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America’s girlfriend is back after eight years and ready to embrace the digital revolution

‘Amer­i­ca’s girl­friend’ Ric­ki Lake is back, and this time she’s tak­ing her chat show online as well as on TV. The new show will air from Sep­tem­ber 10.

The show has alre­day been picked up by Tri­bune sta­tions in New York, Dal­las, Den­ver and Cleve­land, while Fox sta­tions have agreed to car­ry the show in Los Ange­les, Chica­go and Boston. The show has also been sold to sta­tions owned by Sin­clair, Post Newsweek, Gran­ite, Fish­er, titan, Sun Broad­cast­ing, Quin­cy, new Vision, Jour­nal, Citadel and Gray.

The last time we saw Ric­ki on TV was dur­ing Danc­ing with The Stars, now America’s favourite girl next door looks set to grace mon­i­tors every­where with a new chat show which is using its own social net­work ‘Friends of Ric­ki’, to get fans talk­ing and gen­er­ate material.

Could this mean there are some shiny new jobs in the off­ing for any­one who might be inter­est­ed in a posi­tion on the new and improved Ric­ki Lake Show? With over 75,000 ‘lik­ers’ on its Face­book page, it cer­tain­ly seems like peo­ple want to get involved and with num­bers like that there’s no won­der syn­di­ca­tion has proved so pop­u­lar, a fact which will undoubt­ed­ly be pleas­ing the pro­duc­tion team’s accountants.

The Ric­ki Lake Show: Before

It’s been eight years since Ric­ki Lake last appeared on US TV screens in her favourite role as chat show queen. Since then she’s been divorced, mar­ried again and is now the moth­er of two school-age chil­dren. As she says her­self, she has the life expe­ri­ence, she has the bat­tle scars to prove it and now she’s ready to enter the chat show cir­cuit once again.

The old show ran from 1993 to 2004 and con­cen­trat­ed on top­ics involv­ing invit­ed guests and ques­tions and input from audi­ence mem­bers. Of course these were the days before social media, before Google became the most pow­er­ful cre­ation in the known uni­verse and audi­ences could be cre­at­ed online before a show had even been aired.

The the­o­ry behind the net­work built to sup­port the new show is to keep audi­ences warm between ‘Ric­ki fix­es’. Stephen Brown, VP for pro­gram­ming and devel­op­ment at LA-based Twen­ti­eth tele­vi­sion explains.

“It’s incum­bent upon us as broad­cast­ers to reach out and try some­thing dif­fer­ent and try to engage our audi­ence in a dif­fer­ent way,” he said. “If we don’t, we will con­tin­ue to see a fail­ure and that’s not an option.”

Embrac­ing the dig­i­tal revolution

As part of the 2012 for­mat, the new Ric­ki Lake Show launched a month­ly online pro­duc­tion meet­ing via Face­book, where any inter­est­ed par­ty could get involved in the plan­ning stages and sug­gest ideas or give their thoughts on what’s being dis­cussed. The only fly in the oint­ment might be that of course, the net­works have no con­trol over the show’s social properties.

This is an inter­est­ing move and one that is sure to pique the inter­est of any­one who might want to get a foot in the door for a job in the media. The chat show is now not sim­ply a show, but a mul­ti-media phe­nom­e­non. Indeed, Twen­ti­eth have engaged the ser­vices of small com­pa­ny YouToo, which spe­cialis­es in devel­op­ing solu­tions that can help TV shows inter­act with their view­ers, for exam­ple  by allow­ing them to sub­mit con­tent or get noti­fied should some­thing they send in be select­ed for the program.

Lake and her pro­duc­tion team have also launched ‘Ric­ki’, a dig­i­tal mag­a­zine filled with par­ent­ing, rela­tion­ship, fit­ness and fash­ion advice that can be down­loaded via the App Store, iTunes and Google Play.

“One of the things that excites me most about my new show is that it’s tru­ly a social expe­ri­ence,” said Ms. Lake, to Adver­tis­ing Age. “This is the first time that view­ers will be able to inter­act with a show across all plat­forms in real-time, by upload­ing videos, vot­ing, com­ment­ing and shar­ing across their social net­works. Nev­er before have audi­ences been able to par­tic­i­pate in a show to this degree from their liv­ing rooms.”

Friends of Ric­ki can be accessed at the fol­low­ing sites:

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