3:21pm PT by Alex Ben Block
'The Jeff Probst Show' Canceled by CBS Television Distribution
There won't be a second season of The Jeff Probst Show. CBS Television Distribution said Wednesday that it has canceled the syndicated freshman talk show hosted by the Survivor veteran.
Jeff Probst’s daytime talker will not return even though it has a two-year deal for distribution on syndicated television. A victim of low ratings and an inability to stand out among so many shows, the series will finish its current run before leaving the schedule in the summer.
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“We believe Jeff is an incredible talent and that he and his dedicated producing team delivered quality episodes throughout the season,” said CTD in a statement. “Unfortunately, the audience isn’t there to support a second year. We are grateful to the entire staff, our affiliate partners and advertisers for their ongoing support of The Jeff Probst Show. Production and broadcast of original episodes will continue through the current season.”
Said Probst: “I'm super bummed but extremely proud. The truth is all shows come to an end -- ours just ended a decade sooner than we had hoped.”
CBS, according to a source, let NBC and other station groups know they would not be held to the two-year contract for Probst, shackling them with such a low rated show -- the second freshman talker to be canceled this month. Twentieth Television pulled the plug on The Ricki Lake Show on Feb. 4.
The cancelation announcement comes on the same day that Survivor returns on CBS, for its 26th incarnation with Probst as host and an exec producer. Survivor: Caramoan will feature 10 fans of the show competing with former contestants. When CBS renewed Probst's Survivor contract, it agreed to work out a schedule that would allow him to do both shows -- but that conflict has ended.
Probst provided the lead in for Steve Harvey in many markets, a show that started around the same time and has done considerably better. In the latest national ratings, Harvey had a 1.6 household rating, which translates into about 2.2 million viewers a day.
Probst was one of four major talk shows that premiered last September, an unusually large number for current market conditions. Besides Ricki Lake, who was canceled last week, there was Disney/ABC’s Katie, starring Katie Couric, which will return for a second season. In the latest syndicated ratings, Katie had a 2.0 household rating and was averaging 2.6 million viewers a day.
From his premiere week last September, when he drew an average household rating of .7 (less than a third of what Dr. Phil attracts) Probst was fighting an uphill battle. His formula of bringing on real people and an occasional celebrity just didn’t find a following.
In mid-January, former Facts Of Life star Lisa Welchel was added as Probst’s co-host, but it the ratings never got better after the show stumbled out of the gate. Probst, while working for CBS, was anchored on NBC stations in the nation’s largest markets, mostly at 2 pm. That pitted him against tough competition including Katie, The Doctors, Wendy Williams, Steve Wilkos and Dr. Oz in some markets, among others.
Outside of the NBC stations, his show was carried by station groups including Gannett, Post Newsweek, Belo, Cox and Lin, often in time periods that used to carry Oprah before she left syndication two seasons ago. Probst never came close to being her replacement.