“Dish Nation” renewed; “Millionaire” axed

Millionaire runs out of lifelines as game show comes to an end

(Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.)

Friday was the ultimate final answer for the fate of two long-running syndicated shows.

According to TVNewscheck, Dish Nation was renewed for an eighth season, taking the show through September 2020.

“Yeah eight seasons,” said Stephen Brown, Fox’s executive vice president of programming and development told TVNewcheck’s Paul Greeley in his Marketshare column. “We are kind of hitting that, ‘oh we are part of the fabric of your lives every day’. Which is a great thing, a great indicator for the longevity of the show.”

The series features morning radio personalities who “dish” on pop culture and celebrities. When Dish Nation originally premiered in 2012, it featured jocks from numerous cities, including Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill of New York City’s WPLJ-FM (Shannon left WPLJ in 2014 and his former station was sold to EMF and is flipping to K-Love om June 1st.) After numerous format and personality changes, Dish now features Rickey Smiley from his Atlanta-based syndicated radio show and Frank Kramer and Heidi Hamilton, morning personalities from Cumulus’ KLOS-FM in Los Angeles.

Also appearing on Dish is Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Porsha Williams, who isn’t heard on Smiley’s radio show (she is currently on maternity leave.) Adding her was the right move as Dish received a not-too-friendly review from this site when it first premiered. But the series is entertaining if you’re into celebrity gossip and is a good distraction from the non-stop political stuff on other channels.

Keep in mind the material you see on Dish Nation isn’t heard on their respective radio shows.

Dish Nation has been a bit forgotten, given the series does not receive national Nielsen ratings and airs in a variety of  dayparts on 116 stations including all the Fox O&Os, including WFLD-TV here at 2:30 p.m. weekdays. But the show is doing well in the markets it airs in, such as Philadelphia where it airs in prime access (7 p.m.) on Fox-owned WTXF.

Of important note is Dish Nation is one of the shows Fox retained from the former Twentieth Television in the $71.3 billion sale of 21st Century Fox’s assets to The Walt Disney Company. Fox also plans to syndicate a new game show this fall 25 Words Or Less with former Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host Meredith Vieira.

And speaking of her former show, Millionaire was officially canceled Friday as expected, ending a seventeen-year run in first-run syndication and twenty years overall. Millionaire premiered on ABC on August 16, 1999 with Regis Philbin and was an instant hit, leading ABC to run the show three times a week. But when the series was upped to four times a week in the fall of 2000, viewers became tired of the show, and left the network on June 27, 2002.

At the same time, Buena Vista Television (now Disney-ABC) sold a syndicated version of the show featuring Vieira and became a decent, if not overall hit, spending ten years on WGN-TV’s daytime lineup (the series was originally sold to the CBS-owned stations including WBBM-TV, who aired Millionaire at 6 p.m. during the 2002-03 season.) The series underwent numerous host, station, and format changes over the years with Chris Harrison taking over as host in 2015, and relocated from the East Coast to Las Vegas a year later.

In recent years, the ABC-owned stations have been the group associated with Millionaire with WLS-TV finally airing the show last fall after years of holding out, albeit at 1:40 a.m. But on other ABC-owned stations, Millionaire and Right This Minute were expected to lose their time slots to Tamron Hall’s new syndicated talk show this fall, leaving both without a home. In the most recent ratings report, Millionaire placed a distant fourth behind Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Family Feud with a 1.6 household rating.

Right This Minute has been renewed for another season by Disney-ABC according to Broadcasting & Cable in a report Saturday on the ABC O&Os, but the show is likely to be stuck in overnight time slots on those stations. In an unusual syndication arrangement, WLS airs Minute at 2:05 am. while WCIU airs a different episode 25 minutes later at 2:30 a.m. It is not known if this arrangement would continue into next season.

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