Stay up late with… Clarissa?








But you no longer can’t with Monique and soon, you won’t be able to with George Lopez, either.

(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 3, 2011. -T.H.)

Late-night has become a rather bizarre place lately – outside of the usual nuttiness of course – with an insomniac sheep running around, reruns of obscure kids series from the ’90’s earning high ratings on an obscure channel, and a program proven to survive anything (it is bizarre, but as not bizarre as Lenogate in early 2010.)

– On July 25, TeenNick (formerly known as The N and Nick GAS beforehand) launched an nostalgic late fringe block titled The ’90’s Are All That featuring – what else? Old Nickelodeon favorites that aired in the 1990’s, including Clarissa Explains It All, Kenan & Kel, All That and other series scored impressive ratings by improving its time period numbers on its first night – and even crushed competing fare on other basic cable networks. For example, reruns of Kenan & Kel and All That beat TBS’ Lopez Tonight by 60% in total viewers. in the 11-12 a.m. (CT) time slot, and beat newer, more expensive off-network sitcoms How I Met Your Mother and Old Christine on Lifetime by 20%. Among younger viewers (18-34), the ’90’s block improved the time period from previous programming in the time period, including off-network sitcoms Malcolm in the Middle and Undeclared. In addition, the classic Nick shows have been the top trends on Twitter in the U.S. in the late fringe hours.

– And the after effect of Teen Nick’s success may have determined the fate of two low-tier late-fringe cable talk shows: BET has announced it has canceled The Monique Show after nearly two years on the air. Hosted by Oscar-winning star Monique Hicks, the late-night series failed to gain ratings traction with viewers. The series’ final first-run episode airs on August 11. Monique is best known for her for her portyal as an abusive mother in the film Precious, but also starred in the UPN comedy The Parkers.

– And it looks like George Lopez may follow Monique out the door as well – a decision is due this month on the fate of  TBS’ Lopez Tonight, as it tries to get renewed for a third season. Premiering a month after The Monique Show, Lopez got off to a good start ratings-wise, but tailed off considerably and even more so after Conan O’Brien bumped him into the 11 p.m. (CT) time slot. And with reruns of 20-year old Nick shows beating Lopez, the future of the former sitcom’s star looks just as bright as Pat Sajak’s show did in late 1989 (translation: the axe is waiting to swing.)

– In life, there are two things that can survive a nuclear disaster: a Twinkie factory and Comics Unleashed. Despite low ratings and numerous time-period downgrades over the years, Entertainment Studios has managed to keep Comics Unleashed With Byron Allen on the air somehow.  The series has been picked up for two more seasons thanks to CBS-owned stations in the top three markets, including WBBM-TV here in Chicago as well as WCBS-TV in New York City and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. Comics Unleashed began in 2006 on WCIU-TV in prime-time, but has aired on WBBM in late-night in recent years.

By the way, the founder of Entertainment Studios is … you guess it… Byron Allen, who was one of the co-hosts of NBC’s 1979-84 reality series Real People.

It’s all to make Frank Woolanski’s puppet-like head spin.