But Leno’s You Bet Your Life renewed for third season
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on January 31.
With more and more viewers abandoning linear TV, it’s no surprise CNBC is getting out of the primetime originals business with the announced cancellations of Jay Leno’s Garage after seven seasons and Money Court after two.
Jay Leno’s Garage’s cancellation came after Leno was involved in two recent accidents – a mishap involving one of his cars at his actual Burbank, Calif. garage suffering burns across his face, and a motorcycle accident where he broke several bones. Though some outlets reported the cancellation was due to his accidents, the decision to part ways was actually made before then as the last first-run episode aired in October 2022.
Leno’s Garage started as shorts on NBC’s website in 2014 and later became a special on CNBC the same year, serving as a de facto pilot. Garage became a regular series in 2015 and won an Emmy Award the following year. A car enthusiast, Leno featured classic cars and motorcycles on his show and often let celebrities ride with him. Among those who made appearances included Jeff Dunham, Tim Allen, Brad Garrett, Kelly Clarkson, former President George W. Bush and current President Joe Biden.
The series produced a total of 1oo episodes with twelve of them “flashback” episodes in the 2020 season due to the pandemic; it’s not known if CNBC plans to air reruns of the series as Leno’s Garage is also available on Peacock and his YouTube channel. Leno also hosts Fox’s syndicated You Bet Your Life; on Tuesday, the show was renewed for a third season, along with other syndicated shows in Fox’s portfolio.
Joining Leno on the CNBC scrap heap pile is Money Court, lasting only twelve episodes. Premiering in August 2021, the unconventional court show – whose hosts wore the same outfits every episode – featured Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary mediating financial disputes with Katie Phang and Ada Pozo as the litigants appeared remotely. The show’s second season saw Phang and Pozo replaced by Bethenny Frankel. The program didn’t perform well in the ratings, as court shows generally do better in daytime and afternoon dayparts.
The moves also come with a shakeup in the executive ranks at the network. Out are Denise Contis and Timothy Kuryak, who oversaw these shows and other CNBC primetime originals. In light of overall cutbacks at NBCUniversal, new president KC Sullivan is shifting away from original programming in primetime and focusing more on reruns of Shark Tank, Undercover Boss, and American Greed – the only primetime original still in production at the network. CNBC also plans to air more documentaries like it did last year with its look at ExxonMobil, Generation Gamble, and its six-part mini-series Empires of New York.
Indeed, CNBC has struggled with original primetime programming over the years with many based in the reality TV genre, striking out with The Job Interview, Restaurant Startup, The Deed, Back In The Game, a Deal Or No Deal revival, and others. Another series, the long-running The Profit with Marcus Lemonis, was canceled in the fall of 2021 after eight seasons as the host was facing lawsuits from businesses who appeared on the show.
Also out at CNBC is Tech Check, the late-morning business show focusing on tech; instead it is being repurposed as segments to air throughout the day. Meanwhile, announced Thursday a new business show Last Call, hosted by Brian Sullivan (no relation to CNBC’s president) starting next month in the 6-7 p.m. CT slot once occupied by The News With Shepard Smith, which was canceled last November. The title Last Call was previously used by NBC for a late-night show hosted by Carson Daly and by NBCUniversal Syndication Studios predecessor MCA TV for a short-lived 1994-95 syndicated talk show in the same daypart, created by former NBC primetime chief Brandon Tartikoff.