CBS Eyemark won’t renew rookie yakker

'Gayle King' shelved after one season

HOLLYWOOD — “The Gayle King Show” is the latest syndie casualty of the season.

CBS’s Eyemark Entertainment has opted to cut its losses and not renew the low-rated rookie talkshow strip for a second year. Production on the Hartford, Conn.-based show will end May 6, with episodes airing through Sept. 4.

King, a TV news vet, will continue to serve as a news anchor for CBS affil WFSB Hartford, as she has throughout the run of her talkshow.

“Gayle King” was marketed by Eyemark as a half-hour companion to “Martha Stewart Living,” which expanded from a weekend half-hour to a weekday strip last fall. Eyemark’s hope was that “Martha Stewart Living” would provide a strong lead-in to help establish “Gayle King,” but Stewart’s program hasn’t been a ratings barn-burner either.

In the past February sweep, “Gayle King” averaged a 2.3 household rating and 8 share in Nielsen’s 38 overnight metered markets. The show lost an average 23% of its lead-in rating and was off 15% from its average year-ago timeslot rating. By comparison, “Martha Stewart Living” averaged a 2.9/10 in the February sweep.

Eyemark will continue to distribute “Martha Stewart Living” next season, although sources say there’s some disgruntlement within CBS about Eyemark’s arrangement with Stewart. Eyemark acts solely as a distributor on “Martha Stewart Living” — even its national advertising sales are handled by Stewart’s company.

Eyemark initially hoped to profit from Stewart’s show by using it as a springboard for the Eyemark-produced “Gayle King.” But with that show’s demise, the distribber now has little choice but to offer stations a second run of “Martha” or risk losing a valuable one-hour timeslot on dozens of TV stations around the country.

Prior to Wednesday’s cancellation announcement, Eyemark had renewed the “Martha”/”Gayle” combo for a second year with stations covering more than 80% of U.S. TV households. Eyemark is prepping a new celeb-oriented talkshow with author Jackie Collins for a summer test on CBS’ Los Angeles O&O, but even in a best-case scenario, it’s unlikely the Collins show would be ready for a national bow by September.

As the 1997-98 season draws to a close, “Gayle King” joins a list of frosh syndie casualties that includes Fox’s short-lived “Home Team with Terry Bradshaw,” All American TV’s equally short-lived “Arthel & Fred Show” and Buena Vista TV’s recently yanked “Keenen Ivory Wayans Show.”

Before landing her own show, King was known to talkshow fans as “Oprah Winfrey’s best friend” who made occasional appearances on Winfrey’s top-rated talker. In fact, Winfrey, King and other notables are on a private cruise this week in the Caribbean as part of a Winfrey-hosted 70th birthday salute to acclaimed writer/poet Maya Angelou.

More TV

  • American Son review

    'American Son' Set for Netflix Adaptation With Kerry Washington, Original Broadway Cast

    The Broadway play “American Son” is set to be adapted for Netflix. Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan, and Eugene Lee will reprise their roles in the Netflix production. Kenny Leon returns to direct and produce, with Jeffrey Richards and Rebecca Gold serving as producers. Washington and Pilar Savone of Washington’s Simpson Street banner will [...]

  • Anthony Scaramucci to participate in the

    Anthony Scaramucci Light on Trump Talk in 'Celebrity Big Brother' Premiere

    CBS reality show “Big Brother” loves to tell its audience to “expect the unexpected,” but things went pretty much according to the assumed with Anthony Scaramucci on the second season premiere of the celebrity edition of the show. Right from his introductory package, Scaramucci had to acknowledge he was fired from the White House, “for [...]


    Tyler Perry: 6 Lessons He Shared at NATPE's 'Living the Dream' Summit

    MIAMI — Tyler Perry took time out of his “Madea’s Farewell” live stage tour and spent his Martin Luther King Jr. holiday giving an inspiring speech to aspiring producers and students gathered here for the annual NATPE convention. Perry was the keynoter Monday at the conference’s first ever “Living the Dream: A Career in Content” session [...]

  • Why Megan Mullally Won't Talk Politics

    Q&A: Why Megan Mullally Won't Talk Politics While Hosting the SAG Awards

    Megan Mullally is funny. The “Will & Grace” star can also sing and dance. While she’s not picking up the Oscar hosting gig after the Kevin Hart fiasco, Mullally will take center stage on Sunday, Jan. 27 when she makes her debut as the host of the 25th annual SAG Awards. Variety caught up with [...]

  • New England Patriots running back Sony

    CBS and Fox Cheer Big Turnout for NFL Conference Championships

    Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games were nail-biters that went into overtime and sent viewership into overdrive. CBS harvested a whopping 53.9 million viewers as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led his team to their third consecutive Super Bowl berth in a hard-fought primetime game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Viewership for the AFC [...]

  • RENT: Top L-R to Bottom L-R:

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of Jan. 21, 2019: 'Rent,' 'Celebrity Big Brother'

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Rent: Live” airs on Fox and “Celebrity Big Brother” returns for a second [...]

  • Black Monday: How Showtime Dusted Off

    'Black Monday': How Showtime Dusted Off An Old '80s Logo For Its New Comedy

    Cocaine’s a hell of a drug, but you’re not seeing things: That, indeed is Showtime’s old 1980s-era logo pasted all over marketing materials and promos for “Black Monday,” a tongue-in-cheek tale of the excesses exhibited by Wall Street traders in the lead-up to the stock market crash of 1987. The logo, which hasn’t been in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content