Spokesman for “Dr. Laura,” Linda Lipman, told the New York Post the week-long shutdown was part of a pre-planned hiatus. But the move has left industry experts scratching their heads, since the program only premiered last week.
Critics have blasted the thus far low-rated program for being too tame, despite Schlessinger’s reputation for caustic banter on her radio program.
The program’s woes extend into its pocketbook as well, since gay activists have successfully urged at least 26 companies not to advertise on “Dr. Laura.” A feud between Schlessinger and activists arose after on-air references to homosexuality as “deviant” and a “biological error.”
Stations airing “Dr. Laura” have been forced to reduce their rates for ad time during the show.
Episodes of the program had been taped for several weeks before its Sept. 11 premiere, so the show should remain on-air during the hiatus.
Both the Post and the Los Angeles Times say the halt could allow Viacom-owned Paramount Television — which syndicates “Dr. Laura” — to retool the program. Lipman said “all parties will be happy” after new episodes, set to tape at the end of next week, are aired.