*Four weeks into its run, Arsenio Hall‘s syndicated late-night show is making a behind-the scenes change, reports Deadline.com.
Neal Kendall has stepped down as an executive producer of the CBS TV Distribution (CTD)-produced broadcast, according to a source close to the production. His last day was reportedly Friday.
According to sources, the switch was done as a proactive move to shore up the show’s long-term prospects with the right fit in the key position. Kendall was tapped as EP of “Arsenio” in February after a 10-year stint on Tavis Smiley.
In the interim, Kendall will be replaced on by CTD SVP Programming and Development Eric Pankowski, who has been overseeing “The Arsenio Hall Show” since he joined the company in May. He’ll work alongside executive producers Hall and his manager, Octagon’s John Ferriter.
(L-R) Executive producer Neal Kendall, host/executive producer Arsenio Hall and executive producer John Ferriter speak onstage during “The Arsenio Hall Show” panel discussion at the CBS, Showtime and The CW portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 29, 2013 in Beverly Hills
After a blazing-hot start, “Arsenio” has cooled off a bit in the ratings but has been relatively stable and still does OK in the key demos. (although the show hit a 18-49 low in the metered markets on Thursday, the day before Kendall exited.)
*MC Serch will be steppin’ to the a.m. next year as the host of his own syndicated daytime talk show, which begins a four-week test run on Tribune stations in eight markets, including New York and Los Angeles, on January 6, 2014, according to Deadline.com.
“Serch,” from CBS TV Distribution, will be an hourlong program featuring “real people with real issues, relying on Serch to use his street smarts and unconventional background to help guests grapple with and resolve their problems,” according to Deadline.
ABC News veteran Ethan Nelson will serve as executive producer of the New York-based program, which will trial run on WPIX, New York; KTLA, Los Angeles; WPHL, Philadelphia; KDAF, Dallas; WDCW, Washington DC; WSFL, Miami; WXIN, Indianapolis; and KSWB, San Diego.
MC Serch back in the day
This is the first time the Tribune stations are participating in such a trial run, a practice introduced by the Fox stations, which try out new syndicated talk shows for six weeks in the summer.
MC Serch (real name Michael Berrin) was one third of the rap trio 3rd Bass alongside Pete Nice and DJ Richie Rich. Their cranked out such hits as “Steppin to the A.M.” and “The Gas Face” before Serch went solo in 1992.
“Serch has such an interesting, unique life story that makes him relatable to a wide audience,” said CBS TV Distribution’s EVP Maureen FitzPatrick. “He connects with different communities, has a message to share about taking personal responsibility for your life choices and is on a mission to help people change their lives.”
*After 15 years of putting litigants in check on his syndicated court show “Judge Joe Brown,” the series will air its final episode at the end of this season.
“Judge Joe Brown will not be returning for another season. We would like to thank Joe for 15 great years, as well as executive producer John Terenzio and the entire staff for all their hard work and dedication to the show,” a CBS TV Distribution spokesperson said.
The decision comes following a recent report of a contract renegotiation dispute between CBSTVD and Brown. The departure will free up a half-hour on the stations that carry the court show, including the Fox stations.
Executive producer Neal Kendall (L) and host/executive producer Tavis Smiley speak during the ‘Tavis Smiley’ panel at the PBS portion of the 2011 Winter TCA press tour held at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2011 in Pasadena, California
*Neal Kendall, who just ended a 10-year stint as the executive producer of “Tavis Smiley,” is taking his talents to Arsenio Hall’s new syndicated talk show, which is set to debut Sept. 9 via CBS TV Distribution.
Kendall steered more than 1,900 episodes of Smiley’s PBS talk show. Additionally, he has served as producer on NBC’s “Later,” CBS’s “The Late Late Show With Tom Snyder” and CNN’s “Larry King Live” as well as Carrie Fisher’s talker for Oxygen Media, Jesse Ventura’s for MSNBC and Kevin Nealon’s for TNN/Spike.
“The Arsenio Hall Show,” which marks Hall’s return to late-night, is in partnership with Tribune, whose stations serve as a launch group.
I hear Hall has been in talks with CBS TV Distribution about a project that also may involve Tribune. There are no deals in place but if conversations materialize, Hall will likely film a presentation. CBS TV Distribution declined comment.
Hall mentioned a desire to return to late night during the media blitz following his “Celebrity Apprentice” win a week ago
A deal with CBS TV Distribution would mark a reunion for the company and Hall. His syndicated late-night Arsenio Hall Show, which ran from 1989 to 1994, was produced by CBS TV Distribution predecessor Paramount Domestic TV.