Parker Spitzer‘s awkward partnership is about to end, with Kathleen Parker reportedly headed for the exit. VIEW OUR GALLERY of more disastrous TV pairings, from Hannity and Colmes to Seacrest and Dunkleman.
Marriage has never been Eliot Spitzer’s strong suit. With ratings in the basement and critics roundly panning Parker Spitzer, the months-old CNN talk show he co-hosts with Kathleen Parker, it looks like their chemistry-free cable TV partnership may be coming to an end. This week, The Wall Street Journal reported the network is considering replacing Parker, who reportedly has been “furious” that the ex-governor was upstaging her.
It’s hardly the first television marriage to crumble. From CNN’s “fire and ice” pairing of Anderson Cooper and Aaron Brown after Hurricane Katrina to American Idol‘s quick-changing of Brian Dunkleman for a solo Ryan Seacrest, TV has a long history of awkward on-screen divorces. VIEW OUR GALLERY of co-hosts who didn’t quite make it work.
The primetime marriage between disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kathleen Parker was doomed from the start. Their show, Parker Spitzer, premiered on CNN to a lackluster 460,000 viewers, lagging far behind its competitors, Fox's The O'Reilly Factor and MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olbermann.
The reviews were equally dreadful, with The New York Times saying Spitzer's scandal 'cast an awkward shadow' over the pair's chemistry and gave the show an 'ickiness factor,' while the New York Post headlined its review: 'Freak show unbearable to watch.'
And if the poor ratings and reviews weren't enough, there have been numerous reports of tension on the set, with Parker reportedly furious over being upstaged by Spitzer, leading to her allegedly storming off the set. Now, rumours are flying that CNN executives may dump Parker because they're unhappy with the show's performance.
Before 'Seacrest… OUT!' there was Dunkleman. Yes, the ubiquitous entertainment personality actually shared hosting duties on the first season of Fox's American Idol with stand-up comedian Brian Dunkleman. Despite being the highest rated show on TV after its first season, leading Jeff Zucker, then-chief executive of rival network NBC Universal, to say, 'I think Idol is the most impactful show in the history of television,' Dunkleman announced that he had 'decided not to return for Season Two in order to pursue other opportunities in the world of TV and feature films.'
Dunkleman also allegedly quit because he was unhappy with the way the show manipulated its contestants through various methods. The ex-Idol host, whose acting career has been limited to a few failed TV pilots and guest spots, has since admitted that quitting Fox's ratings titan was 'such a big mistake in judgment, it's embarrassing,' and he's still piping mad at his former co-host, Ryan Seacrest. Dunkleman, out.
On June 1, 1993, Connie Chung became the second woman (after Barbara Walters with ABC in 1976) to co-anchor a major network's national news broadcast, sharing hosting duties with Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News. However, just two years later, amid mounting tension between the two co-anchors, with Rather reportedly advising Chung, in a patronizing fashion, to sharpen her journalism chops, she was canned by CBS executives.
Although she alleged sexism was the reason for her termination, their show was in last place behind ABC and NBC, and critics blamed it on Chung's frequent on-air gaffes, including her notorious interview with Newt Gingrich's mother--resulting in Gingrich whispering into Chung's ear and calling then-first lady Hillary Clinton a 'bitch.' Chung was fired from the CBS Evening News five months later and defected to ABC News, where she co-hosted the Monday edition of 20/20 with Charles Gibson.
Since their awkward split, both Chung and Rather's careers have gradually fizzled, with Chung's dreadful 2006 show, Weekends with Maury and Connie on MSNBC, co-hosted with husband Maury Povich, canceled after less than a year, and Rather's eventual departure from CBS News--and then CBS, entirely--presumably for his role in the Killian documents controversy, in which he reported, and then retracted, a disputed story about President Bush's National Guard service.
From Sept. 11, 2001, to Nov. 7, 2005, NewsNight With Aaron Brown ran in the prime-time slot on CNN. However, following rising star Anderson Cooper's noteworthy coverage of Hurricane Katrina, CNN execs decided to let Cooper share co-anchoring duties with Brown. Critics were initially sceptical of the addition, criticising the show for its new 'cute and unnecessary elements.'
After just a month on the job--which saw plenty of awkwardness between the two hosts--Brown was gone, and replaced by Cooper. Cooper went on to become the face of CNN, while Brown was basically held hostage, since he was still under contract with CNN until July 2007. He ended up teaching, spending a semester as the John J. Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, and hitting the links.
'There's nothing like getting paid--it's even better to get paid and not go to work,' said Brown in 2007. He added, 'I was very uncomfortable at the end with where they wanted it to go. I didn't think the viewers were behind me when we did dumb television.'
When the then-fledgling Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes was in development in the mid-1990s, Hannity was chosen so far in advance of Colmes that Fox staffers took to referring to the show as 'Hannity & Liberal to Be Determined.'
Immediately, critics thought Hannity's telegenic presence and aggressive style was mismatched with Colmes' more mild-mannered, centrist liberalism. A review in the U.K.'s Sunday Business Post said Colmes 'acts essentially as a sacrificial lamb and may as well not be there,' and American newspapers began referring to him as Hannity's 'sidekick.' Web forums lit up with discussion of Holmes' appearance, with one poster calling him 'the ugliest man on television.'
Not surprisingly, when Colmes decided to retire from the show in 2009, Fox re-titled the show to reflect what its content had always been: Hannity.
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