×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fox cancels ‘Mad TV’

Sketch series ends run after 14 seasons

Fox is closing the book on “Mad TV” after 14 seasons.

Net confirmed Wednesday that the Saturday night sketch series, which had barely escaped cancellation in recent years, will end its run at the end of this season.

News comes soon after Fox announced plans to end the run of another long-running comedy franchise, “King of the Hill.” But just as “King” may land a new home at ABC, the producers behind “Mad TV” are mulling ways to keep their show alive.

“There’s been great interest in recent years,” said exec producer David Salzman. “We’ve had a number of networks inquire as to whether the show was coming off Fox and saying that they’d be interested. We have not started to talk to them yet, but now is the time to begin those conversations. I think we have real prospects, but you never know, especially given the economy.”

According to Salzman, production on “Mad TV,” which received a shortened order this season, was set to wrap by December. The net decided to inform the show’s producers of its decision now, rather than in May, in order to give them a chance to end the series with a bang.

“This will give us a proper sendoff, a chance to promote the finale and bring back old cast members,” Salzman said.

Fox told Salzman the decision to ax the show was an economic one.

“They said it was too expensive for a daypart where dollars have been shrinking,” he said. “Their thought was, the show is what the show is, and that essence needs to be maintained — but it’s hard to produce as big and ambitious a show as ours for less money than they’re paying now.”

In potentially shopping the show to other broadcast or cable outlets, Salzman said he’ll look at ways to modify production and bring down costs.

Meanwhile, Comedy Central’s deal to air reruns of “Mad TV” expires at the end of the year. Salzman said he hopes to find a net interested both in producing new episodes and airing the show’s 326-episode library.

QDE, a joint venture between Salzman and Quincy Jones, launched “Mad TV” in 1995, utilizing Mad magazine’s irreverent brand. Show, designed as a competitor to “Saturday Night Live,” was created by Fax Bahr and Adam Small, who left after the show’s third season.

John Crane, Salzman and Jones currently serve as exec producers. Season to date, the show has averaged 2.7 million viewers and a 1.2 rating/4 share among adults 18-49; both are unchanged from last year.

“Mad TV” made a name for itself with its pop-culture parodies; alums include Nicole Sullivan (“Rita Rocks”) and Frank Caliendo (“Frank TV”).

Current cast includes Arden Myrin, Bobby Lee, Crista Flanagan, Keegan-Michael Key, Nicole Parker and Johnny Sanchez.

Fox will likely decide the fate of its other Saturday latenight franchise, “Talkshow With Spike Feresten,” in May. With “Mad TV” history, that makes it more likely the net will stick with “Talkshow” — unless it develops other projects for the timeslot.

“Mad TV” reps Fox’s most successful foray by far into latenight programming. After several tries in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the net hasn’t attempted a return to the late weeknight landscape. (That could change next year, as NBC’s “Tonight Show” transition opens the door to several shuffles.)

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show premiere,

    Cara Delevingne Talks Immigration, Taylor Swift's Battle With Scooter Braun

    Cara Delevingne, whose faerie character in “Carnival Row” finds herself washed ashore as a refugee in a foreign land, said she was immediately drawn by the show’s fantastical take on issues of immigration and assimilation. “It’s a cause that I have been involved in for a long time,” Delevingne told Variety at the premiere of [...]

  • John Travolta, Fred Durst. John Travolta,

    John Travolta Recalls Fans Breaking Into His House: 'I Was Scared the First Time'

    Nobody can accuse John Travolta of not being gracious to his fans, whether it’s an autograph, a selfie or, you know, a home invasion or two. “I’ve only had two people that actually invaded my house,” Travolta told Variety at the premiere of “The Fanatic” at the Egyptian Theater on Thursday night. “They were just [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • 50 Cent Power S6 Premiere

    50 Cent, Snoop Dogg & Trey Songz 'Power' Up New York City for Massive Season 6 Premiere

    “Power” is entering its final season, but you would never know if you walked by Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on Tuesday night. Starz pulled out all the stops for its ratings powerhouse “Power,” throwing a massive premiere event, complete with a full-length concert at Madison Square Garden from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and a [...]

  • Diane Warren'Late Night' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Songs of Hope to Honor Diane Warren, Marc Shaiman, Boi-1da, More at 15th Annual Event

    Cancer research and treatment center City of Hope today announced the initial lineup of presenters and honorees who will celebrate the song and songwriter at its 15th annual Songs of Hope event. Among the music and entertainment industry VIPs in attendance will be veteran executive and producer Clive Davis, producer Boi-1da (Drake, Kendrick Lamar), award-winning [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content