Deborah Norville, who’s anchored “Inside Edition” since 1995, knows a thing or two about why the veteran newsmagazine still resonates in Season 35 — and why it’s outlasted most of its competition.
“We’re familiar, we’re comfortable and [we’re] comforting at the same time,” Norville told The Post. “I think it’s really important for … our audience, who has come to rely on us for three-and-a-half decades.”
For the week ending Oct. 2, “Inside Edition” was, once again, the country’s top-rated syndicated newsmagazine with 3.5 million daily viewers. It tallies approximately 370 million video views — per month — and has over 11 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 19.3 billion lifetime views.
Norville, 64, spoke to The Post about the show’s trailblazing impact.
Why has “Inside Edition” survived in such a brutal syndication landscape?
The reality is [that] they say familiarity breeds contempt, but I believe in television that it breeds loyalty. We really saw that during COVID when all of our worlds were turned upside down. “Inside Edition,” funnily enough, proved to be TV comfort food for our audience. I think we were the only show of our kind that didn’t go into repeats or run an evergreen show. The first day they shut us down [in March 2020] we [shot the show] for the next two days from my kitchen. You could see my stove in background. I figured out a way to put the backdrop of our studio on the biggest TV we had in house and to stand on a pile of books so it looked like the over-the-shoulder shot [on the set]. So we looked the same. Particularly during COVID, we took a page from Mr. Rogers’ mother [Nancy] who said “Look for the helpers,” and we made sure we told stories about people who were persevering, being kind … that little bit of “I don’t know if my job is going to continue to exist” juxtaposed against, “Wow, isn’t it wonderful knowing there are people like that in this world” really helped our audience get through everything.
How has the show adapted to social media?
It’s really interesting. “Inside Edition,” as a brand was kind of late [to social media]. We didn’t have a Website for the longest time — I had a Website before “Inside Edition” did — but once we embraced digital … 19 billion YouTube views? I don’t even know how many zeroes that is. It’s crazy. We’re the number-one news and information destination on YouTube — more than NBC News or CNN — and I think that speaks to the same thing that’s kept “Inside Edition” the number-one newsmagazine in syndication. We know that people watching “Inside Edition” have, most likely, seen the news, so we know they know what’s going on. But they also come to us because we’re going to do what we call the “‘Inside Edition’ Twist” … we don’t insult your intelligence by repeating what you’ve already heard four times; we assume you know it and then we tell you something else you might not have seen — and if you did see it you probably didn’t see it the way we tell it because we’re kinda funky that way.
It always surprises me how, despite its impact, “Inside Edition” has moved around to so many different timeslots in the New York market.
Oh my god. We’re like a nomad. There was a time we were briefly on Ch. 2 [in New York] at 4 or 4:30 in afternoon, a really good timeslot leading up to local news. We were there for five weeks. Then they got “Judge Judy.” I think those days are behind us, but if they’re not, the wonderful thing is our viewers will look for us. We were briefly in no-man’s land in St. Louis … we were on at 3 a.m. Why even bother? People should be asleep at 3 o’clock in the morning. Now we’re back on there at 3 p.m. and I have been hearing from viewers who e-mail me, “We’re so glad your’ back, it’s nice to see you on during daylight hours.” That’s the highest compliment: someone who enjoys your program so much that if you disappear they let you know they’re unhappy — and when you come back they let you know that they’re thrilled.
“Inside Edition” airs weekdays at 7 p.m. on WCBS/Ch. 2.