The new owner of People magazine plans to adapt the entertainment and human interest magazine into a daily TV series set to launch in the fall on the company’s TV stations.
Meredith Corp., which acquired People through its Time Inc. purchase in early 2018, has tapped “Access Hollywood” veteran Rob Silverstein to lead the half-hour strip as executive producer and showrunner. The series will be “People-branded” but the formal title has not been unveiled. It will originate from New York and air initially on the Big Three network affiliates that Meredith owns in 12 mid-sized heartland markets.
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Silverstein told Variety the series would mirror the venerable magazine that mixes celebrity and entertainment coverage with human interest and lifestyle stories. The breadth of People magazine’s coverage of pop culture, news and trends gives a TV series plenty to material to assemble a daily program.
“The magazine is so well respected for what they do now. We’re going to transfer that into the television space,” Silverstein said.
Silverstein and his team will work closely with People magazine editor Dan Wakeford on developing content and adapting People’s signature editorial franchises for TV.
“We look forward to working with a seasoned television producer with decades of experience covering the biggest stars in the world,” Wakeford said.
Meredith is banking on an expansion of People and other such TV and digital initiatives to help drive earnings growth to justify its $1.3 billion acquisition of Time Inc., first inked in November 2017. The Des Moines, Iowa-based magazine publisher and TV station owner wound up selling some of the venerable magazine group’s most prominent titles — Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money — but kept People, the glossy weekly that has long ranked among the top five most-read magazines in the U.S.
Meredith owns 17 TV stations in 12 markets, including Atlanta (CBS’ WGCL), Phoenix (CBS’ KPHO), St. Louis (CBS’ KMOV), Portland, Ore. (Fox’s KPTV), Nashville (NBC’s WSMV), Kansas City (CBS’ KCTV) and Las Vegas (KVVU). The company plans to launch the show in the fall on its in-house outlets before mounting a push for a national rollout. Meredith’s outlet offer a good cross-section of markets to experiment with ideas and formats. But a national series is definitely the goal.
“This is not something I would take on if I didn’t think we could blanket the country,” Silverstein said. “It’s exciting to start something from scratch.”
Silverstein sees an opening in the daily syndicated newsmagazine market for a show with a broader palette than the entertainment-focused stalwarts “Entertainment Tonight” and “Access.” Silverstein exited “Access Hollywood” after 20 years, most of them as executive producer.
“We are thrilled to have someone with Rob’s breadth of experience in this new venture into syndicated programming,” said Gary Brown, senior VP of content for Meredith Local Media Group.
People, which debuted in 1974, over the years has been featured on TV for specials and the Investigation Discovery series “People Magazine Investigates.” But the daily TV show would mark its most expansive regular TV series production to date.
(Pictured: Rob Silverstein)