EXCLUSIVE: TV Guide Channel has canceled its entertainment news show Hollywood 411. The last edition of the weekly celebrity newsmagazine anchored by The Bachelor host Chris Harrison will air this Sunday. As a result of the cancellation, 25 production staff positions associated with the show are being eliminated. The network is in discussions with Harrison, who also has hosted TV Guide red-carpet coverage, about possible future hosting and producing opportunities. The cancellation comes a couple of weeks after programming head Diana Robina quietly exited TV Guide Network after a year-and-a-half stint as EVP Programming and Marketing, though I hear the two are not related. TV Guide Network did try different formats with Hollywood 411, which started off as a weekly magazine, then switched to a daily and then to a weekly again while also alternating between a one- and two-host model. But the show never quite found an audience in the crowded entertainment/celebrity news space (though its ratings were consistent with TV Guide’s averages). Despite that, TV Guide still plans to keep its toe in the arena — a new entertainment news show is now in active development. It is unclear if it would utilize the new set build for Hollywood 411 a few months ago.
Robina had come from the Lionsgate side of the partnership that owns TV Guide Network (and TVGuide.com) along with One Equity Partners and former Dick Clark Prods CEO Allen Shapiro. I hear TV Guide Network chairman Shapiro — who had focused on shoring up the channel’s distribution for the past year or so, recently signing a new long-term carriage deal with Time Warner Cable — will now oversee programming hands-on, working with the team Robina put in place. Her position is not expected to be replaced, at least for now. Following TV Guide’s 2009 purchase by Lionsgate, the network put an emphasis on off-network acquisitions with deals for Ugly Betty, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Lionsgate’s Weeds. But while synicated fare still remains part of the mix, the focus seems to have gradually shifted towards original fare, a trend that will probably get even stronger after the ratings records for the series premiere of the SallyAnn Salsano-produced Nail Files last month. The network is staying in the celebreality genre with the recently announced Hollywood Mom’s Club, which is slated to premiere in November.
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