Being off of work this week, I see the growing trend for 2011. Just as Oprah is leaving her talk-show after all these years, the "panel" talk-show is taking over the airwaves. Now this is nothing new - The View has been doing it for years and there was even a male version of that show that didn't quite take off, but there seems to be a boom of them now. The Talk has taken on CBS (with a different collection of female views.) Chelsea Handler does it to start her show, but only to have comics sitting around talking about current events. Bill Maher has done it for years on his show to discuss politics. (Even Oprah did it on her Friday live shows.) But now, even the 30 minute entertainment shows are giving us panels to talk over each other...I mean give their opinions. Chit-Chat took over Extra (to let us know they have an online version we can check out) and The Insider has different people sitting around a table to discuss a topic for about 15 seconds at a clip. (It's hard enough to let one person report during that time, try having five different opinions wanting to be heard.)
I do look for this to continue into the new year and I suppose Barbara Walters should feel honored to be copied, but I wonder if it's producers not wanting to take the chance on a single person or if the public is really calling for this. It seems to add to the overall attention span of our country. We need multiple stimulation and how better to get that on a talk show than by having people scream over each other to get their point of view across? I long for the day when Donahue could do an entire hour on his own and hold our attention. But in an era where many of us get our news in under 30 seconds from an online source, I suppose going from one loud voice to another to be contrary just for the sake of ratings is the sensory overload of 2011.