To almost no one’s surprise, Genesis Entertainment Friday officially pulled the plug on “The Whoopi Goldberg Show.”The first-season talker proved to be a big ratings disappointment in nearly every market it appeared. Commenting on the failure of Genesis’ first late-night endeavor, Phil Oldham, Genesis exec VP of domestic sales, said in a terse statement: “The ratings for the program have been declining and recently fell below the minimum required to attract advertisers to the barter program. These declining ratings didn’t justify the renewal” of the show. In fact, “Whoopi” turned in an all-time low rating of 1.2 in the two weeks of the Nielsen national syndie rankings corresponding to the first two weeks of the local market May sweeps. Genesis had guaranteed advertisers a 3.5 national rating, but the half-hour strip premiered with a 2.5 and steadily slid down until it vanished off radar screens. Many stations downgraded the series from its initial 11 p.m.-midnight late fringe slots, but Genesis argued the show did better in post-midnight slots. The demise of the program represents a major TV failure for Goldberg’s powerful agency, CAA, which engineered the entertainer’s lucrative five-year deal with Genesis — reportedly including an upfront payment of $ 4 million. Official confirmation of the show’s death came on the heels of Goldberg’s recent statements that the show was a goner. Three weeks ago, Genesis started informing station reps the half-hour strip would not return for another season (Daily Variety, May 17).
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