‘Caryl & Marilyn’ axed as ABC tries new ‘View’

NEW YORK — ABC has finally pulled the plug on “Caryl & Marilyn: Real Friends,” the struggling daytime talkshow that’s barely a year old.

Staffers were told production on the show will shut down May 30, with original episodes airing through mid-June. Repeats will fill the summer gap until the mid-August launch of “The View From Here,” a Barbara Walters-produced panel show expected to get an official go-ahead this week (Daily Variety, April 8).

“Caryl & Marilyn” exec producer Nancy Alspaugh confirmed she’s in talks with Nancy Glass, who’s ankling King World’s “American Journal” next week, to develop a new hourlong news and info show for ABC as a potential backup.

ABC has had trouble with the weekday timeslot — 11 a.m. in most markets — that leads into local news and a 3-1/2-hour soap block. “Mike & Maty” failed and was replaced June 10 by “Caryl & Marilyn,” featuring housewife-turned-comedians Caryl Christensen and Marilyn Kentz from NBC’s short-lived “The Mommies.”

But the launch date inauspiciously coincided with the debut of Warner Bros.’ hit “Rosie O’Donnell Show” in syndication, and “Caryl & Marilyn” paled by comparison.

In a last-ditch effort to save the Viacom Prods. daytimer, exec producer Stuart Krasnow was replaced by Alspaugh earlier this year and the show was refocused, but ratings haven’t improved, with an anemic season-to-date average of a 1.5/7.

“We suspected it was coming for quite awhile,” Kentz said. “We could see that the venue wasn’t for us.”

Like “Caryl & Marilyn,” the new “View” is aimed an at audience of suburban women. A pilot was shot late last month, with Meredith Vieira as moderator for three regular panelists: Star Jones (“Inside Edition”), Debbie Matenopoulos and comedian Joy Behar. Behar will rotate with Walters, who’s expected to appear about twice a week.

An official announcement of the pickup is expected this week, in time for ABC’s affiliate meeting June 2-4, forestalling complaints about that timeslot. ABC also is expected to make substantial changes at “Good Morning America,” where ratings have declined sharply.

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