The New York Post is hoping to bring its marquee gossip column, Page Six, to the small screen, WWD has learned.
The Post declined to comment.
According to sources, The Post has filmed a sizzle reel and is currently shopping the project around to different networks. Although the development of the show has been qualified as in “early” stages, insiders told WWD not to expect a newsroom-centric product about how the column is put together. In fact, while the show would be “influenced” by the Page Six brand, it would not necessarily feature the reporters who pen the gossip column. While this doesn’t preclude any involvement from the team, The Post has called in several known celebrity and entertainment journalists from outside the company to take part in the filming of the reel.
With a plethora of Hollywood-centric talk shows already on the market, what would a Page Six look like? “It’s decisively not like TMZ,” an insider put it, describing the show as more “high concept.”
What that means wasn’t exactly clear, but the program would likely include a panel with a lead host, and would provide insight on the gossip of the day—and in some cases advance the conversation already started by Page Six, the column. One insider pointed to daytime shows by hosts Wendy Williams and Meredith Vieira as examples of how the panel model has been advanced and made to be more “fun” and “inclusive.”
Either way, the move to bring Page Six to TV has more to do with the need for traditional publishers to expand beyond print. That fact isn’t lost on The Post, whose parent company News Corp. was spun off from the company’s more lucrative television and entertainment properties, which are now part of 21st Century Fox.
The split left News Corp. charged with pressured publishing assets, such as The Post and sister publications The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones, not to mention a need to catch up to rivals to become more digitally nimble. For the fiscal year ended June 30, News Corp. said its news and information services division, which includes The Post, saw revenues decline $578 million, or 9 percent, to $6.15 billion. Total revenues slid 4 percent to $8.57 billion, due to a 10 percent, or $409 million, drop in advertising revenues in the news and Information division, to $3.53 billion. News Corp. will report first-quarter earnings on Thursday.
The Post, which has long been rumored to lose several million dollars a year, is in the process of trying to capture new streams of revenue in the face of declines in print circulation. In the second quarter of the year, print circulation for The Post during the week totaled 248,458. Just two years earlier, print circulation hovered near 300,000.
On the digital front, News Corp. unveiled plans to grab digital dollars through branded content, viral videos and native advertising this spring with original shows for The Post derived from its Real Estate and Business sections, among others.