The new network FXX, FX’s comedy-centric cable station, has axed its late-night program Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell due to low ratings. Bell’s show worked on FX playing once a week. During the last leg of its first season, Totally Biased attracted 372,000 pairs of eyeballs on average.
Bell seemed to always be on edge about how long FX would keep his show on television, even though it is executive produced by Chris Rock and well-liked by the suits at FX. In an interview with the Laughspin Podcast this past summer, the host told Laughspin editor Dylan Gadino that he never really decorated his office when he set up shop. “I very actively didn’t put things on walls because I felt like that was bad luck. We all know it doesn’t make sense [for me] to have a TV show, so let’s not nail things,” he said. “I’ll write a book someday about the summer I had a TV show. But I don’t want to scuff the desk because I’ll have to pay for it.”
There are several factors to take into consideration when seeing such a massive drop-off in audience. For one thing, FXX is a brand new channel that many may not be aware they even have. Moreso, the channel is carried in 26 million fewer homes than FX. Also, when comparing Totally Biased to the next least-performing show hosted by Pete Holmes, news website Grantland.com makes the point that FXX is an entirely new channel that launched this past September where other stations like TBS have been around for a couple decades. Finally, the show although brilliant had a niche audience, the type of audience where more turned out for the 1am re-run than the original airing (sometimes the re-run had as much as three times more audience members). The show will be missed in the selection of late-night talk shows that range from traditional desk-interviews with Jimmy Fallon to celebrity gossip panels on Chelsea Lately to faux-game shows with the new @midnight. Totally Biased, had it been given more time to grow on a network that also needed time to grow, might have still had a chance to reach more minds.
The final new episode will air tonight at 11 pm EST. FXX will continue to air repeats of the show for the rest of the week. Totally Biased was scheduled to go on hiatus after this week.