WASHINGTON -- Talk-show host Tavis Smiley said yesterday he will be leaving National Public Radio, which he said has tried hard but fallen short of reaching "a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio."
Smiley, 40, said that Dec. 16 will be his last day as host of "The Tavis Smiley Show."
Launched in January 2002, the show is a daily, one-hour program, a collaboration between NPR and public radio stations with predominantly black audiences.
In a statement, he thanked NPR stations and said he has come to care even more for public radio and its potential.
"Yet, after all that we've accomplished towards our goal of seeking a broader, more diverse and younger audience for public radio," he said, "NPR's own research has confirmed that NPR has simply failed to meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply don't know it exists or what it offers."
NPR's vice president for communications, David Umansky, said, "The success of this show is a testament to our continuing commitment to reach out to all of these audiences with all of the resources available."
NPR will launch a nationwide search for a new host.
Shows ring in holiday season
It's that time of year -- lots of shopping, cooking, and wrapping to keep us busy. And it's a busy season on television as well. Here are some of the highlights of the holiday programming onslaught:
Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson further cement their reign as the Sonny and Cher for the new millennium with a holiday variety hour. "Nick & Jessica's Family Christmas," tomorrow at 9 p.m. on ABC.
The Eds learn the true meaning of Christmas in "Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy's Jingle, Jingle, Jangle," Friday at 8 p.m. on the Cartoon Network.
Joe Mantegna and Jean Smart play a married couple who are skating on the brink of divorce in the CBS movie "A Very Married Christmas," Sunday at 9 p.m., based on Elizabeth Berg's bestseller "Say When."
NBC's "Fear Factor" has a special holiday episode, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m., in which contestants step into Santa's boots and try to deliver presents despite the presence of vicious guard dogs.
"Groundhog Day" meets "A Christmas Carol" in USA's "12 Days of Christmas Eve," Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. Steven Weber plays a self-centered corporate raider who is forced to relive Christmas Eve until he learns the true meaning of the holiday. Molly Shannon costars.
The Fab 5 morph into Santa's little helpers for "A Very Queer Eye Christmas," Dec. 7 at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
"A Clay Aiken Christmas," Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. on NBC, includes the "American Idol" runner-up performing favorite holiday songs with Barry Manilow and gospel singer Yolanda Adams.
George Lopez brings his comedy to the ABC movie "Naughty or Nice," Dec.11 at 8 p.m.
The wacky Wiggles -- the sensations of the preschool set -- gear up for the holidays with a little help from rocker John Fogerty, "Brady Bunch" alum Barry Williams, and a big guy in a red suit. "Santa's Rockin'," Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. on the Disney Channel.
"Karroll's Christmas," Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. on A&E, is another take on the Dickens classic. Tom Everett Scott stars as a young greeting-card executive visited by the ghost of a Marley (more Bob than Jacob), as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Verne (Mini-Me) Troyer plays the Ghost of Christmas Future.
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CBS adds show to Friday lineup
Get ready to permanently subtract "dr. vegas" from your Friday schedule and add a drama with an equally quirky title, as CBS attempts to divide the 10 p.m. prime-time audience and eat away at a fraction of NBC's "Medical Investigation" audience.
The new drama "Numb3rs", which comes from filmmaking siblings Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, will launch Jan. 21 in the 10 p.m. slot "dr. vegas" vacated before the start of the November sweeps period.
Talk of the dial
9 p.m. WUMB-FM (91.9) -- "World Cafe." Guest: Sam Philips, singer-songwriter, performs live.
Other radio highlights
9 a.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) -- Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 1; Beethoven's Symphony No. 4.
7 p.m. WGBH-FM (89.7) -- "Jazz with Eric in the Evening." The Warren Wolf Quartet performs live.