and talent there that has to be appreciated,” says Bill Butler, VP of programming and promotion at Sinclair. “NBC did a great job pulling out the ratings for those appearances. So, her experience and seeing real ratings was motivation for us to pick up the show.”
Goddard brings a lot to the show. She’s is also an author and cross-country runner with a world view. North America is the fourth continent she has called home. Europe, Australia and Africa are the others.
She may be as well known around the world as a mental health advocate as she is as a talk show host.
“Each host’s life experiences feed into their show,” she says. “I’ve been through a few things: marriage, divorce and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four years later, I am still doing well. I have lived in many places and I speak a number of languages. It’s the same with every talk show host. Their life impacts their show. I’m no different.”
In Australia, she was that country’s first black TV anchor. She worked there for more than a decade. Today, she retains a habit picked up during that time. She reads five British newspapers every morning, plus the New York Times and Sydney Morning Herald online.
“I’m always looking for stories, surveys and psychological profiles of people,” she says. “That gives me ideas. I want all of the people working on my show to be looking for the idea of the moment.”
Faulhaber says that Trisha, unlike conflict shows, may occasionally have celebrity guests to discuss newsworthy topics, not to plug a movie. And he says Goddard may also tap into her investigative skills.
“If there’s a news story that fits into the brand of the show, she’ll go knock on some doors,” he says. “She has that reporter instinct. She’s very inquisitive and asks great questions. And what’s great about her, when people tell her something, she knows how to key in on the root of their problem.”
Still, he concedes, Trisha won’t be a 180-degree shift from Maury, where many episodes have host Maury Povich revealing DNA results to fathers in denial. And with good reason. So far this season, Maury is tied with Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz and Warner Bros.’ Ellen at No. 2 among women 25-54 with a 1.6 rating.
Like Maury and NBCU’s other daytime talk shows, Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos, Trisha will tape at the Stamford Media Center in Connecticut. Each week, Trisha and Maury will each tape five episodes over two days in the same studio.
In the few months until Trisha premieres, there’s a lot of work for Goddard, Faulhaber and NBCUniversal to do. Faulhaber and his team are now designing the show’s set and logo. And the entire team is going to be focusing on building Goddard’s name recognition in the U.S.
To that end, TV stations will repeat some of the Maury episodes that Goddard hosted. On four of those five episodes, Maury’s rating increased over its average in all key demographic groups.
“This summer, we will deliver a robust promotional campaign to our stations,” says Donna Mills, SVP of marketing at NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution. “We are working with them to help promote the show and introduce her brand of talk to audiences around the country.”
That will likely include Goddard heading out to affiliates to promote the show.
“That’s a part of the business that I’m looking forward to,” she says. “I like to get a good feel for the markets. Anywhere in the world, it changes from city to city. It will be nice to concentrate on feedback from the stations and the people on the ground. That’s what makes a show.”