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KJZZ-TV cancels 2 shows, lays off 22

SHARE KJZZ-TV cancels 2 shows, lays off 22

The economy, low viewership and a lack of revenue were blamed for the cancellation of two relatively new local TV shows on KJZZ this past week and the loss of at least 22 full-time jobs.

Managers at KJZZ decided Friday to cancel "KJZZ Cafe" and "Home Team," both formerly seen in the morning on Ch. 14 Monday through Friday.

"It probably came as somewhat of a surprise to the people," said Randy Rigby, president and CEO of Larry Miller Sports and Entertainment Group, which owns KJZZ. Rigby said he supported KJZZ-TV general manager Chris Baum's decision to cancel the shows.

Rigby said "KJZZ Cafe" had been on the air in the mornings from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. less than a year and "Home Team" lasted only about four months. Some employees who worked on those programs were offered severance packages, Rigby said. Several part-time workers also lost their jobs as a result of the cancellations.

When "KJZZ Cafe" debuted earlier this year, Deseret News TV critic Scott Pierce used words like "bland," "cheap," "ill conceived" and "poorly executed" to describe the program. The "KJZZ Cafe" Web site said the show featured three hosts who serve up news and issues "with a hefty side of observation, analysis and opinion." Immediately after "KJZZ Cafe," the news/talk show "Home Team" offered a variety of topics from relationships and healthy living to cooking and home life.

Rigby said KJZZ tried to make both shows work, but neither was getting the viewers and revenue needed in already tough economic times. Belt-tightening in other areas of the Sports and Entertainment Group, he added, prevented absorbing anyone from either show into another area.

"In business, you try new programs and ideas," Rigby said. Some obviously don't work out, he added, and unfortunately people lose their jobs. "Those are the hard decisions you have to make."

Rigby said among the new shows KJZZ has tried this year, the nightly sports news program "Powerhouse," hosted by Alema Harrington, appears to be doing well.