“The Jeff Probst Show” canceled

Jeff ProbstI’ll bet you’ve heard a lot of this in the last 48 hours: Jeff Probst …the tribe has spoken.

CBS Television Distribution voted The Jeff Probst Show off the talk show island after one season, as the program could not find an audience. The Survivor host’s daytime talker had been averaging around a 0.7 Nielsen household live-plus same-day rating this season, tying The Ricki Lake Show, which  was canceled last week. Similar to Ricki, Probst had problems holding on to its lead-in and failed to outperform programming in year-ago time periods.

Probst exits syndication on September 6, with originals running through May. The series also runs on Canada’s Global network.

Given Probst’s dealings with Survivor contestants during Tribal Council, one would expect a dysfunctional talker along the lines of Jerry Springer and Maury. Instead, Probst was more of a highbrow program in the mold of Donahue or Oprah Winfrey, with the host saying at the 2012 TCA Summer Press Tour he wasn’t interested in doing a trashy-type show. Since Probst’s personality is about as cold as a Frosty at Wendy’s, viewers didn’t buy the act and saw through Probst’s phony facade (Probst should win an Daytime Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Daytime Talk Show, by pretending he was one.)

Probst’s clearances mainly lie within the NBC owned-and-operated station group, but in Chicago, the series cleared CBS-owned WBBM-TV instead, since NBC-owned WMAQ did not have room on its daytime schedule (both WBBM and CTD are owned by CBS Corp.) WBBM gave up on Probst on December 31, downgrading the show from 2 p.m. to 1:07 a.m. In October 2012, Probst placed fifth at 2 p.m. with a 1.1/4, behind fellow freshman talker Steve Harvey, Judge Mathis, and even The CW’s The Bill Cunningham Show.

With Probst’s cancellation, stations are scrambling to fill the vacant time slots for next fall. In Chicago, WBBM brought back Judge Judy reruns to temporarily fill the void, but Queen Latifah’s new talk show will likely get the 2 p.m. slot in September, and is also likely to grab Probst’s slots on fellow CBS O&Os WCCO in Minneapolis and KCNC in Denver. Latifah is also replacing Probst on NBC-owned WVIT in Hartford and Scripps’ NBC affiliate WPTV in West Palm Beach.

Though not confirmed, Warner Bros.’ Bethenny (with former Real Housewives star Bethenny Frankel) is expected to take over Probst’s 2 p.m. time slot at NBC-owned KNTV in September.

As for WNBC in New York and KNBC in Los Angeles, no decision has been made on what would fill the vacant time periods Probst is abandoning.

In a statement, Probst was “[S]uper bummed, but proud. The truth is all shows come to an end. Ours just ended a decade sooner than we had hoped.”

It should’ve ended a week after it premiered.


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