Whoopi exits center square

Thesp, syndie distrib part ways

The center square is now vacant: King World and Whoopi Goldberg did not reach a “Square” deal.

A spokesman for Goldberg said she and the syndie distrib have reached a “parting of the ways. She will not be returning as exec producer or center square for the fifth or sixth season” of “Hollywood Squares.”

Show is in the final weeks of production for the fourth season. It has been cleared for two more years, and reps from King World Prods. said Friday that there is nothing in the contracts with stations guaranteeing Goldberg’s involvement in the show.

Confirming her exit, a King World spokesman said, “We wish her the best of luck.” Goldberg was unavailable for comment.

There is no word yet on a replacement.

No reason was given for the divorce, but one source said King World couldn’t meet her price. Aside from her appearances on the show, her One Ho Prods. served as one of the producers of the five-days-a-week strip along with Moffitt-Lee Prods.

Goldberg’s on-camera presence gave the show a big boost in its September 1998 launch; since then she has contributed ideas for segments and theme shows and had a big say in the gamer’s tone.

As for the future of “Squares” host Tom Bergeron and semi-regulars such as Bruce Vilanch, reps said that everybody’s deals are separate and independent of Goldberg’s.

Bergeron, however, has been touted as a possible replacement for Bryant Gumbel after he departs as host of CBS’ “Early Show.”

Meanwhile, Goldberg will continue acting and producing ongoing TV series, telefilms and features. She is a producer of the Broadway tuner “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” which bows Thursday.

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