Who’s your new Oprah?

September 16, 2011

Where some see a crisis, others see opportunity: “The Oprah Winfrey Show” is no more, which leaves millions of dollars in syndication success up for grabs on the daytime TV grid. But Oprah taught you not to care about all that. You care about you. You care about how to constructively pass the working hours by watching television. It’s an existential crisis for us all, because sooner or later, everyone gets the flu (or needs some “me” time) and stays on the couch all day.

So, who is your new Oprah?

Could it be Anderson? Dr. Drew? Rosie? (The Chew?) Can we be soothed by someone already on we’d previously ignored — such as Dr. Oz, who so far has acquired most of Oprah’s former time slots in most markets? Rachael Ray? Ellen? “The View”? “The Talk”? (Are they even still talking?) Wait to see who replaces Regis Philbin as Kelly Ripa’s co-host? Wait for Katie Couric to get her daytime ship launched?

Oprah, see what you have done? For now, let’s try to keep it simple and our worries in check. Here’s a breakdown (with pros and cons) to the fall’s new daytimers.

Anderson

premiered Sept. 12; airs weekdays at 4 p.m. on WJLA

America’s secret boyfriend tries his hand at empathetic understanding and lifestyle fun. He’ll also be juggling his nightly CNN job and his “60 Minutes” gig. In a news conference this summer, he seemed to think it would be possible to do a light daytime show from a war zone, if the opportunity was right. Could easily turn into an endless loop of “I Don’t Know How She Does It.”

Pros: Cooper’s cut-ups with Kelly Ripa on “Live With Regis and Kelly” have been hilarious and fun; he knows how to ask hard questions Ellen DeGeneres would never ask; he seems genuinely curious about the world; he loves reality TV.

Cons: He’s a reluctant sharer of personal details, and his awkwardness can sometimes be as much of a segment-killer as it can be cute. Though Cooper is worldly, he struggles with seeming casual enough to actually live in it.

Is Anderson your new Oprah? He’s got a long way to go.

Rating: 1 1 / 2 Oprahs

The Chew

premieres Sept. 26; airs weekdays at 1 p.m. on WJLA

The most innovative of the new daytime entrants, “The Chew” will ostensibly be about food and entertaining but reserves the right to be about everything else. “Chew”-ers (pictured, from left) are “What Not to Wear’s” Clinton Kelly; “Dorm Room Diet” author Daphne Oz; superchef Mario Batali; restaurateur/chef Michael Symon; and “Top Chef” (and Silver Spring-based caterer) Carla Hall.

Pros: Food gets people talking.

Cons: Food is a touchy issue for a lot of daytime watchers.

Rating: 2 1 / 2 Oprahs

The Rosie Show

premieres Oct. 10; airs weekdays at 7 p.m. on OWN

Unlike her competitors, Rosie O’Donnell arrives with Oprah’s blessing, on Oprah’s network. The weird news is that it’s on at 7 p.m., which is a paradigm shift that afternoon viewers may not be ready to make.

Pros: Love her or hate her, Rosie is always interesting and upfront; she’s already had a big daytime show that millions watch faithfully; as opposed to other hosts (ahem, Anderson) we know lots and lots about Rosie’s everyday life at home, so sharing won’t ever be a problem.

Cons: OWN. Is anyone watching it?

Is Rosie your new Oprah? Only because Oprah seems to be saying so.

Rating: 3 Oprahs

Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers

premieres Sept. 19; airs weekdays at 3 p.m. on WDCW

Another overworked TV personality (who also continues to practice medicine), Drew Pinsky has listened to people’s most personal problems for over two decades on sex-advice shows and on VH1’s addictive “Celebrity Rehab” sagas. If he was a bogus care-giver, it seems we would have discovered that by now. This new show “provides a simple map for turning your life around.” There are limitless issues to address.

Pros: Dr. Drew seems to want only what’s best for you.

Cons: What happens once he’s turned your life around? You have to keep watching?

Is Dr. Drew your new Oprah? With so many joining the ranks of the uninsured, he’s also going to have to be your primary-care provider.

Rating: 3 1 / 2 Oprahs

Hank Stuever has been The Post's TV critic since 2009. He joined the paper in 1999 as a writer for the Style section, where he has covered an array of popular (and unpopular) culture across the nation.
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