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The 'Magic' Is Gone - From TV


Earvin "Magic" Johnson's success on the basketball court didn't follow him into television.

The former Los Angeles Lakers star's late-night talk show, The Magic Hour, was canceled Thursday after two months of low ratings and critical jabs.

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The final original episode aired Thursday night. The show's most highly rated show, featuring Howard Stern, one of the series' most venomous critics, was scheduled to air tonight. Other reruns will fill the time slot for the next four weeks.

"I'm blessed to have had this opportunity to have worked with such a talented production staff and crew," Johnson said. "I've learned a lot from this experience. ... We were improving with each day, but this is television and shows are canceled all the time for one reason or another."

Rick Jacobson, president of Twentieth Television, which produces and distributes The Magic Hour, canceled the show after consulting with station managers across the country.

"A number of stations had told us that, based on the ratings, the show was going to be downgraded in its time period," Jacobson said. "The fall season is starting, and these stations have to make their programming and schedule lineups. We had to decide whether it was prudent to go forward, and we owed it to the stations to tell them what we were doing."

The show enjoyed its best ratings since its June 8 debut after comedian Tommy Davidson became Johnson's sidekick on July 20. "But it still would not have been enough to stop the downgrades," Jacobson said.

Producers had hoped to rely on Johnson's star power to attract viewers, but the show has been hit hard with problems ranging from the former point guard's obvious on-camera nervousness to a lack of chemistry with his original sidekick, comedian Craig Shoemaker.

When Shoemaker publicly criticized his diminishing air time on the show, he was fired.

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