Tribune Cancels Nighttime Talk Show ‘Dennis Miller’ : Television: Though popular with young males, the ‘Saturday Night Live’ alumnus failed to generate the ratings necessary to stem losses.


Late-night talk show host Dennis Miller will soon be “outta here!"--as he’s fond of saying--after executives at Tribune Entertainment decided Friday to cut their losses on the low-rated “Dennis Miller Show.”

“After a tremendous effort on the part of all parties involved, we’ve made a business decision not to proceed,” Tribune President Donald L. Hacker said in a prepared statement. “After seven months on the air, including some key summer months in which we had hoped for significant increases, we just lack the ratings growth necessary to continue.”

The show, which airs locally on KTLA Channel 5, will continue producing original episodes through next Friday. After that, Tribune will shut down production and provide its 140 affiliated stations with reruns of the program through Sept. 11.

“I don’t think the fact that it was canceled is a shock,” one production source said. “But we did expect to stay on through the summer. That’s the surprise.”

Even though Miller has delivered a high concentration of men aged 18 to 34, a demographic group advertisers find extremely attractive, his overall ratings have been hovering around a 1.5 (representing about 1.4 million homes nationally), compared to a 5 for NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and about a 3 for the syndicated “Arsenio Hall Show.”


“The brutal reality of advertiser-supported television in a recession economy has forced us reluctantly to move on,” Hacker said.

In February, Hacker said he hoped that “Dennis Miller” would achieve between a 2 and a 2.5 rating by now. He cited the summer months as crucial because Johnny Carson, who dominated late-night television for 30 years, would be retired and a flux of students would be coming home from college.