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'The Megan Mullally Show' Gets Hook

by John Dempsey

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Megan Mullally

The November ratings book wasn't friendly to NBC Universal's syndicated celebrity talker, "The Megan Mullally Show." In the first casualty of the new television season, NBC Universal Domestic TV Distribution has canceled rookie syndicated talk show, "The Megan Mullally Show."

They will try to hold on to the time periods by offering three potential replacements: a new daily hour called "iVillage Live," reruns of Bravo's "Queer Eye" and library hours of the syndicated "Starting Over," which NBC Universal canceled early last year.

'Megan' is the first major cancellation of the 2006-07 season. While NBC's salespeople fan out across the country to lock up a successor, Twentieth TV is likely to engineer a full-court press to sell new syndicated talk show, "The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet" to non-NBC-owned TV stations.

The timing works out well for "The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet," co-hosted by Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy, because it begins on the Fox-owned stations on Monday, January 22, just five days before "The Megan Mullally Show" has its final telecast on Friday, January 26.

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'The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet'

The low ratings of 'Megan' made her demise a foregone conclusion. Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming for Katz TV, which represents hundreds of TV stations, said the November rating books didn't show enough promise for NBC to keep the show going into the February sweeps.

The poor Nielsens also caused some 'Megan' stations to downgrade the show to weaker time periods. "When celebrity-driven talkshows get downgrades," Carroll said, "it becomes tougher for them to book good guests." NBC also plans to encourage second-run options for 'Megan' stations that carry other NBC syndicated shows.

Programs like "Access Hollywood," "The Maury Povich Show" and "The Jerry Springer Show" would benefit. If the station schedules an extra daily run of one or more of these shows, NBC will profit financially because it keeps a number of commercial minutes within each episode to sell nationally.

Twentieth planned to pitch "The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet" to non-Fox-stations for a fall start, offering it sooner to stations that push hard for an earlier window. The disappearance of 'Megan' should keep Twentieth's phones ringing over the next 10 days leading up to the NATPE convention in Las Vegas which will be held from January 15-18.

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