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Cunningham Quits Daytime TV

Premiere Networks

He wasn't canceled, he quit. Or retired.

WLW-AM talk host Bill Cunningham told his radio audience Friday that he's ending his daytime CW TV network "Bill Cunningham Show" after five seasons.

"I just don't want to work this hard," said Cunningham, 68. "I told them (Tribune Broadcasting) last night I'm done. I'm done with television."

Credit Tribune Broadcasting
The "Bill Cunningham Show" airs afternoons on the CW network.

Cunningham says he's committed to do 300 radio shows a year until 2020 at WLW-AM. That apparently includes the 10 p.m. Sunday night Premiere Radio Network show.

Tribune had offered a new contract to tape 400 TV shows over the next three years, through summer of 2019, he said.

When contemplating his future, Cunningham said that "I said I've got to do one or the other (TV or radio). I love radio. This is my life."

Although never a TV ratings hit in his hometown – averaging 0.4 rating point and 1% audience share at 3 p.m. on Channel 12.2 in household ratings– "Bill Cunningham" was very successful nationally. His show was No. 1 or No. 2 in the target demographic (ages 18-49) in his time period in many markets, including New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, Washington D.C. and New Orleans.

To do both daily TV and radio, Cunningham would fly to New York on Monday night; tape three TV shows a day Tuesday through Friday; tape or broadcast his afternoon radio show from an adjacent radio studio; and fly home Friday night. Last year he expanded his grueling schedule and taped two years of TV shows, so the entire 2015-16 TV season was finished before the season started last September.

Cunningham told listeners Friday that ending the TV show would give him more time with his two grandchildren. He also said that when former WLW-AM "SportsTalk" host Bob Trumpy visited his radio show last month, Trumpy said his "biggest regret" was missing watching his children grow up due to his radio and TV duties.

"It came down to deciding that I'm going to live my life," Cunningham said Friday. "I don't want to live on this treadmill from Monday night to Saturday morning."

Credit Tribune Broadcasting
One of the 75 "Cunningham Show"TV employees applies makeup to the host before a TV show taping.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.