Good night America: Paxman's US show axed after ratings flop

It's been the Golden Goose for combative Brits such as Gordon Ramsay and Simon Cowell, but Jeremy Paxman has discovered, to his cost, that it takes more than a cut-glass accent and dogged questioning to make it big in America.

The Newsnight presenter's bid to launch himself across the pond has ended in disappointment after BBC Worldwide announced that it was axing its US version of the programme, blaming difficulties striking a chord with audiences weaned on a less acerbic breed of television anchorman.

Paxman's weekly Newsnight edition was launched on a wave of hype last February, with a coveted slot at 10pm on Fridays on BBC America. However, it was soon shifted to Thursday nights, after failing to make a splash, and recently disappeared from the channel's schedule altogether.

"We have to take tough decisions about where money is being spent," said a BBC spokesman yesterday. "This was purely based on ratings. People will say, 'Why didn't it work?', but honestly, if I knew that, I wouldn't be sitting here. Sometimes, even though people love the BBC news brand, you put something on and it just doesn't catch on."

The move was announced alongside a decision to drop three hours of international news from BBC America's morning schedule, again due to poor viewing figures. It has been replaced with re-runs of cheap but popular reality shows, including The Hotel Inspector, Kitchen Nightmares and The F-Word.

Paxman's failure to make waves Stateside, where BBC America is available as a commercial network in 63 million homes, marks a disappointment for his superiors, who had originally hoped he might become a Simon Cowell of the US news scene.

In 2007, the channel's president, Garth Ancier, told the Financial Times: "Jeremy Paxman is the sort of person that Americans will just eat up." Variety reported that the US version of Newsnight could even end up being called Paxman. "BBC banks on brash Brit as next US hit," read its headline.

The show that was launched in the run-up to the presidential election contained a weekly package of highlights from Newsnight's normal run of UK shows, most of which focused on international news. Paxman recorded fresh links, in tandem with co-presenters Gavin Esler and Kirsty Wark.

Viewers remained immune to their charms, however. Newsnight's US edition was actually pulled in November, after Barack Obama's election, but nobody noticed it had disappeared until the BBC reluctantly said so this week.

"This is being described as Jeremy Paxman failing to conquer America," said a spokesman. "That's a touch misleading. He never set out to make it in the US. He never moved out there, or did any interviews in the media. His role in the show was pretty minor."

Either way, BBC America, which carries advertisements and is run as a commercial station by BBC Worldwide, usually provides a useful transatlantic vehicle for British stars. It showcased The Office and Life on Mars, which were both later bought up by major US networks, and has also recently had success with the dramas Ashes to Ashes and Skins.

Meanwhile, Paxman's rival anchorman Matt Frei is enjoying considerable success in the US. His show, World News America, which airs nightly at 7pm and 10pm, achieved 9 per cent growth in its US ratings and boasts a monthly reach of three million viewers.

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Graduate Sales Executive

17.5k + Commission (£18.5k after probation period): ESI Media: You will be res...

PPC Account Managers

£25k - £30k (DOE): Guru Careers: Two expert PPC Account Managers are needed to...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game