Can Anderson Cooper help fill the daytime talk void that will emerge when Oprah ends her show in 2011?
He sure hopes so.
The CNN anchor will host a syndicated, one-hour daytime talk show that will be distributed by Warner Brothers Domestic Television Distribution.
His daytime deal will allow him to continue to anchor "Anderson Cooper 360" on CNN.
UPDATE (10:16 A.M.) – In conjunction with the announcement of Cooper's daytime deal, CNN announced that it had signed a new deal with the star anchor. A representative for the network would not discuss the length of Cooper's contract beyond saying that it was a "multi-year deal."
CNN insiders told TheWrap that Cooper was unhappy at CNN in recent months. An individual with knowledge of the situation said his new CNN deal was negotiated in conjunction with the daytime talks. CNN had an exclusive contract with Cooper that was due to expire in 2011. It's likely that Cooper felt his lot with CNN was improved once he was allowed to expand his presence to daytime.
Cooper's new show will "cover social issues, trends and events, pop culture and celebrity, human interest stories and populist news," according to the announcement Thursday by Warner Brothers Domestic Television Distribution's president, Ken Werner.
"There is a great opportunity in the marketplace for this type of show … Fall '11 begins a transition period when long established franchises are leaving the air and making way for a new generation of shows. Anderson Cooper is one of the most distinctive voices of the next generation of television. His popularity and skills uniquely position him to be the next big syndication franchise," Werner said.
Werner suggested that Cooper could be the heir to Oprah's talk throne.
"It's fun and interesting to work in daytime television," Cooper said. "The format is unique and you can really go in-depth on a wide range of fascinating and compelling stories."
Cooper will serve as an executive producer on the show. Telepictures Productions will produce in association with StrongChild Productions.
An individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap in June that Cooper had previously attempted to negotiate a daytime deal with Buena Vista. Several CNN insiders also told TheWrap that Cooper is unhappy at the cable network and had considered leaving the network when his contract expires in June.
CNN has suffered from low ratings and high turnover in recent months. Longtime host Larry King announced his departure from the network in June amid an adultery scandal. CNN's president, Jon Klein, also made an exit from the network Sept. 24.
Like many of his CNN colleagues, Cooper has struggled in the ratings department in the past few years. The network's new president, Ken Jautz — who's made a name for himself with the controversial, partisan chat-fests on CNN's sister channel, Headline News — is expected to try to boost CNN's flagging ratings with more opinionated content. Cooper would provide a nice dose of gravitas if Jautz decides to move in a less newsy direction.