As recently as May 21, Skyview Networks was cheering the success of a newly syndicated radio show based at a legendary Los Angeles hip-hop radio station. In its first rating period, Nick Cannon Radio was No. 1 with adults 18-49 and with women 18-34 at WGZB “B96” in Louisville.
Now, B96 will be considering an alternative for the foreseeable future.
That’s because Nick Cannon, who rose to fame on Season Five of Nickelodeon’s kids sketch comedy show All That in the late 1990s and today is a widely known multimedia star, is pausing for reflection after making statements judged as anti-Semitic on his podcast.
As has been widely reported, ViacomCBS “terminated” its relationship with Cannon in response to comments made in a conversation with former Public Enemy rapper Professor Griff on his podcast Cannon’s Class. In the episode, Cannon brought validity to several Jewish conspiracy theories regarding banking and control, noting that the conversation was not hateful because “Semitic people are black people,” adding, “You can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people.”
Cannon also vocalized his support of Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan.
ViacomCBS quickly responded, effectively scuttling Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out after some 15 seasons. It has aired on VH1 since summer 2019 and prior to that was on MTV. The dismissal was a sudden and unexpected end to a relationship that spanned two decades, and spurred a career in radio.
From 2010-2012, he hosted the morning show on a now-defunct Top 40 station in New York that is today WNYL-FM “Alt 92.3.” On Monday, June 17, 2019, he returned to hosting a daily radio program. Meruelo Media-owned KPWR-FM “Power 106” in Los Angeles hired Cannon to produce its morning show, replacing “The Cruz Show.”
By then, Cannon’s star power had grown even bigger than his days at the old CBS Radio station known as “92.3 NOW.” He’d been the emcee of NBC’s America’s Got Talent since 2013.
In December 2019, national syndication of his Nick Cannon Radio program arrived, with Skyview Networks working to help bring the program — or, at least, a variant of it — a national audience, pitched as a five-hour weekday afternoon and/or weekend offering to rhythmic and hip-hop radio stations. The daily syndicated program debuted January 27; the weekend show came in February 2020.
With the fallout from ViacomCBS’s dismissal growing, and Cannon’s apologies via Facebook growing, the star on Thursday morning addressed his “morning radio family” by sharing he’s taking an indefinite leave of absence from daily duties at Power 106, impacting Skyview’s affiliates.
“I have decided to take some time away from my radio show so I can commit myself to deeper, more thorough reflection and education,” Cannon said. “I will use this time to establish an action plan towards real, impactful change and advocacy aimed at bringing people together.”
Cannon added that he continues to express “gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders and institutions who have reached out to me to help enlighten me. Their input and friendship will help me as I further commit myself to more profound learning and towards strengthening the bond between the Black and Jewish cultures every day going forward.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Director of Global Social Action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was among those contacted by Cannon. “My first words to my brother was, ‘I apologize for the hurt I caused the Jewish Community,'” he said via Facebook. “On my podcast I used words and referenced literature I assumed to be factual to uplift my community, but instead turned out to be hateful propaganda and stereotypical rhetoric that pained another community. For this I am deeply sorry, but now together we can write a new chapter of healing.”
Cannon also confirmed that the video of his interview with Professor Griff has been taken down from all distribution points.
In a statement, Skyview Networks said, “Nick Cannon has begun a period of self-reflection to address the pain he caused, and while we recognize his apology, this time is needed to establish an action plan towards real change and advocacy. During this period, production of the Nick Cannon Radio show will pause. Skyview Networks values all communities and faiths and we expect all programs and personalities we syndicate to adhere to these principles.”
A Skyview representative tells RBR+TVBR that it is looking at several options regarding replacement programming for its affiliates. While Cannon’s shows have been produced for July 16 and 17, it was not known if affiliates would be airing them.
As of midday Thursday, Pacific time, Meruelo Media had not offered comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, one of the two hottest programs discussed at NATPE Miami in January is now in question. As of April, the Nick Cannon daily syndicated talk show offered to broadcast TV affiliates by Debmar-Mercury had been locked in by so many stations, that 90% nationwide coverage could be confirmed.
A Sept. 21 program debut date had been announced. Coverage in all of the Top 20 markets and 29 of the top 30 markets — a huge achievement — had been seen.
In fact, for Nick Cannon, stations owned by FOX, CBS, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Hearst Television, Nexstar Media Group (and stations it operates licensed to Mission), Cox Media Group, Meredith Corp., TEGNA, Capitol Broadcasting Corp. in Raleigh, Gray Television and Ed Ansin-owned Sunbeam Television had committed to the show.
Co-produced by Debmar-Mercury and Cannon’s production company, Ncredible Entertainment, the New York-based, cash-plus-barter talk show was billed to offer the daytime audience “a fun and entertaining hub for the multi-talented performer’s comedy, knowledge of pop culture and celebrity interviews.”
Now, even that project could go up in flames — presenting local TV with a potentially big hole to fill in the 2020-2021 season.
“There is no comment today,” a Debmar-Mercury spokesperson told RBR+TVBR.
According to media reports, FOX will keep him in his role as the host of The Masked Singer. For the last year, it has been one of the network’s top-performing prime-time shows.
“When we were made aware of Nick Cannon’s interview with Richard Griffin on YouTube, we immediately began a dialogue with Nick,” FOX News reports. “He is clear and remorseful that his words were wrong and lacked both understanding and context, and inadvertently promoted hate. This was important for us to observe.
“Nick has sincerely apologized, and quickly taken steps to educate himself and make amends. On that basis and given a belief that this moment calls for dialogue, we will move forward with Nick and help him advance this important conversation, broadly. Fox condemns all forms of hate directed toward any community and we will combat bigotry of any kind.”