CNN has announced that they are ending the D.L. Hughley Breaks the News TV show after a short run of only a few months. The looming question is if it’s truly just a matter of logistics, or whether the news network got more than what they bargained for with the controversial host.
D.L. Hughley has been a popular comic for the past decade and recently co-starred on NBC’s ill-fated Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Breaks the News debuted on CNN on October 25, 2008 as a comedy news show, shown weekly on Saturday nights. The self-described “news junkie” wanted to let everyone know that “This ain’t your daddy’s CNN.” He interviewed a typical assortment of newsmakers, pundits, and ordinary people but with his own personal spin. The results were quite different than what you’d find elsewhere on the news network.
While Hughley’s show was anything but dull, it may have been a little too cutting-edge for CNN. Starting the show just days before Barack Obama won the presidential election, Hughley quickly raised the ire of some viewers. One of his first guests was a character named “Freddie Mac,” a brightly-dressed pimp who apparently caused the financial crisis. Via Black Star News, Dr. Boyce Watkins complained that all of the show’s humor comes from generalized stereotypes and that the host turned “the stellar Obama presidential campaign into a minstrel show.”
More recently, Hughley took more heat for a comment he made about the Republican National Committee (RNC). Hughley was interviewing RNC Chairman Michael Steele and hip hop legend Chuck D about the political party’s attempts to gain popularity with the black community. Hughley stated that the RNC “literally looked like Nazi Germany. It literally did. I make that point, not only are we not welcome — not only are we not welcome, but they don’t even care what we think.”
Shortly after Hughley’s “Nazi Germany” comment, CNN announced the end of Breaks the News. According to an official announcement, the cancellation comes as the result of the host’s desire to relocate his work to Los Angeles where he lives with his wife and three children. CNN decided to retain his services as a Los Angeles-based contributor for the network and they claim they’re eager to continue a relationship with him. Breaks the News will end later this month.
Regardless of how the cancellation announcement is couched though, it’s hard to believe that Hughley’s controversial comment and content has had absolutely no impact on the decision to cancel the series.