PARAMOUNT CANCELS TROUBLED DR. LAURA SHOW

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(March 30, 2001) -- Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Domestic Television won't renew the low-rated and controversial Dr. Laura show in daytime syndication, according to a statememt released by Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the show's host.

Dr. Schlessinger has been hounded by remarks she made regarding homosexuals as "biological errors" that spurred a campaign by gay and lesbian groups to have Paramount pull the show. Groups also urged companies to stop advertising, and some did.

But analysts say what really hurt the show -- which offers advice on marriage, family and other issues -- was its shrinking audience, which dropped from its highest rating of 1.8, when the show premiered last fall, to a 0.9 recently. The show had been revamped several times to stop the slide.

A number of advertisers also left Dr. Schlessinger's radio show, which is distributed by the Premiere Radio Networks. But her radio show is still a strong property, attracting a large number of listeners. -- Wayne Friedman

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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