Second time doesn’t stick for Ricki Lake — talker gets canceled


LOS ANGELES — “The Ricki Lake Show” is a casualty of the daytime talker surplus.

Twentieth Television, the show’s distributor, will not renew the syndicated gabfest for the 2013-14 season; episodes will continue airing through September.

“We would like to thank Ricki Lake as well as Executive Producer Gail Steinberg and the entire staff for their work this season,” Stephen Brown, executive vice president of programming and development for Twentieth Television, said in a statement. “While we are proud of the topics the program tackled, including childhood obesity, life after the military, divorce, and addiction, we were simply not able to break through the crowded talk show marketplace.”

The show launched in September and marked Lake’s return to daytime after a nine-year absence. She previously helmed successful ’90s talker “Ricki Lake” — one that often outrated daytime queen Oprah Winfrey’s show. But Lake’s daytime power would appear to have waned as she faced new challengers. “The Ricki Lake Show” was one of a crowd of talk shows launching last fall — up against talkers from Jeff Probst, Katie Couric and Steve Harvey.

Last summer, Lake told the Los Angeles Times that she was prepared for a reality check from the cluttered daytime circuit.

“Now, a hit is getting a 1 rating,” she said. “The system is so different now. Even Oprah needed some time to get into her groove.”

But Lake couldn’t get her groove back in time.

The show had low viewership (averaging under a million viewers) and a season-to-date 0.7 household rating. For comparison, Couric’s recently-renewed talker was pulling in a 1.9 rating. Moreover, “The Ricki Lake Show” proved unable to boost viewership compared with the time period’s numbers from a year ago.

“I am so proud of the shows we completed this season, sparking important conversations about everything from raising children to mental illness to suicide prevention to coming out,” Lake said in a statement. “I will continue to be an active and passionate voice for subjects that are close to my heart through a variety of platforms _ and a return to my documentary filmmaking work with Abby Epstein. I am excited to create meaningful and provocative films similar to our 2007 project, ‘The Business of Being Born’.”