The only news program geared toward African-Americans is no more.
TV One is canceling Roland Martin’s morning show “NewsOne Now” due to budget cuts, the New York Post’s Page Six reported Wednesday.
“They called a meeting on Wednesday and told the staff they were canceling the show,” a source told the Post. “They’re having significant financial problems and they have to scale back.”
TV One interim General Manager Michelle Rice reportedly announced the decision in an internal memo:
“After four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to our viewers as the only black daily newscast on television, the network has made the difficult decision to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show.
“While we will continue our long-standing partnership with Roland Martin to ensure his important voice can be heard across all Urban One platforms examining issues of importance to the black community, we regret this decision adversely affects several of our valued colleagues whose positions will be eliminated with the suspension of the show.”
The last live show is scheduled for Dec. 21, the memo said.
Martin and staffers were stunned by the decision to end the show, which had just expanded to two hours in September, Page Six reported.
“There were lots of tears. … The staff was completely caught off guard,” the source said.
Neither Martin nor his producers returned calls to The Washington Informer on Wednesday seeking comment, but Martin confirmed the news in a tweet:
Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year. Our last live show will be Dec. 21. #BringTheFunk
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) December 7, 2017
TV One management also did not return messages.
The news caught many off guard, including several high-profile contemporaries who took to social media to voice their displeasure.
“Maybe if the viewers make enough noise, TV One will reconsider canceling Roland Martin’s NewsOne Now,” said journalist Jawn Murray. “The only news show geared toward African-Americans — and ditch the dozen or so black crime shows they air.”
Tariq Nasheed, film producer and media personality, simply tweeted, “Damn…TV One just canceled Roland Martin’s NewsOne show.”
Gregory H. Lee Jr., editorial director of
NBA.com and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists, called the decision “just crazy.”
“Roland Martin morning show had real substance and covered the issues of our community,” Lee tweeted.