Will a New Talk Show for Ricki Lake Fill the Oprah Void?

In the nineties, Ricki Lake was like the Gen X equivalent of Oprah. On her sensationalized talk show, Ricki Lake (which featured topics like: "Think he's cheating? Let's break out a lie detector!"), she mostly catered to her 20-something peers.

Of course, that was back when Lake and her generation were 20-something. These days, she's 42, and she's jonesing for another daytime chat fest. But this time she hopes to be the next… well, just plain Oprah. In other words, she most likely wants a show on issues that affect older women and mothers.

While she hasn't yet found a home for her new show, her chances look good. (She's met with several production companies.) Her timing is canny, since most networks are hoping to fill the void left by the actual Oprah. Katie Couric, too, is said to be pursuing a daytime talk show when her CBS contract ends this June.

Can either of these women command Winfrey's sort of ratings power? Probably not. But Winfrey has created a vast audience of talk show fans, and they'll want to go somewhere. Whether it's Lake or Couric or Ellen DeGeneres or someone else, the next day time star is ripe for the picking.

Lake has as good a chance as anyone. That is, as long as she keeps the lie detectors to a mininum.

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