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The Ricki Lake daytime talk show, which started with promise, has been canceled after one season.
Lake, who made her return to talk television after a nine-year absence, never was able to attract enough of the adult female audience she was targeted to serve. When Twentieth Television announced plans for Ricki, it described Lake as “America’s girlfriend.”
“Ricki is not an expert,” said the launch announcement last summer. “She’s not a doctor, therapist or a super homemaker — she’s a working mom trying to figure life out and inviting her audience along for the ride.”
Season to date, Ricki had a 0.7 household rating and a 0.5 rating in the key demographic group of women 25- 54. In metered markets, she was averaging a 2 percent share of the viewing audience.
Compared with shows that were in the same time periods a year ago, her numbers were down 30 percent. Over the past two weeks, Ricki also was down an average of 42 percent compared with her lead-in show.
Lake, whose first show ran from 1993 until 2004, had pegged her promotion around social media and started months before the premiere by recruiting “Friends of Ricki” online and for meetings in various cities. The approach, while it seemed promising, never produced the intended support.
In her first go-round, Lake had aimed at a younger female audience and later turned toward more conflict talk. For the new show, she sought topics that appealed to her core audience and hopefully inspired them.
Lake’s program was one of five talk shows that premiered in September. Of that group Katie, starring Katie Couric, and Steve Harvey‘s eponymous show have done best; both are renewed for at least one more year. Tricia Goddard‘s Tricia also is likely to stick around, while The Jeff Probst Show, despite being contracted for another season, remains a question mark because it too has suffered low ratings.
CBS Television Distribution, which produces and distributes Probst, has not commented on rumors it might be pulled, except to say it will fulfill its commitment to produce another full season of the show.
Playing mostly in the afternoon, Lake’s show was anchored on the Tribune TV stations in major markets including New York, Dallas, Denver and Cleveland.
Her show was on Fox stations in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston. It also was on stations owned by Sinclair, Post Newsweek, Granite, Citadel and Sun Broadcasting.
In a statement announcing the cancellation, Stephen Brown, Twentieth Television’s executive vp programming and development, said: “We would like to thank Ricki Lake as well as executive producer Gail Steinberg and the entire staff for their work this season. While we are proud of the topics the program tackled including childhood obesity, life after the military, divorce and addiction, we were simply not able to breakthrough the crowded talk show marketplace.”
Lake said in her statement: “I am so proud of the shows we completed this season, sparking important conversations about everything from raising children to mental illness to suicide prevention to coming out. I will continue to be an active and passionate voice for subjects that are close to my heart through a variety of platforms — and a return to my documentary filmmaking work with Abby Epstein. I am excited to create meaningful and provocative films similar to our 2007 project, The Business of Being Born.”
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