Grab Bag: Craig Ferguson exits “Late Late Show”

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The other shoe has dropped: Craig Ferguson announced Monday he was stepping down as host of CBS’ Late Late Show, effective at the end of 2014. The news comes as David Letterman (who is the executive producer of the show and controls the 11:35 p.m. weeknight time slot), announced his retirement three weeks ago. With this move, he also gives up control of his slot after Late Show.

There is no word on a replacement at this time.

Ferguson said his departure had nothing to do with Stephen Colbert succeeding Letterman as Late Show host.

Meanwhile, Ferguson will be coming to daytime this September as host of Debmar-Mercury’s new game show Celebrity Name Game, created by Courtney Cox and David Arquette. WGN-TV and other Tribune stations begin airing the show this September.

In order to have a show named Crowd Goes Wild, you have to… well, have a Crowd.

As reported by Richard Deitsch in his SI.com article Sunday, Fox Sports 1 has quietly canceled sports talk show Crowd Goes Wild after eight months on the air, which is being replaced by an extra hour of Mike Francesa’s radio program. Airing at 4 p.m. Central Time, Wild drew only a fraction of what competing ESPN’s Around The Horn and Pardon The Interruption attracted in early fringe.

The two ESPN shows attract nearly a million viewers a day on average.

Regis Philbin was part of a panel that discussed the day’s sports headlines, but many thought he was out of place, and didn’t fit the format of the show. The former Live co-host had a contract through the Super Bowl, but has only made sporadic appearances since then.

FS1 had been adjusting its early fringe lineup for the last few weeks, which included canceling its daily football and soccer shows and adding Francesa.

The end of Western Civilization may soon be upon us: In a ratings report you won’t certainly find anywhere else, Part 2 of The Real Housewives Of Atlanta Reunion Special on cable TV net Bravo earned a 1.8 rating in the 18-49 demo – beating a first-run episode of The Simpsons (1.6) and came one-tenth of a point of The Amazing Race (1.9), both head-to-head.

RHOA has received much publicity (and a tongue-lashing in this space) after a fight between Kenya Moore and Porsha Williams broke out the previous week and Williams was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Meanwhile, one columnist for a major publication defended the low ratings for The Simpsons, which saw the veteran animated series hit a series low in the demo and total viewers (3.45), pointing out other Sunday night programs on the broadcast networks performed worse. I have never seen anyone going way out of their way just to avoid giving a competing cable TV show credit (RHOA) for beating it.

Don’t look for those numbers to be kept down for long: The Simpsons has the much-ballyhooed Lego episode (which looks very good) and a “yellow wedding”, where a major character dies.

Another season has come and gone for the Chicago Bulls as the team became the second one eliminated in the post-season thus far. Game five of their first-round series against the Washington Wizards earned a 9.7 combined household rating locally for Comcast SportsNet and TNT, according to Lewis Lazare of Chicago Business Journal. While the number is respectable – basically with most prime-time shows, it is down from what Bulls playoff games usually earned in the past – especially when Derrick Rose was playing. Rose was sidelined with injury for the second season in a row.

On a much brighter note, the Chicago Blackhawks scored a 17.2 local rating for game six of their first-round series win with the St. Louis Blues, airing locally over WMAQ-TV Sunday. The Hawks now advance to play the Minnesota Wild in the second round of the NHL playoffs, beginning Friday. To see the full Stanley Cup playoff schedule, click here.

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