The new conflict talk show hosted by comedian Kirk Fox from CBS Television Distribution and Tribune will debut Sept. 9 on stations covering almost 100% of U.S. TV homes. Tribune’s Sean Compton: “It focuses on a divide between people and we use science to find out the truth.”
Conflict talk show The Test takes its inspiration from shows like NBCUniversal’s Maury where DNA and lie-detector results have propped up ratings the past few years. But the look and feel of The Test, from CBS Television Distribution and Tribune Broadcasting, have been freshened up with a brighter set and a comedian, Kirk Fox, who mostly plays it straight, as host.
“This show will fit right in with shows people are accustomed to watching on Tribune stations,” says Executive Producer Jay McGraw. “It’s fun, entertaining and it has a lot of conflict. But it looks like a conflict-talk show that doesn’t come from a company that only does conflict. We have brought to this some of the storytelling and set design that we are used to.”
The Test, which debuts on Sept. 9, is produced by McGraw’s Stage 29 Productions, which also produces CBS Television Distribution’s The Doctors.
Longtime Dr. Phil producer Carla Pennington is an executive producer on the show. And earlier this year, Patricia Ciano was brought on as an executive producer. She previously held the same position on Debmar-Mercury’s Jeremy Kyle and Warner Bros.’ Judge Jeanine Pirro.
“She is the showrunner,” McGraw says. “She has done a lot of this genre and has done a lot of television, in general. She has been great at giving Kirk direction without being intrusive. And, now that we’re further along, I can see she’s great in the edit bay. She puts together a great story.”
The show has been taping episodes for much of the summer.
“We are not finished taping, but we have a lot of shows ready,” McGraw says. “The great thing about starting early is that we can put together a great schedule because we have a lot of options.”
The Test has been cleared in nearly 100% of TV homes, thanks in large part to 17 of launch group Tribune’s stations, including WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles and WGN Chicago.
“The Test has a consistent theme with Maury, Jerry Springer, Steve Wilkos and what we’ve accomplished with Bill Cunningham,” say Sean Compton, president of programming and entertainment at Tribune. “The show is not a huge departure. What it does is it focuses on a divide between people and we use science to find out the truth.”
Other station groups carrying the show include Sinclair, CBS, Gannett and LIN.
“We are close to the premiere, so Kirk is ramping up the promotion side of this,” McGraw says, noting that he just appeared on KTLA’s morning show. “He’s heading to New York, Chicago and he’s doing a lot by satellite. We are doing everything possible to get the word out because we are really proud of this show.”