Why TalkTV will get people talking – and what it means for PR
The clue is in the name. TalkTV is a televised offshoot of TalkRADIO, which has been broadcasting since 1995, and its mission is to get people talking.
It was already succeeding before its first show began, thanks, in large part, to the Rupert Murdoch-media apparatus it already has installed around it (Murdoch bought TalkRADIO in 2016).
To get people chatting, TalkTV has hired celebrities to front its shows who create controversy. Some go looking for it, to others it comes naturally. Either way, it ensures publicity, good or bad.
Two divisive figures, Piers Morgan and Donald Trump, helped launch the channel last night. Famous faces including Jeremy Kyle and Sharon Osborne will grace the its initial output. They join others in an ensemble cast drawn together for their talent as walking talking points.
Morgan has taken headline billing. Reviled and enjoyed in varying measures, he is a big signing for the nascent channel. You don’t have to warm to him to know he has a command of how the mechanics of PR and the media grind together to power the engine of publicity.
His PR is not flawless, but he won over plenty of one-time haters during the pandemic by refusing to kowtow to amateurish attempts by MPs to swerve crucial questions over the impact of COVID-19 – a daily performance that had viewers cheering him on through a mouthful of Frosties. Some of his savagings were brutal. In the process he propelled GMB to the number one breakfast TV show in the UK (the day before he walked off the show in a huff after a row with the weatherman over Meghan Markle).
So, what to expect from TalkTV? If the launch of its closest competition, GBNews, is anything to go by, the big talking points will not be about its content, but the programming and production. GBNews had a big hitter of its own in Andrew Neil, last seen wandering away shaking his head.
TalkTV launched last night and Murdoch, 91, who is probably enjoying one last roll of the media dice, has demonstrably not allowed money to stand in the way of the channel’s image. The opening shows had solid production values – compared to GBNews it looked lavish.
Certainly Murdoch’s media empire has been trailing the launch with front-page splashes a PR would kill for. The front page of The Sun this week carried ‘news’ of Trump’s thoughts on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex directly lifted from the launch interview before it aired, like an internal news cycle going in reverse.
BREAKING: In new bombshell from my interview, President Donald Trump calls for the Queen to strip Prince Harry & wife Meghan of all royal titles.
Calls Harry ‘embarrassing’, ‘disrespectful’ & ‘the most whipped man in the world.’ pic.twitter.com/nAsSwXA6Qp
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 24, 2022
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