Samantha Bee canceled: end of “Full Frontal”
Samantha Bee’s ‘Full Frontal’ Gets a Kick in the Back from Warner Bros. Discovery.
The show, which became a flagship show on major cable network TBS, “will not be returning to the network in the fall,” according to a statement from Bee representatives.
“As we continue to shape our new programming strategy, we have made some difficult business decisions,” TBS said in a statement. “We are proud to have hosted ‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’ and thank Sam and the rest of the Emmy-nominated crew for their groundbreaking work. We celebrate these extraordinarily talented cast and crew and look forward to exploring new opportunities to work with them in the future.
Over seven seasons, Bee’s “Full Frontal” brought an aggressive, sassy voice to the late-night arena of television, and one of the few programs led by a female point of view. Bee captured attention with outrageous humor and monologues that drove the usually genial cable network into embracing copious amounts of profanity and tackling often polarizing political issues. In 2018, the show became part of the news cycle when Bee used a loaded epithet that references part of the female anatomy to insult President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. Advertisers withdrew commercial support for a time.
“We’re doing a show to please ourselves,” Bee said. Variety during a 2016 interview. “It gives us the opportunity to say the things we want the exact way we want to say them.” In the process, its viewers get a few laughs, but can also exorcise their frustrations with modern politics and culture. When Bee watches television, she says, “I like a steady hand to take me somewhere. I think that’s what we do with the show – provide a steady hand. You might not like where it takes you, and that’s okay either. She hopes viewers will “walk away with the comedy first, then the catharsis afterwards.”
The end of his show will come as television continues to scale back its late-night antics. WarnerMedia decided to end its late night show “Conan” on TBS with Conan O’Brien in June last year. NBC and late-night host Lilly Singh, a digital entertainment influencer who launched a new show on the network in the wee hours of the morning, decided to go their separate ways last year. Comedy Central, which once offered three different late-night shows, now has just one, “The Daily Show,” airing regularly on weeknights. Showtime’s “Desus & Mero,” a weekly comedy showcase, is not returning to Showtime thanks to a fallout between its hosts. And CBS is considering cheaper alternatives to replace James Corden when he leaves “The Late Late Show” in early 2023.
The end of “Full Frontal” comes as Warner Bros. Discovery has cut its content spend for major cable networks like TBS and TNT. Granted, outlets continue to show movies and have added more sports nights, thanks to a recent rights deal struck between Warner Bros. Discovery and the NHL. But TBS has cut back on scripted series, with shows such as “Chad” and “The Last OG” dropping in recent weeks. Brett Weitz, chief executive of TBS, TNT and TruTV, left the company in May after cable networks consolidated under Kathleen Finch, head of Warner Bros. Discovery. Weitz had been a strong supporter of “Full Frontal”.
“Full Frontal” presaged a new parade of weekly late-night comedy shows that were aimed at smaller niches rather than larger crowds. Once Bee’s program gained traction, BET tried a similar showcase for Robin Thede – produced by the same company behind Bee. Comedy Central tried a weekly program run by Charlamagne Tha God.
Bee has often surprised viewers by traveling to remote locations, landing interviews with interesting analysts, and giving time to new voices like Amy Hoggart, Mike Rubens, and Ashely Nicole Black. One of his funniest segments centered on his attempt to procure a costume of NRA mascot Eddie the Eagle – and found it harder than buying guns. “Full Frontal” was recently nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series category.