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Warner Bros Discovery cancels comedy news show “Full Frontal”

A still frame from the TBS program "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee." (Image courtesy Warner Bros Discovery, Graphic by The Desk)
A still frame from the TBS program “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” (Image courtesy Warner Bros Discovery, Graphic by The Desk)

The TBS comedy news program “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” will not be returning from its summer hiatus, executives with the network’s parent company Warner Bros Discovery affirmed this week.

On Monday, a TBS spokesperson said the decision to cut the program was part of a broader “programming strategy” at the network. It comes as Warner Bros Discovery has cut back on original programming, both scripted and unscripted, since Discovery merged with WarnerMedia following the latter’s spin-off from former parent company AT&T earlier this year. In May, a Warner Bros Discovery executive said viewership data and other metrics would help the company decide which shows to keep and which to cancel.

Full Frontal debuted in 2016 as the first female-led comedy news program on domestic television. The show was hosted by Samantha Bee, a former correspondent with Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” Bee was one of several Daily Show correspondents to land her own comedy news program following the exit of Jon Stewart in 2015.

Bee’s show debuted in the Monday evening time-slot and was scheduled weekly on TBS. In early 2017, the show moved to Wednesday evenings, with a weekend replay on Saturday.

The show was syndicated internationally and was available to viewers in Canada (the Comedy Channel), New Zealand (Duke), Australia (Viceland) and Germany (TNT Comedy).

The last episode of Full Frontal was taped in mid-June, with Bee hosting the program from a remote location after being diagnosed with the coronavirus.

“I know the other late night shows took the week off when they got covid, but I’m not like those other guys — I need attention,” Bee said in her opening monologue.

In the closing scene of what would be the final episode, Bee was revealed to be in Paris. While playing the accordion, she told viewers that she was “coming back to America,” though it wasn’t clear if she knew the program was destined to be canceled at that time.

It is also unclear if a companion podcast called “Full Release with Samantha Bee” will continue now that the television series has been axed. The podcast, produced in partnership with SiriusXM’s Earwolf, featured in-depth interviews with newsmakers, celebrities, politicians and other notable individuals.

The last episode of Full Release, which offered an hour-long interview with actress Pamela Adlon, was published in late April. Since then, the show has re-distributed episodes that were previously published.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Bee’s last podcast interview was with Pamela Anderson. It was with Pamela Adlon.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).