Not even the strippers and porn stars who once paraded around the set of Howard Stern's weekly syndicated TV series, The Howard Stern Radio Show, could boost ratings enough to keep the show on the air.
The show's three-year run ends on Saturday after a dismal 1.7 rating so far this season, down 15 percent from this time last year.
A spokeswoman for King World, the show's syndicator, said the decision to pull the plug on the show was Stern's.
Insiders, however, cite other reasons for the show's cancellation: The ratings may be raunchy, but they're not the whole issue. The show's content is notoriously raunchy, too, and Roger King, chairman of King World, the company that syndicated Stern's show, has made it very plain that he wants to maintain family-friendly content.
Clearly, Stern doesn't fit the bill.
Marc Berman of Mediaweek.com agrees, and so do viewers. The show did well in urban markets, Berman told PageSix.com, but "they had a lot of problems clearing the shows in other markets because of its content."
Stern may also have oversaturated the markets where his show was accepted: the now-canceled syndicated version was not much different from The Howard Stern Show, which airs nightly on the E! Entertainment cable network.
Apparently, viewers caught on, and Stern added animation and graphics to the syndicated show. Guess they just weren't enough.
Beyond the ratings game and the dubious quality of the content, "Howard is not big news right now," Berman said. "And he's lost a lot of his oomph." Ouch!