“Vibe,” the 11-week-old late-night talk show that has been clouded by the bad vibes of poor ratings, bounced host Chris Spencer on Tuesday, less than two weeks after producers had given him a public vote of confidence.
Sinbad will take over “Vibe” for at least two months starting next week, but sources with the show said that the actor-comedian was reluctant to commit to the job permanently.
“I’m happy to be guest-hosting the show,” Sinbad said in a statement. “I like the look of the show and the band is happening.”
Spencer’s ouster, which was effective immediately, did not come as a total surprise. A comedian who had been handpicked to host the syndicated hourlong show by executive producer Quincy Jones, he had been plagued by negative reviews and comments from insiders indicating that the producers were not happy with him.
During the show’s Aug. 4 premiere, Spencer got off to a rocky start. He noticeably perspired and displayed nervousness with guests. Although he regained some control and composure in the following days and weeks, observers said his interviewing techniques and comedy style were still lacking.
But in responding to rumors earlier this month that Spencer would be replaced, Russ Krasnoff, executive vice president of programming for Columbia/TriStar Television, which produces “Vibe,” said, “We think he’s doing a fine job. We’re not replacing him. He is the host of our show.”
Even after that declaration, however, Spencer had become more stubborn on the set and refused to take direction. “He was not taking any advice,” said one insider. “He was determined to follow his own mind.”
J.P. Williams, Spencer’s manager, said Tuesday that Spencer had ideas on how to improve the show but that Columbia/TriStar executives were not interested in hearing them. “It’s important to listen to the host of the show, but there were creative differences and they just had a different vision,” he said.
Williams added that Spencer was not bitter. “He felt it was a great opportunity,” Williams said.
Repeats or previously taped editions of “Vibe,” which airs weeknights at 11 on KCOP-TV Channel 13, will be shown until next week, when Sinbad comes on board.
Although “Vibe” started out with strong ratings, it has fallen off considerably since its premiere, averaging 2 million viewers a night and trailing all other late-night talk shows, including “The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show,” which premiered on the same date.