‘Tis the season for cancellations….
A day after Tyra Banks announced she was ending her talk show, Comedy Central decided to pull the plug on The Jeff Dunham Show after only two months on the air, making it one of the shortest-lived cable shows in television history.
The critically-panned sketch comedy show featured ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, who took his puppets out and about in Los Angeles and interacting with real-life people (are you laughing already?)
When Dunham debuted on October 22, he scored the highest rating for a Comedy Central premiere in the network’s history, drawing an eye-popping 5.3 million viewers (even higher than South Park, which debuted in 1997.) But the ratings have been in a free fall since, with new episodes this month drawing only around 1.5 million. Obviously, viewers did not like what they saw, and went fleeing for the exits.
The decline is similar to ABC’s much-hyped sci-fi drama FlashForward, which lost a third of its audience since its premiere. A recent outing earlier this month drew only a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49. The program is currently being “retooled” and is expected to return in March.
The timing of the decision to end Tyra Banks’ and Jeff Dunham’s programs is quite unusual – and perhaps suspect – for this time of year, as a lot of people in the industry are on vacation and perhaps the purpose of these announcements was to bury the news while no one is paying attention.
Despite the cancellation of his show, Jeff Dunham will continue to be featured in Comedy Central specials.
Thought: So Jeff Dunham’s show gets canned, but not My Mother The Car descendant Secret Girlfriend… the worst program in television history? While Dunham’s show clearly earned its cancellation stripes, Comedy Central should have made this a “two-fer Tuesday” – and should’ve dumped the similarly low-rated Girlfriend as well.