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Canceled Grodin won’t be silenced

Actor floats follow-up talker idea

NEW YORK — Charles Grodin, whose talkshow was canceled by CNBC Thursday, said he wants to do another one, with King World having first refusal over any syndicated TV program.

But sources said Friday that King World has no plans to take on another syndicated talkshow since it distributes “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and will premiere the most highly touted talkshow of the fall, “Roseanne,” plus a revamped version of “Hollywood Squares,” with Whoopi Goldberg as the center square. And for 1999, KW has signed Martin Short to host a talkshow in firstrun syndication.

TV syndication may not be the best medium for the kind of talkshow Grodin says he wants to continue doing, which is a mix of entertainment and social commentary. Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz Television, which advises TV-station clients on program decisions, says the Nielsen ratings are usually not kind to “a talkshow that mixes and matches celebrity interviews with serious issues. You have to do either one or the other.”

The day after his show got the ax, Grodin said, “CNBC made a pure bottom-line decision, the network will save millions of dollars by replacing my show with a rerun of ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews.’ ”

A CNBC spokesman said Grodin got the guillotine because his “focus on social issues” was out of step with the follow-the-headlines immediacy of Geraldo Rivera’s talkshow at 9 p.m. and the one hosted by Matthews at 8 p.m. And because CNBC sends out only one feed, the second run of Matthews’ show at 11 p.m., starting June 8, will allow the West Coast to see it at the more advantageous time of 8 p.m.

But Grodin is not buying that explanation. “The people at CNBC have one interest, and one interest only,” he says. “That’s to make as much money as they can. And that’s why I’m not a bit surprised that they cancelled my show.”

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