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Two Black Shows Dropped From HBO; Look Out Bryant Gumbel

by Jef Dinsmore
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WBD’S CEO is always looking to trim down his site of what is deemed unnecessary HBO programming in exchange for 40-some seasons of House Hunters. The latest to go are two Black shows – A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW and GAME THEORY WITH BOMANI JONES.


Robin Thede’s A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW has been dropped after four solid seasons of the gig. It comes as a surprise as it garnered a slew of awards during its run, including several Primetime Emmys. It even made history as the first Black female-led series to earn a nomination for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series and a win for Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming.  

HBO had the following statement: “For four exceptional seasons of ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ we’ve been thrilled to partner with her on this groundbreaking, hilarious series,” representatives for the network said of Thede. “Robin, alongside Hoorae, Jax Media, and the incredible cast and crew, leave an indelible legacy not only in sketch, but in television comedy, and we look forward to continued creative collaboration under her deal with us.” 

ABLSS_RobinThedeTwo positive walkaways from this news are that, as previously reported, Robin Thede does have a development deal with HBO going forward and that she offered gratitude surrounding the cancellation. Creator, executive producer, writer and star Thede responded with – “Thank you to all the immensely talented cast members, guest stars, writers, directors, editors and crew members who have made A Black Lady Sketch Show an Emmy-winning success. I especially want to recognize the Black women and other women of color who excelled in every department at ABLSS. I am also eternally grateful for the support of Issa Rae and Jax Media, Amy Gravitt, Casey Bloys and the entire team at HBO, Max, and Warner Bros. Discovery.”  


The sports commentary show just had rough numbers that were in decline from one season to the next. HBO has not made an official statement and let the numbers speak for themselves, I guess. Bomani Jones tackled topics like Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s impact on college basketball upon retirement; sports figures endorsements of cryptocurrency, Black colleges impact on sports; The Masters, NFL coaching nepotism, the NFL Draft; Brett Favre, woke NFL, Overtime Elite, sports washing, NIL, and sports’ stance on the war on social drugs. All of that talk wasn’t enough to keep the show alive.

GameTheory_BJones-300x213However, Jones was happy that the show got to air at all. On his The Evening Jones podcast he said, “Do you realize how bananas it is that for two seasons I got to do a TV show on HBO the way that I wanted to do a TV show on HBO? Do you understand the rarified air that that is in?n We got to ‘stuff you dream of’ level.”

He went on to state, “All I can tell you is how good the show itself was and how the show got better. I could look at episode one of the first season and compare it to episode ten of the last season and man, the show just got a whole lot better. We did a show that I think is really good. And we did a show that I am personally prouder of than anything that I have ever done professionally.” There is no word of whether GAME THEROY WITH BOMANI JONES will remain on Max.

He might have felt good about it, but the bottom line for Zaslav was that nobody watched it. Sports commentary shows have had it rough on HBO over the years. Even Bill Simmons and Bob Costas had shows that didn’t last long. So, watch out Bryant Gumbel. REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL may have been on for 29 seasons but if it isn’t producing the numbers then WBD will remove it. We are not suggesting that Zaslav is racist here, just ruthless.

Going out on a positive note though, so here are the top ABLSS sketches.

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