Disappointing news for fans of Wanda Sykes: It’s looking highly unlikely that Fox will gamble on another season of her struggling late night talk show. The hour-long program — which featured guests like Erykah Badu, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, and Lisa Kudrow — struggled to find an audience against NBC mainstay Saturday Night Live before wrapping on April 24. Sykes was averaging roughly 2.1 million viewers and a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49, well below SNL’s 2.9 rating and down from what Fox’s Mad TV was averaging in the time period last year (a 1.1). Her show had performed admirably in the young demographics, however, especially teens.
News of the cancellation was first reported here. Fox will reveal its prime time lineup for fall on Monday in New York.
Sykes was the only late-night star to boast a prime-time profile on a competing network (though ironically, the Emmy-winning comedy in which she co-stars, The New Adventures of Old Christine, has yet learn whether it will receive a fall 2010 pickup from CBS). And given how Fox lost its bid for Conan O’Brien, Sykes represented the network’s sole late night presence, even if she just appeared on Saturdays.
Unlike prime-time series, late-night talk shows are usually given time to build an audience. It took CBS’ Craig Ferguson, for instance, three years before he started beating the competition (which was O’Brien, before he transitioned to The Tonight Show). Sykes tried to offer something the other late-night hosts don’t: lively panel discussions and adult beverages.