Syndication: Pieces Falling Into Place for 2022-23 TV Season

Sherri Shepherd in 'Sherri'
'Dish Nation' host Sherri Shepherd’s new talker will take the Fox timeslots filled by 'Wendy Williams' in 2022-23. (Image credit: Debmar-Mercury)

The picture is becoming clear for the 2022-23 syndicated TV season. Fox and Hearst Television have picked up The Jennifer Hudson Show from Warner Bros. and Debmar-Mercury’s Sherri, starring  Sherri Shepherd, will take the time slots of Wendy Williams, the host of which is battling medical problems. 

“As the syndication business continues to go through a major sea change, we need power players to reenergize talk shows and Jennifer Hudson is just that,” said Frank Cicha, executive VP, programming, Fox Television Stations, in a statement.

Debmar-Mercury also decided to cancel rookie talker Nick Cannon, which has hovered between a 0.4 and a 0.5 live-plus-same-day national household rating since it launched in September, per Nielsen. 

“It’s never easy to cancel a production with clear potential but, after a great deal of deliberation and examining various options, we have made the difficult business decision to end production on Nick Cannon,” Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein said in a statement provided to B+C Multichannel News. “We plan to offer viewers original episodes of the daytime talk show through the remainder of this season.”

Whether Wendy Williams returns to television remains in question. Williams has been sidelined all season as she deals with medical issues. Debmar-Mercury made clear when it announced Sherri that it would be willing to work with Williams again should she return to health. Wendy Williams executive producer David Perler will also executive produce and be the showrunner of Sherri.  

Shepherd will also continue to host Dish Nation, which airs on Fox stations and others in syndication.

“This is also a bittersweet moment for us and our partners at Fox,” Debmar-
Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein said in a statement. “We all have a great love and affinity for Wendy, who grew into a true icon during her 12 incredible seasons as the solo host of a live, daily talk show dishing on ‘Hot Topics’ and interviewing celebrities. 

“Since Wendy is still not available to host the show as she continues on her road to recovery, we believe it is best for our fans, stations and advertising partners to start making this transition now. We hope to be able to work with Wendy again in the future, and continue to wish her a speedy and full recovery.” 

Another new series that’s coming on the scene is NBCUniversal’s Karamo Brown, starring one of the hosts of Netflix’s Queer Eye. Brown — who has guest-hosted NBCU’s uber-conflict talker Maury — is expected to start airing on The CW affiliates and other stations this fall. Maury, hosted by 83-year-old Maury Povich, is going out of original production this spring but will continue to air on stations in repeats, just as Jerry Springer does. NBCUniversal hasn’t yet made any announcements about pick-ups of Karamo Brown, but that show is expected to go forward with Maury EP Paul Faulhaber behind the producing wheel.

NBCU has been trying to change up its lineup of conflict talkers for years, with Tribune Broadcasting — before it was acquired by Nexstar Media Group — also trying its hand at a few shows, starring the likes of Ohio talk radio host Bill Cunningham and Restaurant: Impossible’s Robert Irvine. Maury ran for a total of 30 seasons, Jerry Springer for 28 and is headed into its fifth season in repeats, and Steve Wilkos is in season 15. NBCU hopes Karamo Brown will refresh the conflict genre and appeal to younger viewers. 

Meanwhile, NBCU will end Judge Jerry, starring Springer, after this season, the show’s third in syndication. Judge Jerry is executive-produced by Kerry Shannon. 

No Second Helping for ‘Dish’

Sony had been working to renew The Good Dish — hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz’s daughter Daphne, Top Chef’s Gail Simmons and Food Network’s Jamika Pessoa — but the show will not go forward into next year. When the show launched on January 17 as a replacement for Oz, it was only guaranteed to run through this season. In the food-focused panel talker’s favor was advertiser-friendly content and a lack of other new product in the market. Working against it was that after a little more than a month on the air, it has turned in lower household ratings than its predecessor. 

Coming back for season three is CBS Media Ventures’s Drew Barrymore, averaging a 0.6 in households in its sophomore season. 

Next year, the show will be split into two half-hours, which stations can run back to back or separately. CBS-owned stations will pair Drew with local news in top markets and air the second half-hour on its duopoly stations, sources said.Good bets for going away are CBS’s The Doctors, hosted by Dr. Andrew Ordon, and Warner Bros.’s The Real, hosted by Garcelle Beauvais, Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai Jenkins. The Doctors has been stuck at a 0.2 in households for the past year, while The Real turns in around a 0.4. ■

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.