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“It would have been less disappointing if we had not been so successful,” says Hughley, who will host his final CNN show Saturday night at 10 p.m. “We were building on our lead-in. It’s difficult to not go on. Maybe if I wore suspenders. It is difficult, I won’t pretend it’s not.”
“D.L. Hughley Breaks the News” launched in October and had the comic/actor interviewing newsmakers about what was going on in the world. He did it, of course, while adding his own humor.
Trouble is, the travel schedule required for the Los Angeles-based Hughley wore him down. He would fly to New York on Tuesdays to work on the show. It was taped Thursdays, and he was on the road doing comedy Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He’d head home Sunday night or Monday and be back in New York for the next week.
He approached CNN officials to see if they could move the show to Los Angeles. Citing budget reasons, they said no.
“I thought it wouldn’t be a problem moving to Los Angeles,” he says. “It turns out they couldn’t do it.”
Hughley says that going in, he figured the travel would be okay, since he’d been doing it for his entire career. But he found it was wearing on his family.
“I’ve been married for 23 years. My wife, she’s a trouper,” he says. “She started to complain.”
And it wasn’t just the usual off-kilter look husbands get from disapproving wives.
“If it was just the eye, I would be happy,” he says. “It wasn’t just the eye; it was the mouth to go with it, which is why I went to CNN to ask them to move.”
Since launching, Hughley’s show was criticized by some because he infused comedy into what’s seen as a serious news network.
On the flip side, he was able to get newsmakers to say something different. Early on, former Bush spokesman Scott McClelland admitted he was going to vote for Barack Obama. More recently, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele addressed the Rush Limbaugh situation.
Still, Hughley says working his team into CNN was like mixing “stripes and plaids.”
He says he was grateful to CNN for giving him the opportunity to host the show. “I’m very proud of the show we did,” he says. “We broke a lot of news. I think it’s unfortunate, but the trip was killing me.”
Hughley will remain with CNN as a contributor. He says he’ll cover the White House correspondents’ dinner in May, and fill in for Larry King. He’s also expecting to do some man-on-the-street pieces for Anderson Cooper or Campbell Brown‘s shows.
So what’s next?
“I want to decompress on this one,” he says. “I’m interested in this venue. I’m interested in this format. I just love talking to newsmakers. I want to talk to the people making decisions that are going to affect our lives.”
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