Bonnie Hunt has told her staffers that her daytime talk show will end its two-season run in September.
Industry insiders confirm Hunt’s chat with employees, but stress that technically, producer Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution hasn’t made any formal announcement on "The Bonnie Hunt Show," and likely never will.
The NBC station group — home to many of Hunt’s key station clearances — holds the key to "Bonnie’s" fate, and while it also hasn’t announced its future plans, it seems highly unlikely it would renew the show.
One reason why: "Bonnie" fetches a license fee from local stations that air it, supplying Warners with a guaranteed revenue stream for the show. But most local station groups have made it clear that, at least for next season, they’re only interested in new shows with so-called "barter" deals, where stations pay no money upfront but agree to split ad revenues with the syndicator.
Industry insiders believe station groups will be just as averse to paying license fees for existing shows such as "Bonnie" that draw only so-so ratings.
Because of all this, Hunt’s speech to staffers (first reported by PerezHilton.com) is likely a recognition of the inevitable.
Indeed, many syndicated insiders have considered "Bonnie" a dead show walking since the middle of last season, when it became clear that the show’s ratings weren’t improving. E! Online columnist Ted Casablanca even hinted (inaccurately) that the show was doomed — in October 2008.
However, Warners and NBC had two-year deals for "Bonnie" in place, giving the show extra time to find its audience. Warners could have canceled the series last spring, but opted to show faith in "Bonnie" in the hopes that it would grow this season.
But while the show hasn’t collapsed, it hasn’t upticked either since last season, making cancellation all but certain. "Bonnie" is averaging around a 0.9 rating this fall, the same as last year.
Attention now turns to what NBC stations will air instead of "Bonnie" next season. One possibility: Repeats of Bravo’s "Real Housewives" franchise. NBC stations snapped up the rights to the franchise last August.