‘Harriott’s’ dish is done

More yakkers may burn before season's end

The heat in the syndication kitchen appears to be too hot for cooking/talk/entertainment strip “Ainsley Harriott.”

Staffers on Buena Vista Television’s syndicated daytime hour were told Monday that the show is not returning for a second season, making it the first of the new batch of syndicated yakkers to get officially yanked for season two.

“Harriott,” originally slated for a fall 1999 debut, rolled out in January on the NBC Station Group and other stations together representing coverage in more than 85% of the country.

A Buena Vista spokeswoman confirmed that the show has not been picked up for a second season. The NBC Station Group could not be reached for comment. The show is still in production, and a mix of originals and repeats will air through the end of the current season.

Skein stars its namesake, a well-known British chef and TV personality, and features recipes, celeb guests and remote segs. It has earned a 0.9 average national household rating season-to-date, according to Nielsen Media Research.

No new talker cracks the 2.0 season-to-date average national household rating mark, which syndicators often identify as the minimum national rating needed to break even financially. Telepictures’ “Queen Latifah,” the only firm go for season two, was renewed to much surprise during the NATPE convention in January.

Pundits say the days are numbered for the other new yakkers, Paramount’s “Leeza,” which moved into syndication this season after six seasons on NBC, and King World’s “Martin Short” and “Dr. Joy Browne.”

If the other new talkers join “Harriott” in syndication’s graveyard, they will be met by a handful of other syndication no-gos.

Two courtshows, Pearson Television’s “Judgment Day” and Unapix Syndication’s “Legacy,” were taken off the sale block for fall in the last few weeks. Unapix does say, however, that “Legacy” may be presented for a midseason or fall 2001 start.

Twentieth Television last month canceled “Forgive or Forget,” and Tribune Entertainment’s “Richard Simmons’ Dream Maker” went off the air in mid-January.

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