Feel-good show ending run after dismal ratings

For Richard Simmons, the dream is over.

Tribune Entertainment and Simmons have agreed to part ways, ending runs of the low-rated “Richard Simmons’ Dreammaker” effective Jan. 14. The strip, which featured people having their “dreams come true” such as mortgages being paid off on the show, earned only a 0.8 season-to-date rating with a 0.4 score in the key 18-35 demos.

“I have certainly enjoyed my time with ‘Dreammaker’ and being a part of enriching so many people’s lives, but I have slowly come to realize that the show has placed far too many time constraints on my already hectic … schedule,” Simmons said. “Thus after fulfilling my initial 13-week commitment to the show … I have decided to move on — returning instead to my daily mission of tending to the dire needs of the country’s ever-growing obese population.”

“Dreammaker” is the first rookie syndie series during the less-than-stellar season to pull the plug on its show. Other rookies, King World’s “Martin Short,” Telepictures’ “Queen Latifah,” and Eyemark’s “Dr. Joy Browne” are all averaging a 1.1 or less leading into November with tougher timeslots and more competition.

According to sources with Tribune, the show never clicked with auds because of its unusual format, being neither a courtshow, a quizzer nor a talker. “Viewers just weren’t responding; they weren’t ready for something different like this,” said one insider.

With the show ending days before NATPE, Tribune will likely try to launch a replacement series to protect the show’s timeslots. However, its staple program for the confab, “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda,” is a weekly series and won’t be ready to air until fall 2000.

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