May 30, 2014 2:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Arsenio Hall Show' Canceled; CBS TV Distribution Backpedals on Second Season
The Arsenio Hall Show will not continue on for its second season.
Despite renewing the late-night syndicated show for a sophomore run in February, CBS Television Distribution has instead opted to cancel the series.
“Unfortunately, The Arsenio Hall Show will not return for a second season; while there are many loyal fans of the show, the series did not grow its audience enough to continue," CBSTVD said in a statement Friday. "Arsenio is a tremendous talent and we’d like to thank him for all the hard work and energy he put into the show. We’d also like to thank Tribune and all our station group partners for their support of the show.”
Added Hall: "When I started this adventure with CTD and Tribune, we all knew it would be a challenge -- I’m gratified for the year we’ve had and proud of the show we created. I’d like to thank everyone on my staff for rallying around me and striving to make the best show possible every night."
The decision to backpedal on a renewal comes as station groups Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Co. and LIN Television all downgraded the series from its respective time slots. CBSTVD originally announced a second-season pickup in February, citing that the series is the youngest-skewing late-night talk show and that Hall was "reaching a new generation."
Hall's second time as the host of a syndicated talk show launched in September and was anchored on 17 stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting -- a partner in the production of the show -- including markets in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The series had aired in most markets starting at 11 p.m., going head-to-head with local news and off-network syndicated shows. The second half-hour of Hall's show faced stiff competition from the likes of the newly reinvigorated Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live and CBS' Late Show With David Letterman.
Despite premiering to optimistic numbers, 1.5 rating with households (and, more importantly, a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49), the ratings took a dive. The talker dropped 60 percent in the key demo within its first several months. There were bright spots along the way. A visit from prince Prince saw ratings surge 56 percent in March, tying even ABC's Jimmy Kimmel that night, but the pressure cooker of the Jimmy Fallon era late night was ultimately too much. Arsenio was further walloped in the ratings when David Letterman's April 3 announcement of his retirement drove up attention on CBS.
The Arsenio Hall Show joins fellow late-night talker The Pete Holmes Show in the canceled heap, with TBS axing the latter after two seasons. For her part, Chelsea Handler will also end her E! late-night show in August.