Home Television CBS’s New Drew Barrymore Talk Show Threatens Midday Soaps “Young and Restless,”...

Drew Barrymore may not seem so cute in the fall to her movie fans.

CBS Television has announced it’s picking up her hour long talk show for their afternoon schedule. This means, something has to go.

Right now, CBS programs the hours between 10am and 3pm in New York, and 10 to 2pm in Los Angeles. Right now, the CBS Daytime lineup is solidly booked, from Judge Judy’s “Hot Bench” program in the morning through to her own show in the afternoon. In between, CBS has the game shows “Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal,” plus “The Talk” and “Dr. Phil.” In Los Angeles, they also have “Funny You Should Ask,” which they don’t produce but have renewed for the fall.

CBS should learn the lesson ABC accepted when it canceled “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to make way for Katie Couric’s talk show several years ago. That ended in tears. The soap fans did not migrate to Katie, and the show was cancelled. Barrymore, who is not a particularly intuitive person when dealing with others, may not grasp the ire of those fans. But they will retaliate.

Still, “Drew” has to go somewhere on the schedule. It doesn’t help that the ratings for “The Young and the Restless” have fallen by a million viewers in two years. This past spring and summer have been brutal, although there does seem to be a little comeback happening now. Soap fans had better start a campaign to save their shows now, before things get any more dire.

And the question is, Do we need another talk show? Like another bank on the corner, talk shows are empty vessels. “Ellen” is fine, and “Live with Kelly and Ryan” has its place. But beyond that, they are all, mercilessly, the same, without much substance. And will Barrymore really want to stick it out for five years or more if her ratings aren’t anemic? The network risks losing a generation of viewers by making a sudden move.

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