Cedric the Entertainer to Depart 'Millionaire'

After one season hosting Disney/ABC’s syndicated game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Cedric the Entertainer is departing.

“Cedric is a tremendous talent and we'd like to thank him for infusing his unique brand of humor and entertainment into the show,” said Disney/ABC in a statement. “It has been an absolute pleasure working with him on Millionaire this year -- we'll certainly miss him.”

Explaining his decision, Cedric cited his busy film and television schedule and the show’s pending move to Connecticut, which offers a helpful tax break to TV and film productions.

“With the many television and film projects that I have going on which shoot and promote in various parts of the country, a production-base in Connecticut would make it quite difficult to maneuver the many moving parts on my plate,” Cedric said in a statement. “So, after much thought and some serious conversations with senior executives at the studio, I decided to let Disney-ABC know that, unfortunately, I’m not able to continue on as host.”

Among his ongoing projects are the third season of TV Land's The Soul Man, on which he stars and executive produces and The CW's new reality show, Cedric's Barber Battle, that he hosts and executive produces. He's also scheduled ot host The Critics' Choice Television Awards on June 19, and is working on several feature films. Finally, he hosts his own podcast, "The Whole Damn World." 

Cedric took over as host of the long-running game after Meredith Vieira departed last spring. Vieira — who hosted the show for 11 seasons, while also anchoring NBC’s The Today Show — is launching her own daytime talk show this fall.

Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud watched its ratings go sky-high after FremantleMedia North America, the show’s producer, replaced John O’Hurley with popular African-American comedian Steve Harvey. Family Feud now typically averages a 5.0 live plus same day household rating, putting it in syndication’s top ten, and beats genre leaders Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! in the key female 25-54 demographics. Overall, daytime TV indexes higher among African-American audiences, and production companies have been working to put more people of color — such as Harvey, Live with Kelly and Michael’s Michael Strahan, Wendy Williams and the upcoming cast of Warner Bros.’ The Real — in front of the camera.

Millionaire has not seen a similar ratings bump, however. Season-to-date compared to last year, Who Wants to Be Millionaire is flat in households, but down 18% among women 25-54. Other than its flat household rating, Millionaire is down year-to-year across the board, except in viewers, where it’s up 1%. By comparison, Family Feud is up across all demos except women 18-34 and women 18-49.

According to Deadline.com, which first broke this story, Disney/ABC is now considering Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Terry Crews to host the show.

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.