I first reported on Monday that I was hearing whispers that Comedy Central might not be renewing The Jeff Dunham Show, the ventriloquist's clunky sitcom that had Dunham and his puppets heckling "real people" in the "real world." And now I'm hearing that, despite what Comedy Central told me, Dunham's writing staff found out a week ago that the show wasn't getting picked up after its season finale aired Dec. 10. Clear out your desks (wait, they already had cleared out their desks, having completed the first-season work months ago). Nothing to see here. Please move along. The show got boffo ratings for Comedy Central when it debuted — earning as many or more viewers in its Thursday-night slot as Emmy darling 30 Rock, which Dunham also appeared in an episode of this fall. But ratings slipped off, and there was quite a backlash, that even included bad press within a New York Times profile of the ventriloquist!
Not that Dunham will be crying too much about this setback. After all, he grossed $38 million just in ticket sales last year, plus millions more in merchandise sales. And he'll be performing in ARENAS through the South — Birmingham, Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, Greenville and Charlotte — to close out his 2009 tour, starting Dec. 26. UPDATED: It could very well turn out that Dunham himself would rather go about his rather lucrative business with the fans in person than spend time on a second TV season dealing with critics who don't seem to like him very much at all.
On Monday, Dunham shared on Twitter his annual holiday message with Peanut (same as last year, it's a tradition?) Dunham also released this holiday greeting he filmed with "Peanut." Roll it!
Maybe Comedy Central hasn't announced the renewal publicly because of the holidays, or because Dunham is featured on the Jokes.com home page today and his 2008 Christmas special, which earned 6.6 million viewers for the network when it debuted, is re-airing this weekend.