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Affair Ending; Geraldo Returns

Twentieth Television today announced the long-rumored cancellation of A Current Affair, which it will replace with Geraldo at Large, a live, first-run strip hosted by Fox News Channel's Geraldo Rivera.

The new show will be produced in New York and distributed by Twentieth Television. It will slot into A Current Affair's time periods on Fox's O&Os when Affair goes off the air next month.

Fox has been expected to give its owned stations a more Fox News-like branding given the success of its cable news net. Fox News Channel architect Roger Ailes took over the station group several weeks ago, following the departure of former News Corp. Deputy COO and Station Group Chairman Lachlan Murdoch.

"News is a key driver for the Fox owned-and-operated stations and Geraldo at Large will serve as a strong complement to our local stations' newscasts," said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, in a statement.

"We are very proud of the effort put forth into A Current Affair, which displayed some exceptional work but has not resonated with audiences in the larger markets as well as we would have liked," said Bob Cook, president and COO of Twentieth Television, in the release.

According to one source, Twentieth went so far as to reunite staffers from the 1980s version, from producers to secretaries, to try and recapture the magic of the original Affair.

The show, which has been on for 26 weeks through last Friday. It averaged a 2.5 rating/5 share weighted metered market average for primary runs. Averaging in all runs would have produced an even lower number. As is, the show was down 26% from its average lead-in and down 22% from its year-ago time period average.

In the biggest markets, the performance was even less impressive. In New York it was underperforming its 6:30 p.m. year-ago time period by 53%, and was down from its year-ago time period by 37% in L.A. and 48% in Chicago.