New Conflict Talk Show 'The Test' Launches This Fall

Alex Ben Block
The Hollywood Reporter
New Conflict Talk Show 'The Test' Launches This Fall

Make room Jerry, Maury and Steve, the 17 Tribune Broadcasting stations are adding yet another conflict-resolution talk show.

The Test, hosted by actor-comedian Kirk Fox (Parks and Recreation), has been acquired by Tribune, which is partnering on the production with the distributor, CBS Television Distribution, according to an announcement Wednesday by CTD president of sales Joe DiSalvo.

Tribune already is known for its block of conflict talk, but there is room for more. “The Test fills a growing niche in daytime television that the audience is really responding to,” said DiSalvo. “This strip is a great fit for stations looking to expand on their confrontational talk-show blocks.”

Added Sean Compton, president of programming and entertainment at Tribune Broadcasting, “The Test will be a strong complement to the successful original daytime programs currently airing on Tribune stations.”

It already is cleared to reach homes in 56 percent of the U.S. (including seven of the top 10 markets) and will launch in the fall. That includes the Tribune stations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as well as 14 others. It also has been sold to the Sinclair group’s 29 stations and others.

The one-hour talk show will use lie detector and DNA tests to settle relationship and paternity disputes among the guests, according to the announcement.

The five-day-a-week syndicated strip is being produced by Stage 29 Productions, which is headed by Jay McGraw, son of Dr. Phil star Phil McGraw, who also is executive producer of the daytime medical series The Doctors.

"The Test is a fresh take on a proven genre that has been working in daytime for years,” said McGraw. “Kirk’s background as an actor and comedian will bring a unique perspective to the myriad relationship problems and disputes guest will bring to the show.”

Separately on Wednesday, Warner Bros.' Telepictures announced that a very different kind of talk show, Bethenny, hosted by Bethenny Frankel, has been cleared in more than 97 percent of the country, including the Fox stations.

The Fox-owned stations will serve as the launch partner for the show, with its stations representing 37 percent of the country, with 60 percent of the clearance being on traditional affiliates of ABC, CBS and NBC from stations groups representing NBC, Hearst, Gannett, Sinclair, Cox, Lin, Raycom, Post-Newsweek, Media General, Allbritton, Gray, Northwest and Journal, among many others.  The announcement was made today by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution president Ken Werner and exec vp and GM Rick Meril.