Exclusive: Fox Not Renewing Spike Feresten
With Wanda Sykes on deck, network won't give Talk Show a fourth season
By Ben Grossman -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/5/2009 11:31:57 AM
Fox has decided not to bring back its Saturday late night franchise Talk Show With Spike Feresten for a fourth season, meaning the network will start fresh on Saturday nights this fall.
The network had already announced the end of the long-running sketch comedy show MadTV, which ran from 11pm-midnight Saturdays before Talk Show aired for a half-hour at midnight.
Fox's Saturday late night lineup this fall will lead off with a new hour-long show at 11 featuring Wanda Sykes, as first reported by B&C in March. Plans for the 30-minute slot at midnight are still being formulated, with a comedy repeat one possibility.
Scheduling Saturday late night shows like Sykes follows in the strategy the network has pursued of trying to grow its own late night talent on Saturdays with the eventual hope of getting back into the daypart on weeknights. That was the original hope for Feresten's show.
The network also would have been interested in returning to weekday late night had a major talent like Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien come available as a result of the Tonight Show switch-over, but that never came to pass as NBC locked up Leno for its 10pm strip.
Feresten's show ran largely under the radar screen at the network, which gave it little promotional backing during its three-year run that concludes this spring. However, network execs were always willing to heap praise on Feresten, even giving it a trial run at 11 earlier this season.
Feresten, a very successful writer with credits ranging from feature films to Seinfeld, was making his on-camera debut when the show launched, much like fellow late-night host Conan O'Brien when he began. Despite the low profile at Fox, the show did create some buzz with viral videos, including spoofs on DTV public service announcements and a "Li'l Bill O'Reilly" character.
Sykes' new Saturday show will mix commentary and panel discussions in the mold of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, along with segments from the field.
The show also marks a return to Fox for Sykes, who starred in and served as a writer and producer for the short-lived sitcom, Wanda At Large.
Upon making the announcement in April, Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly noted, "Wanda is a great alternative voice to the current late-night landscape. She has the perfect personality for Fox, and we look forward to reinvigorating Saturday night TV with her."
Talkshow with Spike Feresten is about be Saved but I Need some help....Please so Help Save Talkshow with Spike Feresten and Course, you not
eroll muller - 8/24/2009 2:48:51 PM EDT
Are you kidding me? Everyone loves talkshow with spike feresten! FOX shouldn't have canceled talkshow with spike feresten in the first place. Anyone who is a fan of talkshow with spike feresten, email fox at email@example.com and tell them to renew talkshow with spike feresten right now! Eroll and I can't do it alone.
However, if we all work together, fox will likely bring back talkshow with spike feresten.
Elie Muller - 8/24/2009 2:43:24 PM EDT
Here is my theory on this...I'm happy old Spikey is gone from the airwaves after this season, but wouldn't it be better to just return the additional half-hour (in this case, 11-11:30 PM CT) back to the affiliates as they can air whatever they want to in that timeslot. Sykes' show has some potentional but woin't be a breakout hit in the long run.
Richard - 5/5/2009 6:49:43 PM EDT
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