'Sharon' eyed as yakker's replacement

Long-running syndicated talker “Jenny Jones” is poised to call it quits after the conclusion of the current season, the show’s 12th on the air.

A spokesman for the show’s distrib, Warner Bros., would not confirm the cancellation. But the Chicago-based staff was informed Friday of the likelihood that the show will be canceled.

Through several ups and downs, “Jenny Jones” has outlived many of its yakker contemporaries. Until “Dr. Phil” debuted this year, no talker with any apparent staying power had been launched since “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” in June 1996. (“Rosie” ended its run at the end of last season.)

Most talkshows launched in recent seasons — such as this year’s “The Rob Nelson Show” and last season’s “The Ananda Lewis Show” and “Iyanla” — have been yanked before they’ve yakked a whole season.

Among the few

“Jenny” is in the company of very few that can claim solid runs of more than 10 seasons. Among them are the stalwart “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” as well as “Sally,” which signed off last season after nearly two decades on the air.

Among “Jenny’s” trials and tribulations was a highly publicized lawsuit concerning the show’s liability for the murder of one of its guests by another; it was ultimately decided in “Jenny’s” favor. However, former guest Jonathan Schmitz was convicted of second-degree murder for killing fellow guest Scott Amedure in 1995. Schmitz was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Last spring, the Tribune station group picked up “Jenny” in the nick of time, after its future was jeopardized when the former Chris-Craft television stations in Gotham and Los Angeles, Fox-owned WWOR and KCOP, decided not to renew it.

‘Sharon’ may inherit

Tribune recently picked up another Warners talkshow, “The Sharon Osbourne Show,” for next season. “Sharon” could wind up in some of the “Jenny” time periods, as well as in slots occupied by Tribune Entertainment’s recently canceled “James Van Praagh.”

Season to date this year, “Jenny Jones” has averaged a 1.5 national household rating, according to Nielsen. That reps a 21% decline from last season’s average and puts the show in 104th place among all shows in syndication, tied with four other programs.

Among adults 18-49, the show is averaging a 0.9 this season.

Peaked at four

The ratings for the single-topic talker peaked in the fourth season, when the average was close to a 5.0 national household rating. Season four immediately preceded the murder case and a subsequent softening of the content. Along with many of daytime’s syndie offerings, the show saw a gradual ratings decline in recent seasons.

“Jenny Jones” is produced by River Tower Prods. in association with Telepictures Prods. and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

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