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Cook gets the hook

British host didn't bowl over U.S. viewers 4/30/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern

It's bon voyage for British import The Ainsley Harriott Show. Buena Vista TV has pulled the cooking/ talk hybrid from next season's production slate.

But the hour strip-launched in January on NBC O & Os to fill the hour of canceled soap Sunset Beach-will finish out its run this year.

"Everyone had such high hopes for the program because Ainsley Harriott is a special personality," said Katz TV's Bill Carroll. Only last Sunday, the New York Times magazine section was gushing: "Viewers can find the daily dish on the show's Web site [www.Ainsleytv. com] and by calling (212) 824-4005. But for the full Ainsley, they can call (212) 824-4000 for free tickets. It may take a while-Mr. Harriott's show is hot.''

Discovered by Merv Griffin and launched late this season, Harriott was positioned well on the NBC O & Os.

The show struggled in the national ratings from the start. The strip has a 0.9 season-to-date national rating, placing it in 170th place among syndicated shows, according to Nielsen Media Research. For the week ended April 9, the show hit its low of a 0.7.

While Harriott was the first official casualty among the frosh syndicated efforts, the show performed on par with other first-time talkers Dr. Joy Browne and The Martin Short Show.

March